Bear Necessities: Key notes, numbers and trends entering Grizzlies-Hornets preseason matchup
MEMPHIS – After taking on two international teams, the Grizzlies (2-0) face their first NBA opponent of the preseason schedule Monday when the Charlotte Hornets (0-3) visit FedExForum.
Bear Necessities is a spotlight on key Grizzlies’ facts and trends, curated from Communication Manager Ross Wooden’s Game Notes packet, to stay informed entering tonight's matchup.
Here are a few things to watch:
- Through their two victories over Maccabi (123-88) and New Zealand (108-94), the Grizzlies are averaging 115.5 points on 49.4 percent shooting overall from the field and 39.7 percent on threes. Memphis has a net rating of 24.0 this preseason, with a 113.2 offensive rating and a 89.2 defensive rating. The Hornets come in having dropped preseason games to the Celtics, Heat and 76ers. They have the lowest-scoring offense in the league at just 95.7 points and have committed 67 total turnovers.
- Rookie No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant led the NCAA in assists last season at 10.0 per game, and is already off to an impressive start as a facilitator through his first two preseason games. Morant ranks third in the NBA in assists (8.5) entering Monday’s game and boasts a 4.25 assist-to-turnover ratio. In last Tuesday’s win over New Zealand, Morant posted 10 assists and five rebounds in 20 minutes. So far, Morant has more assists (17) than shot attempts (14) during the preseason.
- The Grizzlies and Hornets share similarities as they enter the season adjusting to significant offseason changes. Both teams are relying on a talented young core after replacing franchise leaders at point guard, with Kemba Walker departing Charlotte for Boston in free agency and Memphis trading Mike Conley to Utah. Both teams are also coached by extensions of Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio coaching tree, with Taylor Jenkins in his first season with Memphis and James Borrego in his second in Charlotte.
- Power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. has either led or tied for the Grizzlies’ lead in scoring in both preseason wins. Jackson is averaging 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in only 24.3 minutes, and he’s finished with at least 18 points, eight rebounds and one block in both games. The second-year standout is shooting 61.1 percent from the field overall and 60 percent from beyond the arc while averaging only nine field goal attempts in just over 24 minutes per game.
- The Grizzlies list center Jonas Valanciunas (foot) and guard De’Anthony Melton (back) as out for Monday’s game against the Hornets. Valanciunas will miss the final three preseason games this week after sitting out the first two as well to treat foot soreness from training camp. Tests last week revealed no structural damage, and the Grizzlies remain optimistic Valanciunas will be available for the start of the regular season. Hornets, forward Nic Batum (sore Achilles) has been sidelined the past few games.
For the Grizzlies complete game notes, check here: Grizzlies Game Notes