The Grizzlies miss Ja Morant in a lot of ways, but no area more than 2 point scoring. They struggled to get to the line (8 free throws through 3 quarters) and after 3 quarters they were 12-31 from 2. After a certain point in the third quarter they just leaned into all-out 3 point shooting. Unfortunately Marcus Smart getting hot can be dangerous because his heat checks are extremely dangerous and kill the ball movement.
Jaren Jackson doesn’t assert himself enough offensively. He’s content staying on the perimeter and not using his post skills and post arsenal to win mismatches. This is detrimental to the Grizzlies offense.
Memphis can’t get this game back to single digits. They have no defense for, at any given time, Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, or Kyle Kuzma.
The Grizzlies need stronger showings from their rookie contract players. Jake LaRavia has been inefficient, Roddy has looked shaky and lacking confidence, and Desmond Bane has struggled to hit 3 point shots. I trust Bane to turn it around since he has proven himself as an elite shooter in the league, but the Grizzlies lack a margin for error right now.
David Roddy did look his best so far in the season in this game, scoring 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds on 5-8 shooting. He had a play in the 4th quarter where he picked up his dribble on the baseline then turned it over, which highlights how he can make 1 good play but give it right back too often. Still, this was a step in the right direction for him and Memphis should feel confident of that ahead of their next game with Dallas.
Despite bad efficiency, Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole had good games. Poole forced some 2 point shots, and Kuzma forced shots at all levels at times, but with a wide lead the bad shots came when the lead was comfortable and they were able to afford a miss. Additionally, at the start of the game, both teams missed a lot of shots, included in that stretch were Kuzma and Poole. Both teams combined for 8 consecutive missed shots from the 8 minute mark to the 6 minute mark without a single make, where both Kuzma and Poole missed several shots without any consequence from the lead, for example.
This was one of the best games of Ziaire Williams’ career. Good shooting, along with his first double double and continued confidence. I was a critic of the pick in 2021, but he continues to develop well.
Corey Kispert did his damage in the first half, but was still very impactful to building a strong lead. Another 2021 pick, Kispert developing helps the Wizards either add a trade candidate, or depending on how long they see their rebuild taking, he could stick around next to a cornerstone piece.
With minimal margin for error, Marcus Smart’s 3 point shot selection will need to improve while Ja Morant is out. 1-4 from 3, Smart chose to take the 3 over making the extra pass.
Desmond Bane has had a slow start to shooting the ball, but went 4-10 against Washington from 3. Dallas should be on high alert of a normalization of numbers, particularly with his best strength of 3 point shooting normalizing to the mean.