Thabeet’s the kind of player who doesn’t need to do a ton to be a relevant NBA player —— be reasonably athletic, be 7-foot-3, hold your hands in the air. But he’s also the kind of player who can easily make himself a pretty irrelevant one —— don’t foul out before halftime.
He’ll probably never live up to the expectations of being the No. 2 pick in the draft. So if you get past that, what the Grizzlies need out of him is to be a defensive presence in the middle, grab some boards and block shots when Marc Gasol is getting a breather.
Thabeet did that in the Grizzlies’ 87-85 preseason victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and a block. But he also did what the Grizzlies can’t afford him to do — foul out midway through the third quarter.
Too Many Turnovers
Preseason rust or not, 30 turnovers is too many for an NBA team to commit in one game. And really, the Grizzlies probably should have had more. On multiple occasions in the first half, Memphis ran its offense without a shot nearly until the shot clock expired. It was more a product of the second- to third-string players on the court, but still, you’ve got to get a shot up.
Xavier Henry (five turnovers in 23:49) struggled, especially early. He was completely uninvolved in the offense and seemed lost on the court, a la Hasheem Thabeet 2009. Once the latter part of the second half came, though, he seemed to settle in a bit.
“He was a little nervous for his first game and was rushing his shot,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “He finally settled down.”
Henry finished 2-of-5 from the field with five points and four rebounds.