Who: Memphis Grizzlies (1-1, 10 points) vs Orlando Magic (2-0, 13 points)
When: Tuesday, July 8th, 2:00 PM CST
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Watch and Listen: NBAtv, Summer League Live
Discuss: 3SOB on Twitter
Well that was fast… we’re already halfway through Summer League! After weekend bouts with the Thunder and Pistons squads, respectively, the Grizzlies are gearing up to take on the Orlando Magic team this afternoon.
The Magic nudged their way into the headlines yesterday afternoon by agreeing to terms on a 4-year $32 million contract with sharpshooting stretch four extraordinaire Channing Frye, but it’s also of note that they lead the Summer League tourney for which they are playing host with a 2-0 record amounting to a total of 13 standing points. Their team is a fun draw to say the least, with rising sophomore Victor Oladipo, marquee rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, and wild cards such as short-time once-upon-a-time Grizzly, Seth Curry. With Oladipo sitting out of yesterday’s game for rest, Payton turned some heads as he shouldered the load, dropping an awesome line on the Rockets’ team flirting with the ballpark of triple-double territory, posting a cool 12 points (5-5 FG) 8 rebounds, and 9 assists.
The Good Guys:
Weekend in review: In a nutshell, the newly-officially signed Jordan Adams has been a revelation in the inaugural experience of his Grizzlies career. Sure it’s Summer League, but since this is all we have to go by, let’s indulge in overreaction. His first weekend saw him post a rockin’ 42 points on 25 shots over the course of two games. That, my friends, is efficiency. In fact, dude is 15-15 (8-8 and 7-7, respectively) from the charity stripe in total so far during his trip to Orlando. Given his propensity to get to the cup and draw fouls, Adams adds a bit of a different flavor to the Grizzlies’ perimeter cocktail, which will definitely be something to keep an eye on going forward.
What to watch for: His instincts. Adams is very smooth, and a competent decision maker with the ball in his hands. He’s not going to dominate the ball on the wing for 14 seconds of clock at a time, but that’s for the better. The jumpshot is fun when it’s on, but the real value in his efficient offensive formula is his ability to remain productive even when it’s not. Additionally he made some savvy passes in Game 2 on Sunday, most notably a feed to a Jarnell Stokes and-1, and a situationally-aware late-game drive and kick to Jamaal Franklin (who subsequently bricked the attempt). His lack of athleticism limits him from being a “fun” player to watch as far as sexy highlight basketball is concerned, but rather fun in a geeky basketball fan sense of the word. Appreciate and enjoy… and try not to get carried away.
Weekend in review: Jarnell Stokes was up-and-down at times, but more or less came away leaving a good taste in your mouth with his first two games in Orlando. Game 1 was pretty sound overall, but Game 2 was really where Jarnell was able to butter his bread. The level of the competition likely had much to do with this as he spent a good deal of time against the relatively-seasoned Steven Adams of Oklahoma City in the first game, but his matchup against Detroit gave us a lot to get excited about regarding his potential outlook. He finished up on Sunday with a sweet 16-and-12 double-double and at times dominated the game as a focal point of the offensive attack. Mr. Stokes had me tweeting things like “#Feed2,” which is probably a good sign. Once I get the hashtags involved, you know I’ve reached the optimal excitement levels for a Summer League game.
What to watch for: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: his rear-end. As strange as that may sound, I mean it in the most practical of ways. He’s so good at creating space for himself by using his frame and playing angles while the ball is up in the air. It may look like he’s just a magnet for loose balls, but I assure you that he earns his way to them. He may struggle at times this season as he goes up against grown men that are accustomed to dealing with players at his level of strength, but he knows what he’s doing on the glass. When his offensive game gets going as it did on Sunday, it’s gravy.
