Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Memphis vs MMT Estudiantes

Memphis played with numerous lineups in their loss on Monday but still managed to keep the game close against an experienced Spanish team in Malaga. While fans may be disappointed by the team's failure down the stretch Iavaroni did get the opportunity to see how the team competed against new opponents. Game two is important now as no NBA team has ever lost two games to European teams in the same pre-season.

MMT Estudiantes is a second division team in the Spanish League finishing 9th last season. MMT is a young team that always competes hard. For MMT, a non-affluent team, any victory is a big win so they always try very hard. MMT is famous for developing young players that richer teams sign in their prime. This is a major game for this team.

Point Guard: Damon Stoudamire vs Sergio Sanchez:
Damon has made an amazing recovery to regain the lead spot at the point for the Grizzlies. His 1st game however left much to be desired after his 3 pt, 2 assist effort. He will need to start performing better if he wants to stay in the starting role. Kyle Lowry continued to impress off the bench and Mike Conley played well in his first professional game. Sergio Sánchez will be the starter. He's a pure point guard who's good at finding the big men. Nothing spectacular, but serviceable. He played for Boston in the Summer Leagues this year. Gonzalo Martínez is a veteran player who will defend and do whatever the coach asks him to do. He won't win the game by itself, but won't lose it neither.
Advantage: Memphis

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Txemi Urtasun
Mike Miller showed some difficulty against Malaga especially on the defensive end. However he is still the most deadly outside shooting threat on the team and one of the most well rounded players. JC Navarro had a great game against Malaga and should be expected to provide a strong offensive punch off the bench. Tarence Kinsey didn't play in the first pre-season game. Txemi Urtasun is a good shooter. A young player (23) that could become someone really good in the ACB league, but hasn't improved enough the last two seasons. He played on some young Spanish National Teams from 2002 to 2004. Dome Lorbek is another young player from Slovenia (22). He's had a good European Championship now it's a matter of doing it in a long season every night. He can be really great if he continues to improve his game.

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Hernán Jasen
Rudy had a inconsistent game against Malaga as he recorded 5 steals but also 6 fouls. The Grizzlies need him to be more consistent. Hernán Jasen is one of the few veteran players in this team. He's been playing for estudiantes since 2001-02 season. He's a good defender with a decent outside shot and a good inside game. Carlos Suárez is supposed to be the next Carlos Jiménez with a better offensive game. It's still a long shot though. Javier Beirán is yet another young player with a plausible bright future. At 20, he's already a pure shooter and must improve the other areas of his game. It will be the first real professional season for him (he was in the roster last year but nearly didn't play).

Power Forwards: Pau Gasol vs Larry Lewis
Pau Gasol started the pre-season strong with a solid game scoring 18 pts, grabbing 10 boards, dishing out 3 assists and blocking 4 shots. Hakim had a solid game in limited minutes scoring 11 pts with 5 boards in under 15 minutes. He also committed 4 fouls in that time. Larry Lewis is the only american player in the team. At 37 he's the older player by far and is supposed to bring veteran toughness on the paint. He's been playing all around the world. Florent Marius Pietrus. Mickael's brother. Similar games. A very athletic player with a decent touch, member of the French National Team, will provide interior defense and dunks. Daniel Clark. The youngest player of the team at 19.

Center: Stromile Swift vs Jesse Young
Stro was a surprise start at center over free agent signee Darko Milicic. Neither player really made a strong arguement to be the starter in the first game. Stro played just under 20 minutes scoring 6 points and getting 4 rebounds. Darko played 16 minutes scoring 4 points with 2 rebounds and 5 fouls. Jesse Young (27) is a Canadian player who has already played in the Spanish league. He played on the NCAA at the George Mason University. He's supposed to provide some interior scoring for this team while they develop Caio Torres. Another 20 year old player and a member of the Brazilian National Team. Has good post moves and a bright future ahead, but is still raw. A typical inside player with 52% FG and 56% FT. This should be a chance for the Grizzlies big men to gain some confidence and don't be surprised to see both players on the court at the same time in this game.

Coaches: Mariano de Pablos is a coach who is young also. Younger than the older player on his team, actually, since he was born in 1975. He's another product of Estudiantes (yes, they develop coaches too. Does Pepu Hernández ring a bell?). He was the assistant coach of the team the last two seasons and is the main coach now for the first time. Hey, Iavaroni will face someone with as much experience as him! Iavaroni's first game was not a must win but he may be facing one in this game. Ivaroni doesn't want to be the first coach to be shut out in the Euroleague games.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Hey guys, it's lioncub! I agree that neither Darko nor Stro did much to earn the starting spot in game 1, but I thought they both played pretty well.

Darko struggled to score, and Swift whiffed every time he tried to block a shot, but their effort was pretty good.

Stromile didn't get the ball much on offense - he really got only 1 offensive touch (in the second quarter) and he was quickly double teamed and he kicked the ball out.

I really didn't like the way Rudy Gay missed long shot after long shot, while Casey Jacobsen didn't get to attempt a single shot. Rudy needs to have more of a pass-first mentality, and he also should be playing closer to the basket.