NBA Summer League 2019 Championship: Preview for Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2019

Memphis Grizzlies' Brandon Clarke reacts after scoring against the New Orleans Pelicans during overtime of an NBA summer league basketball game Sunday, July 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA Summer League championship game will feature the No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves and No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies—two squads that reached this point without their top-five draft picks.

Following what was deemed a "minor" knee surgery to remove a loose body, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Memphis opted to sit No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant in Las Vegas. Minnesota chose to leave Jarrett Culver off the summer league lineup. 

Nonetheless, both teams have watched upstart players leave strong impressions in tournament play and over the last week. 

The Grizzlies went through a couple of tough battles in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, needing overtime to beat the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday. The Timberwolves dominated their last two opponents with double-digit victories in each contest.

Two players have emerged as an inside-outside duo in Memphis, leading the charge for the club in recent outings. They'll face a Minnesota squad that's deep with multiple contributors chipping into their latest victories. 

Check out the viewing information below to tune into the action Monday. We'll also break down the contenders for the 2019 summer league title.


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Viewing Information

Date: Monday, July 15 

Time: 9 p.m. ET 



Championship Preview 

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Brandon Clarke and Tyler Harvey have played major roles in the Grizzlies' path to the summer-league championship game. They were the team's lead scorers in the first two rounds.

Clarke slammed the game-winning bucket on an assist from Keenan Evans, but Harvey kept the Grizzlies alive with a deep three-pointer late in regulation to tie the game at 81:

Harvey shot 3-of-8 from beyond the arc against the Pelicans Sunday and essentially closed the door on their championship bid. He's displayed his range while in Vegas. The Nets must run him off the three-point line Monday, forcing the Grizzlies' summer sharpshooter to pass or work for his buckets.

We saw Clarke dominate games from the interior at San Jose State and Gonzaga through his collegiate years, and he's provided much of the same with Grizzlies. The No. 21 overall pick in this year's draft logged consecutive double-doubles and led Memphis in scoring (23 points) Sunday. 

Clarke also takes pride in his defensive effort; he's swatted four shots over the last two outings. The 22-year-old will bring more grit to Memphis in the coming seasons. 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: Naz Reid #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates with Josh Okogie #20 after a basket against the Miami Heat during the 2019 Summer League at the Cox Pavilion on July 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expre
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Minnesota sat Josh Okogie for Sunday's contest because of a shin contusion—it's unclear if he'll suit up for the championship game. Based on the Timberwolves' performance against the Brooklyn Nets, they won't need his defensive presence.

Naz Reid went undrafted out of LSU, but he signed a two-way contract with the Timberwolves and flashed his best in Vegas. The 6'10", 250-pound big man led Minnesota in scoring Sunday, logging 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Reid stood out, but he had some help from Mitchell Creek and Jordan McLaughlin who combined for 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range. 

The Grizzlies cannot focus on just a couple of players in the upcoming contest. Kelan Martin had a strong 23-point outing vs. the Dallas Mavericks Saturday with Barry Brown Jr. and Jordan Murphy combining for 26 points. 

Offensively, Minnesota's group will attack from all angles with multiple shooters and slashers to the basket. If Okogie suits up, Harvey may have a difficult time finding open looks. Perhaps Evans provides a lift in scoring to go along with his ball distribution for a dynamic performance.