WHAT: 2022 NBA Summer League
WHEN: 6:00 PM CT
WHERE: Salt Lake City, Utah
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: ESPN2/92.9 FM ESPN MEMPHIS
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Kennedy Chandler, Ziaire Williams, Jake LaRavia, Santi Aldama, Xavier Tillman
OKLAHOMA CITY: Josh Giddey, Aaron Wiggins, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aleksej Pokusevski, Chet Holmgren
The Memphis Grizzlies kicked off their Summer League action with a win against the Philadelphia 76ers last night. It was all pretty encouraging. The Grizzlies hit the 76ers with a barrage of 3-pointers, connecting on 15 of their 30 three-point attempts. Their main-roster guys looked pretty good in their opening game as well, showcasing intriguing flashes throughout.
On the other side, they’re playing the Oklahoma City Thunder, the other team that won their outing in the Salt Lake City Summer League action. They brought down nearly everyone except for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and JaMychal Green — Thunder fans, please don’t get mad at me on technicalities... it just feels like the whole roster is there. There’s a lot of talent for the Thunder, and it should provide a formidable test for these young Grizzlies tonight.
Point Ziaire, round 2
The goal for Ziaire Williams in Summer League is to get him on-ball reps. Through his first game, there are areas of upside and of improvement to evaluate.
He finished with 8 assists, which would be his NBA career-high in regular season action. He made really great reads going downhill, sprinkling in cross-court passes to open shooters. The ability to make these actions should help him serve as a great connecting piece either off the bench or complementing the Grizzlies’ core of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Williams also does need work on his handle. It felt like he was too loose with the ball at times, which would lead to him losing footing and rhythm on his dribbling. However, this is what Summer League is all about: growth and opportunity.
Tonight will be another strong challenge for him, as the Thunder have big bodies on the perimeter that’ll try to make him uncomfortable. Josh Giddey and Aaron Wiggins should see a lot of time on him. They’ll likely put Jalen Williams — a 6’7” rookie with a 7’2” wingspan — on him as well. The 6’10” Ousmane Dieng will likely guard him in stretches.
The Thunder will throw a lot of looks at the Grizzlies’ go-to guy, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Williams adjusts on the fly.
Slowing Down Chet Holmgren
Chet Holmgren took social media by storm with his performance in last night’s win. He finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 4 assists. He showcases the defensive prowess, versatility, shooting, and fluidity that made him a fascinating prospect and the 2nd overall pick.
Holmgren will be a tough contest at the rim, and for the Grizzlies, it’ll be important to navigate this — especially since they don’t have really any players with the size or explosiveness to finish over him. They’ll need to try to knock him off his spots and force him into foul trouble.
The Grizzlies will throw different looks at him, as Xavier Tillman and Santi Aldama will get the first go-round.
If we see any possession featuring Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Chet Holmgren, it might break the internet.
The Memphis Grizzlies pride themselves on defensive activity, and it was no different last night. The Grizzlies finished with 12 blocks and 9 steals.
The player that stood out here was Kennedy Chandler, who finished with 4 steals and 3 blocks.
Chandler stood out here with two highlight reel plays on defense, one of those deciding the outcome of the game. He came out of nowhere to get a massive chase-down block:
Chandler also sealed the game by locking up fellow UT Vol Jaden Springer and coming away with the steal:
Kennedy Chandler’s defense was one of the most encouraging elements in the Summer League opener, as it could lead to a potential avenue for him to produce early in his career.
Stick with Grizzly Bear Blues for more Summer League coverage.