Bear Necessities: Key notes, numbers and trends entering Grizzlies-New Zealand Breakers matchup
MEMPHIS – The Grizzlies (1-0) look to build on a 35-point victory in their preseason debut when they welcome the New Zealand Breakers to FedExForum for Tuesday’s second exhibition game.
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:
- The Grizzlies are hosting their second international opponent of the preseason in the Breakers, who play in Australia’s National Basketball League. The Breakers have won four NBL titles and advanced to the championship five times since 2012. The team made national headlines earlier this year when it signed U.S. prep star R.J. Hampton, who is widely projected to be among the top players selected in the 2020 NBA Draft lottery. The Grizzlies defeated Israeli team Maccabi Haifa in Sunday’s preseason opener.
- Tuesday’s game features a potential matchup at the guard position between Hampton and Grizzlies No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant, who shot 5-for-8 from the field and finished with 10 points, seven assists, one steal and one turnover in 19 minutes during Sunday’s 123-88 win over Maccabi. Morant averaged 24.5 points, 10 assists and 5.7 rebounds last season at Murray State to become the first player in NCAA history to average at least 20 points and 10 assists since the NCAA began counting assists in 1983-84.
- First-year Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins is installing an offensive system designed to push Memphis into the top half of the NBA in pace metrics. On Sunday, the Grizzlies scored 123 points on 87 field goal attempts, including 31 shots from three-point range. Memphis scored at least 26 points in all four quarters, shooting 52.9 percent overall from the field and 41.9 percent on threes. The Grizzlies have annually ranked among the bottom third of the league in pace of play throughout the past decade.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. led five Grizzlies players in double figures in the preseason opener, with a game-high 19 points, eight rebounds and a block in 20 minutes. He also made both of his three-point attempts against Maccabi. Jackson made at least two threes in 13 of the 58 games he played last season, when he was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team after becoming the first rookie in league history to finish with at least 50 made threes, 50 steals and 50 blocks while shooting at least 50 percent from the field.
- The Grizzlies list center Jonas Valanciunas (foot) and guard De’Anthony Melton (back) as out for Tuesday’s game against New Zealand. Jenkins has said Valanciunas is dealing with minor foot soreness from training camp, but sitting him out is more of a precaution and load management. Forward Kyle Anderson (thigh bruise), who missed Sunday’s game, is listed as questionable and will be reevaluated closer to game time. Forwards Josh Jackson and Andre Iguodala are not with the team.
For the Grizzlies complete game notes, check here: Grizzlies Game Notes