About 27 hours after notching their first win, the Las Vegas Memphis Grizzlies saw their (meaningful) summer season come to an end at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats. In a hard fought game, the Grizzlies overcame a blistering 29-7 start by the Bobcats in captivating fashion, even jumping out to a lead in the fourth quarter. It was Vander Blue’s second half heroics — in the form of dead-eye three-point shooting — that comprised the lead narrative of the night, but the Bobcats’ roster — led by three players that are expected to play big minutes in the big leagues this season (Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Taylor) and a scorching Jerome Dyson (21 points on 7-7 shooting, 9 assists) — overpowered the good guys in the end. The Grizzlies will play a final game in Las Vegas against Denver, Friday as part of the consolation roundup.
Tony Wroten: PG, 6’6, 208, 20 years old, Washington
Statline: 5 points, 4 assists, 5 turnovers
On his first possession of the game, Wroten sank a three off of a nice spot up curl on the wing. This was not a sign of things to come, however, as the rest of the game was very unkind to the sophomore guard. After putting together a pretty good showing in his last outing, Wroten was unable to capitalize and string together a couple of solid performances. His 5 point scoring output was the product of a putrid 2-15 shooting from the field, which was coupled with a highly uncharacteristic goose egg in the free throw attempts column. In all, it’s been a tumultuous trip to Vegas for Wroten, who shot 19-73 (.260) from the floor over the five game stretch. A valid argument can be made that his game would be far more focused on facilitating, had he been surrounded by a superior collection of talent, but one would have certainly hoped for a better performance than the one that we have seen.
Donte Greene: SF, 6’11, 226, 25 years old, Syracuse
Statline: 15 points, 6 assists, 1-4 3pt
Greene put up another performance much like those that we saw from him in the previous two games, characterized by a slightly sub-.500 shooting percentage, gritty play, and a three-point make that teases you with the thought of three-point shooting potential on his part. Interestingly, his rebounds dipped this game, but his assist numbers were on the rise as he was more involved with the setup of the Grizzlies’ offense. Greene is a mixed bag at this point, and is still shaking off the rust of injury, so only time (and likely training camp) will tell what he is all about.
Willie Reed: PF, 6’9, 220, 23 years old, St. Louis
Reed did not take to the court in Thursday’s loss to the Bobcats. All in all, his performance at the Summer League basically validated what was already known about him. His athleticism allows him to do some good things on the boards when he is engaged in the game, he can block shots at a solid clip, and his offensive game is far from refined. It will probably take a training camp with the team for management to decided whether he should remain on the roster heading into the season.
Janis Timma: SF, 6’7, 226, 21 years old, Ventspils (Latvia)
Statline: 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Timma saw more court time (12 minutes) than he has been getting recently, and was able to show off his well-rounded game a better than he has had the chance to lately. All three of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc, and he connected on one of them — his first since game one against the Bulls — which was nice to see. There is no question that he has been shaken by the transition to the U.S. style of play, but I believe he has shown enough to instill faith that there is hope that he can develop with a few more years of seasoning.
Jack Cooley: 6’9, 244, 22 years old, Notre Dame
Statline: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
Cactus Jack Cooley is still making his mark for the Grizzlies in Las Vegas, and is catching the eye of plenty of NBA personnel in the process. You know you’re doing something right when I resort to retired WWE monikers as a way to spice up your column. He has been as solid as they come in Summer League, as a hyper-efficient big man with the willingness to get dirty and grind in the paint, with the proficiency to step outside and execute the pick-and-pop. It was another solid game for the Notre Dame product, as he put together another double-double — this time on 8-12 shooting.
Vander Blue: SG, 6’5, 197, 20 years old, Marquette
Statline: 24 points, 5-8 3pt, 2 steals
It was 3 shades of Vander Blue out there on Thursday evening. Seriously though, how about that exhibition by the Marquette guard? I have been saying all along that there is something about his game that made me feel like he has been waiting to explode one day, and there we have it. 24 points, 5 bombs from downtown (3 of which came in the final period), and 2 steals to boot. Blue had been relatively quiet prior to this outburst, but there is certainly some potential there. Jason Levien said in an earlier interview that he “would not be surprised to see [Blue] in the league,” and after that exposition, I would not be surprised if the next stop for him is Grizzlies’ training camp. Yes, I know the whole “summer league overreaction” thing, but Blue handles the ball well, does a good job of pushing in transition, makes quick decisions, has legitimate size as an NBA two guard, and has the potential to become a tenacious defender. If he can shoot any bit like we saw yesterday, there’s a lot of value to be had.
– Matt Howard: PF, 6’8, 225, 24 years old, Butler – Howard had a very Howard statline at the end of the night, with 18 minutes played, 0 field goal attempts and 5 fouls. He did accrue an assist though. To be fair, you’d generally expect a handful of rebounds for him as well. The book on him coming out of college was that he’d be an excellent look for a good European team, which is probably still about right.
– Laurence Bowers: PF, 6’8, 205, 23 years old, Missouri – Bowers got to play a good deal more than he had in previous games, but did not do much with his extra time, converting on only 1-5 field goal attempts.
– Gerald Robinson: PG, 6’1, 177, 24 years old, Georgia – Robinson has some real professional moves in his arsenal, mainly illustrated by the floaters that he puts on display, and he plays hard. The trouble with him is that he’s slightly undersized for the pros, and it is unclear if he can play efficiently and consistently enough to make a mark.
– Christian Burns: PF, 6’8, 240, 27 years old, Quinnipiac – Burns, like Bowers, played a few more minutes than he had previously, and also like Bowers was not featured enough to do much with the time.
Next up: Consolation Game
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