Now that we know that the San Antonio Spurs will be facing the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in tournament, several NBA pundits are giving their thoughts on the game, which I’ll share here.
Look for our full game preview here on Wednesday morning.
Thorpe picks Grizzlies to win | TrueHoop
If you subscribe to the TrueHoop newsletter, which you should be, you will have noticed a nice breakdown by David Thorpe of the play-in matchup of the Spurs and Grizzlies.
Thorpe says the Grizzlies are 65 percent likely to win the game and move on.
The Grizzlies have all kinds of athletes and big Jonas Valanciunas inside. The big man is important in this game because the Spurs’ young bigs often outplay their opponents but will struggle against a grown-up bigs like Valanciunas.
The Grizzlies lost to the Warriors on Sunday, snapping a five-game win streak, to end the season 10-5. The Spurs proved they can erupt when they beat the Bucks, but expecting it makes little sense.
Thorpe makes a few other statements regarding the Spurs, including saying the Spurs are only in the play-in because the other West teams are awful. While there are a few talented teams towards the bottom end of the Western Conference, I can’t take much issue with what he says, especially with Derrick White sidelined.
Frye says DeRozan, Johnson, Murray key to Spurs win | NBA.com
[pickup_prop id=”2779″]In a quick video preview from NBA TV, former NBA center Channing Frye said people forget how good DeRozan is and how he can get a bucket for the Spurs when they need it.
“I think people forgot who good this dude is in playoff situations where just getting a bucket is absolutely crucial for his team,” Frye said. “If he can be efficient, if Keldon Johnson can play above what he’s been playing…those two guys to me, and Dejounte Murray are really what’s going to push this Spurs team over a really, really good Memphis team.”
Spurs vs. Grizzlies will feature battle of the benches | ESPN
In their breakdown of the Spurs’ play-in game with the Grizzlies, ESPN said the battle of the benches will be the matchup to watch. With the Spurs’ starters struggling to find their offense at times, it’ll be important for the second unit to play a big role as they have all season.
It’ll be a showdown between two of the better bench units in the league when Memphis and San Antonio square off. Memphis’ bench averages 39.5 points per game this season — fourth best in the league — while the Spurs’ second unit averages 38.7 points, which is tied for sixth best.
The Athletic ranks Spurs 19th in latest Power Rankings
While not necessarily a play-in preview, the Athletic ranked the San Antonio Spurs 19th in their power rankings, keeping them at the same exact ranking as last week. They also listed Dejounte Murray as the encouraging player from the season and Derrick White as the player you want more from, although, when healthy, it’s hard to ask much more of White.
They also discuss the Spurs’ expectations in the play-in and playoffs.
Feel good heading into the playoffs? Probably not at this point. The Spurs don’t really have expectations in their attempt to slide into the postseason, but maybe that’s good because it means no pressure?