Well, when it mattered most in Las Vegas, this Grizzly crew was able to pull itself together and muster its first Summer League win on Wednesday evening. Knocking off the 12th seeded Washington Wizards team by a score of 90-83, the Grizzlies move on to the next round of the inaugural Summer League Championship tournament. It was a game of runs in which Memphis blew the game open by outscoring the Wizards 24-8 in the third quarter. Next up, the Grizzlies will face the fifth-seeded Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday at Thomas and Mack.
Tony Wroten: PG, 6’6, 208, 20 years old, Washington
Statline: 23 points, 6 assists, 3 steals
Wroten started off the game with a quick rising slam dunk, and hardly looked back against the Wizards. He set the tone early, and continued to ride the momentum through the contest. He recovered quite nicely from his thus-far disappointing Las Vegas performance, shooting 44% from the field en route to 23 points, and dishing out 6 assists in the process. This is the Wroten that we expected to show up at Summer League, so let’s hope that he can carry it through. As good as he was, it was not without blemish, however, as he was still only 2-7 from the arc, and he did turn the ball over 4 times.
Donte Greene: SF, 6’11, 226, 25 years old, Syracuse
Statline: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1-5 3pt
The band-aid warrior is suddenly making the most of the opportunity before him, as he is out to prove that his abysmal first two games were an aberrational side effect of his shaking off the rust after last season’s injury. His three-point shooting was still not quite up to the speed that one would like to see, as he was only 1-5 from downtown, but he was able to compensate by converting 60% of his shots within the arc. Greene emphasized to 3 Shades of Blue that he was looking to, “Just play hard, man. Our team is Grit n’ Grind,” and he has done exactly that.
Willie Reed: PF, 6’9, 220, 23 years old, St. Louis
Statline: 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks
Reed hit all three of his free throw attempts this time out, which is certainly a good thing to see. Additionally, in only 13 minutes of play, he flashed his athleticism to record himself 3 blocks and 5 rebounds for the evening. The only negative from his performance would be the 25% shooting, but in the small sample of 4 shot attempts, that does not mean much.
Janis Timma: SF, 6’7, 226, 21 years old, Ventspils (Latvia)Statline: 0 points, 1 turnover, 4 min
After playing only 8 minutes in the previous game, Timma rode the pine yet again, seeing only 4 minutes of burn against Washington. His lone shot attempt was a take to the basket, which he saw sent back the other way by Devin Booker. He has got to be frustrated with the way that his debut appearance has turned out thus far, but it was not expected that he would show himself ready to head to the NBA just yet anyways.
Jack Cooley: 6’9, 244, 22 years old, Notre Dame
Statline: 20 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals
Cooley continues to be the star of the Grizzlies’ Summer League team, and has seriously earned himself a training camp invite — if not in Memphis, then elsewhere. His lack of length and athleticism in the paint will always be a concern, but he possesses a workhorse mentality and embraces physical play. If he can figure out a way to better compensate for his lead-footed rotations defensively than fouling, he could offer some solid value as a deep bench player. He really finds a way to get himself involved in every possession and does a good job of working with the guards, offensively, setting screens and creating space. A slightly more post-oriented Brian Cardinal comparison may not be too far out of the question. Against Washington, Cooley executed another “baby Zbo” impression, with a 20-12 performance.
- Matt Howard: PF, 6’8, 225, 24 years old, Butler - There’s not much notable to say about Howard, who just keeps playing hard, pulling down rebounds, making good intermediate passes, and using his fouls.
- Vander Blue: SG, 6’5, 197, 20 years old, Marquette - Blue blew the receiving end of an alley-oop in his most notable touch, but otherwise was one of the less noteworthy players of the evening. I love his confidence, and cannot fight the compulsion to believe when my eyes tell me that he’s playing well out there, even though his box scores are pedestrian. There is just a beautiful aesthetic to the way he handles the ball; very smooth. Blue will probably make some crazy waves in Europe or the D-League before he gets his chance in the NBA, but the potential as a scorer is there.
- Laurence Bowers: PF, 6’8, 205, 23 years old, Missouri - Bowers played a nearly silent 5 minutes, resulting in only a turnover on the stat sheet.
- Gerald Robinson: PG, 6’1, 177, 24 years old, Georgia - Robinson got the starting nod again and played a bulk of minutes at the point, but was not nearly as effective as he was his last time out. Against the Wizards, he shot only 3-10 from the floor, and logged a 1:7 ratio of assists-to-turnovers.
- Christian Burns: PF, 6’8, 240, 27 years old, Quinnipiac - Burns tried to do a bit more with the time that he saw on the court this time out, attempting 7 field goals, but the bad news is that he only converted on two of them. Otherwise, he was not bad, accruing 4 rebounds and 2 steals in just 8 minutes.
Next up: Tournament Round 1 (Info to be updated)
Who: Memphis Grizzlies #21 vs. Charlotte Bobcats #5
When: Thursday, July 18th, 5:30 CST
Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Watch: NBA League Pass Summer League
Stay tuned on Twitter @StevieDanziger for continuing updates of Grizzlies Summer League action.