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Pete's Perspective: Summer League scrimmage

Sunday, July 15

With a gap of two days without games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the Memphis Grizzlies engaged their fellow Western Conference rival Sacramento Kings in a 40-minute refereed scrimmage at Spring Valley High School. The Grizzlies won 79-67 as summer league head coach Lloyd Pierce went deeper into his bench to give minutes to players who didn’t play in the Summer League opener on Saturday.

No official stats were kept and the high school three-point line was honored so it’s hard to break down the game as thoroughly as I’d like, but I did come away with several impressions.

First off, Josh Selby’s long-range shooting exhibition in Saturday’s win over the Knicks wasn’t a fluke if Sunday’s scrimmage was any indication. Selby’s stroke looks grooved and he expects every shot to go in. Additionally, Selby’s motor is running at a high level. He approaches the game with a hunger and intensity he didn’t display last season. Further, he’s been very active on the defensive end with steals and has the hops to block shots. It also appears he’s taken his strength and conditioning program very seriously. 

Tony Wroten put up another fine performance on Sunday with a mix of blow-by drives with strong finishes and perimeter jumpers. Some I’ve talked to suggested that even though Wroten didn’t shoot a high percentage at Washington or in his workout in Memphis, his shot didn’t appear flawed and it was a matter of time before things started dropping.

Well, they’re dropping now.

Wroten can create his own shots off the bounce, he’s got enough moves to get enough separation and he’s pretty strong at the rim. He also showed better defensive intensity and discipline in the scrimmage, especially after Lionel Hollins took him aside during a time out for some pointed one-on-one instruction. If Wroten trusts the Grizzlies’ defensive schemes and doesn’t try to freelance or gamble, he has a chance to be a strong defender.

Lloyd Pierce parceled out minutes to players who didn’t get into the Knicks game. Of those, former UT Vol Cam Tatum showed a nice offensive flair with some long-range makes as well as a willingness to mix it up inside. Seven-footer Jon Kreft of Florida State did some good things inside and former Texas Tech Red Raider Alan Voskuil was able to knock down perimeter jumpers. Watch what Coach Pierce had to say about the scrimmage.

The Grizzlies opted to not have Jeremy Pargo participate in the scrimmage, feeling confident in their knowledge of his ability. That opened the door for former Pac 10 Player of the Year Jerome Randle to play significant minutes after logging only twelve minutes against the Knicks. A pure point as opposed to Selby and Wroten who are combo guards, Randle is cat quick and deceptively strong. Word is that the Grizzlies staff likes him. The question is how many guards the Grizzlies will carry, especially now that Jerryd Bayless is under contract.

By eyeball test, the Grizzlies did a lot of things right. Their offensive execution, particularly in late clock situations was very good, and the overall decision-making was solid. The most glaring weaknesses were stopping the Kings in transition and closing out against shooters. Offensively, the Grizzlies seemed to be in a decent groove.

Tip Ins

  • Jerryd Bayless made his first appearance as a Grizzlie during the scrimmage. I spoke with Jerryd during our exclusive interview afterwards and he seemed genuinely pleased to be in Memphis. Bayless played his collegiate ball at Arizona and referenced his familiarity with former Arizona State Sun Devil Lionel Hollins as part of the reason Bayless felt comfortable with the Grizzlies.
  •  Rudy Gay, still bitterly disappointed by being left off the U.S. Olympic team, attended the scrimmage as well. He chatted with Lionel Hollins during the run of play but declined an interview request.
  • Kings’ owners Joe and Gavin Maloof both viewed the scrimmage. Former Grizz Bobby Jackson coached the Kings and was assisted by Alex English.
  • Tony Allen’s younger brother Ryan Allen got his first action of summer league off the bench against Sacramento.
  • Kevin Clark, who played collegiately with Francis Marion University before joining the U.S. Army, also saw his first action of summer league. Clark is a 6-7 forward who is currently stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso.
  • The Grizzlies will take a day off tomorrow and return to action on Tuesday when they face Washington at 5 pm (CT). The game will be televised live on NBA-TV. A full recap with exclusive interviews will be posted on