Pete’s Perspective: Grizzlies’ 2018 Summer League
Las Vegas, NV - After playing lights out in their first two games in Utah, the Memphis Grizzlies have lost three of their last four games, including a 1-2 mark here in Las Vegas. Not coincidentally, the offensive slide has included the return to earth of Jaren Jackson, Jr. who burst onto the scene with one of the most impressive Summer League debuts in recent years.
Jackson was held out of Tuesday’s Sacramento loss. I’m not hearing that there’s any injury to report, only that the Grizzlies staff doesn’t want to overtax the 4th overall pick in the draft. Jackson, as is the case with the rest of the rookie class, isn’t used to playing this quantity of high-level games in such a short period of time. Welcome to the NBA fellas!
Here’s hoping that the Grizzlies can discover some offense before they take on Oklahoma City in the first tournament game Thursday at 3 pm PT/5 pm CT on NBA-TV. The offense dried up in a big way in the third quarter Tuesday against Sacramento. With the Kings up just three at the break, they rolled the Grizzlies in the third quarter by a 27-12 count before going on to win 94-80.
In that third frame, Sacramento shot 58% while the Grizzlies mustered a meager 29%. Ivan Rabb hit three of six tries while the rest of the team shot 3 for 15. Meanwhile, the Kings had eight different players score in the third quarter alone.
Grizzlies were also hurt at the line: the foul-prone Grizzlies sent the Kings to the line 23 times while attempting just eight freebies themselves.
I like what I’m seeing from Jevon Carter. He’s got a certain toughness about him which is something that you really want in your point guard. Obviously he’s got the defensive chops and will only get better with the tutoring of Nick Van Exel, Greg Buckner and Jerry Stackhouse. The pleasant surprise has been a good shooting stroke as well. The Grizzlies drafted Carter for his defensive acumen, so the scoring is a bonus.
Grind City Media mic’d up his mother on Tuesday for the Sacramento game. Afterwards, she wanted to make sure that any “bad stuff” would get edited out. Consider it done and keep an eye out for the next superlative edition of Beyond Grit, coming to a device near you.
Kobi Simmons has made good use of the off-season. On a Grizzlies team that has struggled to get buckets, he’s been able to create his own shot and is a willing and capable driver. As a one-and-done at Arizona, it might take a few years for Simmons to reach his peak, but I think it’ll be worth the wait.
I introduced myself to Chad Forcier, one of the new assistants on the Grizzlies staff. First order of business: “How do you pronounce your name? Is it “fore-sear” or “fore-see-a?” The affable Forcier told me to use whichever I want. Why? “Well, my parents go with ‘fore-sear’ and when I was with the Spurs, Pop always went with ‘fore-see-a.’”
That settles it. I’m a big fan of Gregg Popovich, so on our telecasts, it’s going to be “fore-see-a.” Also sounds a bit more elegant.
Speaking of former Spurs, Chris Vernon spoke very highly of new Grizz Kyle Anderson. “You’re going to LOVE this guy,” Verno gushed after the Sacramento game. He went on to opine that Anderson will be a great locker room guy. Anderson also has a high basketball IQ (which seems to be a prerequisite if you’re going to play for JB Bickerstaff) and is a capable distributor of the basketball. If you want to get Mike Conley off the ball for a few possessions, Anderson is more than capable of initiating the offense. If you haven’t dialed up Verno’s interview with Anderson, I strongly recommend it.
Had a chance meeting with Utah’s Grayson Allen in the hotel elevator Tuesday afternoon. I introduced myself and wished him well. I asked him about the biggest adjustment from Duke to the NBA (albeit at the Summer League level). He said the amount of detail that needs to be digested is much greater in the NBA and praised the Jazz organization as a whole. He also spoke of the volume of media demands, but allowed that he was used to that coming from a high-visibility Duke program. In a one-on-one setting he seems like a good guy, but I can see that his competitive spirit and chippiness on the floor will get under the skin of opponents. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares on this level.
Eric Hasseltine, Brevin Knight and I were honored to be asked by the NBA to do an alternate feed of Summer League games. Eric teamed with former Warrior Kelenna Azubuike on the Miami-Utah contest while BK and I did the Grizzlies game against the Kings. Seems that, particularly in Asia, there is a preference to watch games on mobile phones in portrait orientation instead of landscape. The NBA discovered this during their global fan research and wanted to experiment with what they call “vertical view.”
The actual call of the game didn’t vary from normal and we didn’t get much of a look at the finished feed; our monitors were set up normally in the 16:9 HD ratio. The feed was routed to a distributor (tencent) in Asia. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it also routed to the Grizzlies website. Preliminary feedback from the NBA broadcast office was that they were pleased with the work we did. Vertical view is just one of the new viewing experiences the NBA is testing here in Las Vegas.
Follow Grizzlies TV Play-By-Play Announcer, Pete Pranica on Twitter @petepranica and on Instagram @petepranica. Stay tuned as Pete shares his perspective on the Grizzlies' performance at 2016 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas right here on Grizzlies.com.