Weekend in review: If I was better with onomatopoeia, I would be typing out sound of an ungodly squeal of metal-on-metal, but for the sake of absurdity, I’ll just leave it to your imagination. I would then follow it up by saying, “that’s the sound of the brakes coming to a screeching halt on the Jamaal Franklin bandwagon.” Look, it’s Summer League. These past two games are in no way an indictment nor a prospectus on the type of player that Frankie can become. However, with that being said there is no way to reasonably classify his performance as encouraging. He’s shot an atrocious 4-22 from the field to get the ball rolling, and got absolutely torched by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (though it looks like the latter is going to be happening to a lot of people) on Sunday.
What to watch for: Franklin needs to loosen up. If he starts to ease in and look like he belongs on the court, then his game will follow in suit — at least to some degree. For the time being, he’s come out a bit too jittery for each of these games, and looks like he’s forcing the issue trying to get himself going, which in turn is contributing to his missing the easy ones as well. After a relatively inactive rookie season in terms of actual court time on the main stage, he appears to be trying too hard to prove that he can make plays. I’m sure the 22nd pick going to a guy that plays the same position (who has severely outplayed him to this point) hasn’t exactly helped this matter either. He has been active defensively, to which we can attribute his 5 steals against Detroit, but even on that end the overaggressive-ness has served to his detriment.
Weekend in review: Man, I’ve really been bummed on how Janis Timma has worked out so far. I was really big on him as a prospect early on, and to some extent still am, but as I’ve said on Twitter on a number of occasions, he’s really far away from being ready to rock on the big stage. In all likelihood it’s going to take a few years of higher level competition overseas before we could entertain the thought of him contributing at the NBA level. All the tools are there, but he’s just not comfortable with this style of game at this time. Some awful turnovers, zero points in the first two contests combined, and only 7 minutes of play on Sunday are certainly less than I would have hoped to see.
What to watch for: This one’s tough, because we’ve seen so little that really anything good would get us on the hook. While I’ve noted my belief that Timma is further away than we would hope, I think that he’s way more skilled, even at this juncture, than we’ve had the fortune of seeing thus far. I know he has hops, so I’d like to see him get a nice dunk thrown down to possibly spark a string of some good juju.
- Jack Cooley – Cactus Jack as I like to call him has used this past year to work on expanding his shooting range. Last year he was stepping out to Darrell Arthur territory, but this time he’s going out to the top of the key, looking to show off the expansion of his jumper. Though he only connected on one, Cooley put up 4 attempts from 3 on Sunday.
- Scottie Wilbekin – Scottie 2 Hotty has been knocked for his athleticism (or lack thereof, mind you) as far as his status as a draft prospect goes, but while he’s not known for being particularly fleet of foot, I appreciate the way he moves quickly with the ball in the halfcourt. It’s odd that I am intrigued by the play of a guy that has gone 1-6 shooting over two games, but his ability to navigate the pick and roll, as well as see the court present an attractive skillset for the Iowa team.
- Jarrid Famous – Awesome name and master of the 8-foot “looks awful but goes in” jump shot.
- Okaro White – I would hesitate before saying that I’ve been wowed by his play by any stretch of the imagination, but his shooting has been better than the nonexistent mark that it was billed at, and he has a solid physical profile for the wing. As a guy who is trying to show that he can play the wing after being a more paint-oriented combo forward in college, he has had an encouraging weekend.
- Joe Jackson – While I cannot say that he has made a lasting impression for better or worse, the King of Memphis has shot the ball well and hardly been a trainwreck in halfcourt sets, which is basically all one could ask so far. Should definitely be an Iowa candidate if nothing better comes his way.
- In-game Commentary – Take this as you will, but if anything can make me miss the audible dynamic of Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight, it’s the sound on these Summer League broadcasts. Pete and Brevin are among the best in the business as far as locally-targeted commentary is concerned, and man watching games feels incomplete without ‘em, partner.
Lastly, be sure to give me a shout on Twitter @StevieDanziger, for some Summer League live Tweeting action!