Promising Performance: Steven Adams, Memphis Grizzlies Center, Showcases Great Form in Knee Scrimmages

Luke Kennard reclined against the backdrop of the blue Memphis Grizzlies, engaging in a conversation with reporters following Thursday’s practice. In the background, Steven Adams playfully attempted 3-pointers while urging Kennard to acknowledge his contribution.

“Luke, let’s talk about me!” Adams shouted. “That backdoor pass, mate.”

Kennard happily obliged. The backdoor pass occurred during the Grizzlies’ scrimmage, marking one of the first instances in which Kennard and Adams played together in a full-court setting. The chemistry between them mirrored that of Adams and Desmond Bane, which Grizzlies fans have grown accustomed to witnessing.

Due to the extensive and intense scrimmaging during their third practice, attention soon turned to Adams’ knee. After spraining his right PCL in January, Adams became one of the team’s biggest uncertainties during the offseason. Originally projected as a three- to five-week injury, he ended up missing the rest of the season.

However, Adams fully participated in the scrimmages on Thursday.

“He’s been fantastic,” Kennard commended. “He’s been involved in every drill and scrimmage, dominating in the low post. He looks great to me.”

The Grizzlies engaged in multiple scrimmages, playing five-minute quarters. Coach Taylor Jenkins experimented with different lineup combinations to determine the most effective guard and big groupings.

At one point, Adams shared the court with Kennard and Bane, widely regarded as the team’s top shooters. Adams and Bane have already developed a strong connection over the past two seasons. Now, Adams had his first glimpse of what it would be like to have Kennard and Bane playing alongside him.

“Defenses react strongly to Des,” Adams explained. “They have to. And then you add Luke to the mix. It creates these huge openings.”

Emphasizing spacing, the Grizzlies aim to have shooters on the court as often as possible. Kennard and Bane are likely to have more playing time together this season, but Jenkins isn’t ready to commit to starting Kennard alongside Bane in the absence of Ja Morant.

“Luke is a player who can start or come off the bench and make a significant impact — he understands that,” Jenkins affirmed. “We need him to excel on both ends of the court, but his offensive contributions are exceptional.”

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The Grizzlies will take to the court on Saturday for their annual open practice, allowing fans to watch. On Sunday, they will play their first preseason game against the Indiana Pacers (7 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast).

Adams continues to approach his recovery on a day-by-day basis, refraining from making commitments or looking ahead to Sunday’s game. His primary objective is properly managing his knee, and the Grizzlies are fully supportive of his approach.

“This is the most significant five-on-five action he’s had in months, which is why we’re being cautious,” Jenkins explained. “We just want to see how he responds to it since he’s primarily been doing one-on-one drills.”


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