When: Wednesday, October 23rd, 6:00 PM CST
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, CA
Memphis is on a four game winning streak, after floundering in the first two preseason bouts without Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Quincy Pondexter active. Last time out against the Hawks, Mike Conley took the night off, but Mr. Jerryd Bayless filled in and absolutely let it fly in his absence. Leading the team in scoring, the second-year Grizzly filled it up with 22 points on the afternoon, with an impeccable 6-6 from the land of plenty. The point guard position was also heavily fortified off the bench by Nick Calathes’s 10 assists in 25 minutes. Calathes may very well end up with the most assist-heavy statlines we’ve seen in a Grizzlies uniform since Earl Watson. Can point guard depth continue to be a strength come November and beyond?
Toronto has had itself a very productive preseason thus far in it’s own right, hosting the Grizzlies on the heels of an overtime victory over the New York Knicks. Our Grizz taking a visit to see the Raptors of course conjures up the possibility of a Rudy Gay revenge game. Flight 22 started off his 2013-14 campaign with a bang, dropping 17 points on 64% shooting in just 23 minutes against the Celtics, but has since fallen back to standard Rudy Gay form in his limited sample the rest of the way. Forgive me, though, it doesn’t have to be all about Rudy every time we mention the Raptors — it’s just so tempting. With new GM Masai Ujiri at the wheel, it is not out of the question that the Raptors find a different landing spot for Rudy’s contract by the time we reach February. So a better barometer of the Raptors’ state of the franchise may be the progression of second year center Jonas Valanciunas. The seven-foot Lithuanian capped off his rookie year in an efficient manner with the promise of something better. Picking up where he left off, he’s shooting 70% from the field this preseason.
Be sure to keep tabs on:
– Ed Davis. A running storyline throughout the coming year will be Zach Randolph’s protection of the power forward throne and Davis’s ability to lay claim to it. The “Boss” has strung together two very impressive showings, statistically speaking, off the bench in terms of scoring efficiency and rebounding the ball. While his offense has been more of a function of impressive playmaking in the backcourt rather than high degree of difficulty autonomous creation, this is exactly what the coaching staff would like to see out of him at this point in time. Can he continue this hot stretch in his homecoming to Toronto?
– Quincy Pondexter. Up and down has been the nature of his first four games. He was aggressive in his first game and a 24-point animal against Milwaukee, but pedestrian and then invisible in the next two respective contests. Who is the real 2014 Quincy?
– This may sound vague, but whoever else plays. Given there are just two games remaining in the preseason shuffle, it’s possible that Coach Joerger has seen all that he needs to out of some of these guys. Zbo, Conley, and Mike Miller have each sat out a game, Marc, Tony, and Quincy sat the first two, Kosta Koufos is resting a leg bruise, and Tayshaun Prince has been MIA since the get-go. Even though they’ve impressed, these next two games may be as good a look as any that we get at Jamaal Franklin and Jon Leuer this year.