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Kings vs. Grizzlies Preview: A Ja-lly time of year

The Kings try to bounce back after a blowout loss in Indiana on Friday night.

Kimani Okearah

An explosive young point guard? Check. A promising power forward who can also play some center from the 2018 draft? Check. Veteran contributors who are playing well? Check. Am I talking about the Grizzlies or Kings? Who knows! Will I ever stop asking myself questions like a Giraffian Gollum? Probably Not! Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: December 21st, 5:00 PST

Where: The biggest log cabin available in Tennessee


Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For your consideration

The Grizzlies are captained by one of the most exciting young players in the league, Ja Morant, who will rise up and try to dunk on anyone at anytime under any circumstances. He carries a similar explosiveness to pre-injury Derrick Rose and plays with the recklessness of early-career Dwyane Wade. And although those his rim-rocking attacks in the paint garner the most highlight reels on SportsCenter, Morant isn’t solely bound by slashing and dashing through the teeth of the defense; the second overall pick is also knocking down 42.6% of his three-point attempts this season. Sacramento’s perimeter defenders will have to keep up a hand up at all times to hinder his shooting from beyond the arc, and trust Richaun Holmes and the other bigs to protect the rim.

Jaren Jackson Jr. represents the other half of Memphis’ rebuild, and the power forward is enjoying quite the successful year himself. His 17.4 points per game ranks second behind Morant, and Jackson’s future as a stretch-four looks bright, as his 40% shooting from deep on 6.3 attempts per game is as accurate as Nemanja Bjelica on even more attempts. The Grizzlies attack is rounded out by Dillon Brooks, Jonas Valanciunas, and Bryant West’s favorite person on the planet earth, rookie Brandon Clarke.

Memphis was projected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, and their start to the season certainly matched that projection at 6-22, but the Grizzlies have won four of their last seven games, and the Kings can’t afford to overlook a talented young team on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. It’s time for Luke Walton to move De’Aaron Fox into the starting lineup, even if that may hurt Marvin Bagley’s feelings, while Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes must turn in much better performances than their empty play against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. Although Memphis carries several fun players on their roster, the Kings are significantly more talented and also a employ a much deeper bench. This is the kind of game playoff hopefuls win.


De’Aaron Fox posterizes Ja Morant, Marvin Bagley III records his first 20-10 game of the season, and the Kings win handily.

Kings 118 - Grizzlies 101