One of the greatest offseasons in franchise history continued for the Memphis Grizzlies as they hoisted the Las Vegas Summer League trophy at the end of the tournament. First-round draft pick Brandon Clarke took home both the Summer League MVP title and the Championship MVP crown. He is the first player in Summer League history to win both honors.
The Memphis Grizzlies are Summer League Champions
Memphis Grizzlies Summer League Recap
Despite second-overall pick Ja Morant sitting out, the Grizzlies came away victorious in the 2019 Las Vegas Summer League behind Clarke’s outstanding performances. The MVP averaged 18.7 points and 14 rebounds per contest in the playoffs.
In said playoffs, the Grizzlies knocked off the Boston Celtics, 94-88, the New Orleans Pelicans, 88-86, and finally the Minnesota Timberwolves in the title bout, 95-92. The Grizzlies dropped just a single contest in the entire Summer League, a 113-87 route by the Celtics.
In the end, the Grizzlies proved they were the best team in the league.
Winning the Summer League is a nice feat, but it pales in comparison to any form of success at the NBA level. The Memphis Grizzlies are a team that is in full rebuild mode, completely focused on long-term success. They have virtually no chance to make the NBA Playoffs in the near future but have a plan in place to become a force to be reckoned with down the line. Winning the Summer League proves that potential.
Granted, the Summer League saw several star draft picks miss time. Zion Williamson was virtually a no-show, and Morant didn’t suit up for a single contest. Though this may skew the power structure to an extent, it still shows that the Grizzlies have what it takes to compete with other young teams in the league.
The Grizzlies got an absolute steal when they drafted Clarke late in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. His play in the Summer League cemented that notion. He will still have a lot to prove at the NBA level, but he is off to a phenomenal start. Once he reaches the next level, he will be playing alongside Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., the two franchise centerpieces for the Grizzlies, which will take the pressure off of the young forward.
With a new coach hired during the transition away from the “Grit and Grind” era, a lot of changes are happening in Memphis. The Grizzlies, though near the bottom of the barrel, have a very hopeful future. The days of being Western Conference contenders are behind the franchise, but could also be on the horizon. Perhaps even closer than many think.
The young core in Memphis is shaping up to be one of the best in the league, Summer League title or not. Winning the chip is just icing on the cake.
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