After an unexpectedly torrid start to the season, the San Antonio Spurs have been scuffling as of late, with four straight losses.
And while there may be some questions surrounding the legitimacy of some of those losses, the reality is that the Spurs would have been doing exceptionally well to come out of that stretch at 2-2 as it was, facing an a long and inexhaustible Raptors team, and then the world-destroying monstrosity that Nikola Jokić has been over the past few years.
There’s a real opportunity for a victory in this one though, with the Grizzlies missing what amounts to most of their rim defense in Jaren Jackson Jr. and the thundering kiwi that is Stephen Adams.
Unfortunately, the Spurs will be missing one of their best front-court contributors in the energetic yet seemingly ill-fated Zach Collins. Though his counting stats might not look like much, Collins’ per-36 stats (17/9.5/5.7/2.5/1.4) are a solid indicators of just how effective he’s been as the back-up to the similarly efficient Jakob Poeltl.
Make no mistake, these Grizzlies are still a buzz-saw when Ja Morant is at his best (as he has frequently been against the Spurs) and boast a remarkable amount of starter-caliber depth, so the Spurs will need some combination of Gorgui Dieng, Charles Bassey, Isiah Roby, and Jeremy Sochan to take advantage of Memphis’ one (temporarily) glaring weakness.
Tank or no tank, it’s time to see what these young’uns are made of.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies
November 9th, 2022 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest| Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Blake Wesley - Out, Zack Collins - Out (Leg), Doug McDermott - Questionable (Ankle)
Grizzlies Injuries: Stephen Adams - Out (Ankle), Jaren Jackson Jr. - Out (Foot), Ziaire Williams - Out (Knee), Danny Green - Out (Knee)
What to watch for:
- The Emergence of Devin Vassell: It seems like every season there’s been another young Spur quietly working their way into the national conversation in a typically low-key display of efficiency, whether it’s Dejounte Murray, or Keldon Johnson (or even DeMar DeRozan reaching new heights in his time here) and this year it appears to be Devin Vassell’s turn. Currently averaging 22 points-per-game on a 51/54/80 slash-line over the last ten games, Vassell is doing his best to prove that he’s more than just a 3-and-D contributor. Looking every bit as lethal from the mid-range as Dejounte Murray did last season in addition to upping the ante (and shot attempts) on his long-range wizardry and playing exceptional team defense, there’s a real question as to whether or not he can not only match but exceed his purported draft-ceiling of Khris Middleton-lite. Only time will tell if this is just a hot streak, or a sign of things to come. But what a hot streak it’s been so far. Definitely worth tuning in for.
For the Grizzlies fans’ perspective, visit Grizzly Bear Blues.
PtR’s Game thread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.