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The Hustle Report: Undefeated in the Regular Season

Assignee’s and two-way transfers lead the Hustle to a 3-0 start to the regular season

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South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 1 Results

South Bay Lakers 103 at Memphis Hustle 122 (1-0)

South Bay Lakers 117 at Memphis Hustle 118 (2-0)

Mexico City Capitanes 113 at Memphis Hustle 128 (3-0)

Game 1 Breakdown

South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 18 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Jake LaRavia- 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
  • David Roddy- 17 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Vince Williams Jr.- 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals

The Hustle won the regular season opener in David Roddy’s Hustle debut against the South Bay Lakers. It was a well-balanced effort by the Hustle, who had 9 of 10 players get in the scoring column as Jacob Gilyard (4 rebounds, 8 assists) found ways to impact the game by being a facilitator instead of a scorer. The Hustle had 7 players score in double figures as they blew out the Lakers in the second half. You can check out my full recap here.

Game 2 Breakdown

Mexico City Capitanes v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Kennedy Chandler- 29 points, 4 assists
  • Dakota Mathias- 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals
  • Vince Williams Jr.- 15 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Jacob Gilyard- 11 points, 4 assists, 2 steals
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals

The Hustle won a thrilling matchup in the second night of a back-to-back against the South Bay Lakers on Hustle and Hounds night. Kennedy Chandler went off for a career-high 29 points, and Dakota Mathias hit the game winning free throws as the Hustle came back from down 8 in the 4th quarter to steal the victory against the Lakers despite 29 points from Scotty Pippen Jr. You can check out my full recap here.

Game 3 Breakdown

Mexico City Capitanes v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Vince Williams Jr.- 20 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 blocks
  • Jake LaRavia- 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Damien Jefferson- 19 points, 5 rebounds
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals
  • Dakota Mathias- 16 points, 4 rebounds
  • Kennedy Chandler- 10 points, 5 assists, 3 steals

The Hustle used a dominant 4th quarter to pull away and improve to 3-0 with a victory over the Mexico City Capitanes. The Hustle were able to overcome dynamic performances from Gary Clark (25 points), Shabazz Napier (24 points) and Mason Jones (24 points) by having 7 players score in double figures as Vince Williams put together arguably his best all around game of the season with the Hustle. The Hustle used a 19-4 run over the final 8:15 of game time to run away with the victory. You can read my full recap here.

Assignment Tracker

Mexico City Capitanes v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Xavier Tillman: Tillman was a solid veteran presence for the Hustle in his lone appearance with the team. He scored just 8 points on 2-7 shooting from the field but hit some clutch free throws down the stretch and went 4-5 from the line in the game. He had 5 rebounds and 3 assists. His game didn’t jump out at you from a box score perspective, but he does a lot of the intangibles that really contribute to winning plays. It wasn’t a flashy performance, but Tillman always seems to give the Hustle exactly what they need when called upon.

David Roddy: David Roddy’s Hustle debut wasn’t flashy but it was effective. He scored 17 points while shooting just 5-15 from the field and 2-7 from beyond the arc. It was good to see and likely a point of emphasis for him to get up as many 3 point attempts as possible within the offense and most of the looks were on target, just a little short. Roddy had at least 3 or 4 shots rim out so the shooting numbers aren’t really that worrisome. Roddy was able to attack the basket at will and frankly was too strong for anybody to really slow him down. Time will tell if Roddy gets more time with the Hustle this season, but if he does he figures to be able to dominant with his mix of size and speed.

Jake LaRavia: LaRavia had a more aggressive start to the regular season compared to the Showcase Cup. In 3 games he’s averaged 12 shot attempts per game which is 3 more than he did in the Showcase Cup. LaRavia averaged 15.7 points on 41.7% shooting, including making 5 of his 15 attempts from beyond the arc. LaRavia is growing into being more aggressive with his shot when opportunity presents itself but not forcing things either. He’s played solid defense and chipped in as a secondary facilitator as well. After an inconsistent start with the Hustle, LaRavia seems to be growing much more comfortable the last week.

Kennedy Chandler: It was a tale of two games for Kennedy Chandler. He went off for a career-high 29 points against the South Bay Lakers in one game, then was able to be more of a facilitator and steady presence against the Capitanes. In total, Chandler averaged 19.5 points across the two games shooting 50% from the field. Chandler’s shot from distance wasn’t falling this past week, however, as he made just 1 of his 8 attempts from deep. It’s not a perfect comparison, but Kennedy has shown flashes of being a really nice blend of Ja Morant and Tyus Jones. He has the athletic ability to attack the basket and finish around the rim while also taking a back seat and commanding the offense in a similar way that Tyus Jones does when he’s on the court.

Kenneth Lofton Jr.: The numbers don’t really back up the week that Junior had with the Hustle. In 3 games he averaged 15.3 points per game on 43.2% shooting while missing all 7 of his attempts from beyond the arc. It wasn’t a monster scoring week but he dominated the glass averaging 9 rebounds per game and dished out 3.7 assists per game and just 4 turnovers per game. The turnover numbers have dropped a bit since the regular season shifted, and as Jason March pointed out post game last night, some of his turnovers are from him being too unselfish and trying to make plays for others. Defensively, Junior had probably his best 3 game stretch this season. He averaged 2.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per game but also held his own against wide variety of foes and defended the pick and roll well. That will continue to be a growth opportunity for Junior, but he played extremely well against some solid competition in Jay Huff, Kenneth Faried and the other big men he was matched up against.

Vince Williams Jr.: Vince Williams Jr. was awesome for the Hustle over this past week in all 3 games. He averaged 17.3 points per game shooting a scorching 69.2% from the field while making 7 of his 14 shots from deep. In addition to the efficient and high scoring totals, Williams crashed the glass en route to averaging 9.7 rebounds per game to go along with 2.7 steals per game and 1.3 blocks per game. Williams’ all around game really shined for the Hustle this week as he was a capable scorer, strong rebounder and fantastic on the defensive end. While the Hustle attack was well balanced this past week, Williams would be my choice for MVP of the Week after his strong play over the last 3 games.

Week 2 Preview

Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis Hustle at Texas Legends (2-1) 1/7 7:30 PM CT

Memphis Hustle at Texas Legends (2-1) 1/8 3:30 PM CT

Games 4 and 5 Preview: The Hustle will hit the road for a Texas two-step for their first road trip of the regular season. The back-to-back against the Legends is another interesting matchup for the Hustle as the Legends team looks a bit different from the team they had during the Showcase Cup. Tyler Dorsey was waived from his two-way contract, while assignee Jaden Hardy and two-way player McKinley Wright IV have spent their time with the Dallas Mavericks in recent weeks. This has led Grant Riller to put up some monster numbers (31 points per game) as Tyler Hall (25 ppg) and Yudai Baba (19.7 ppg) putting up numbers in larger roles so far this season. The Hustle match up well with the Legends, especially if both two-way players stick with them for the road trip. That said, it’ll be a tall task to slow down a strong but iso-centric offensive attack by the Legends.

It won’t be easy to sweep the series in Texas but the Hustle have a chance to get off to their best start to a season since Jason March’s first year at the helm where he started 10-0 in his first month on the job.

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