The Commercial Appeal

Unpacking the career performanc­e of Grizzlies rookie Roddy

- Damichael Cole

David Roddy stood near the left wing of the 3-point line while fellow Minnesota native and Memphis Grizzlies teammate Tyus Jones was preparing to shoot free throws in the closing moments of Saturday’s 112-108 win against the Dallas Mavericks. Jones was at the free-throw line, but it was Roddy who had just mesmerized the crowd with a career performanc­e.

Chants of “Roddy!” echoed through Fedexarena. Roddy, a rookie forward who has done everything from start Grizzlies games to start G League Memphis Hustle contests, appeared not to be fazed by the chants.

“It’s pretty cool,” Roddy said after the game. “You’re still locked into the game, you don’t really understand, or you don’t really know, at one point, but I was walking away, and I was like, ‘Oh wait, that’s pretty cool.’ I appreciate all the fans coming out, making it a special night.”

The 6-foot-4 Roddy scored a careerhigh 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting. Going into the fourth quarter, Roddy had seven points.

Memphis was outscored by 12 points in the third quarter, and the offense was sputtering. The Mavericks lead grew to 11 with 10:46 left in the fourth quarter, and that’s when Roddy took over.

He started off by driving to the basket, then he added a turnaround shot and multiple 3-pointers. Roddy scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, and he also added a crucial steal and dunk. He did all his damage while playing both the small and power forward positions during the quarter.

When Roddy made his third 3pointer of the fourth quarter, he brought the Grizzlies within one point and Fedexforum erupted as the Mavs called timeout. Grizzlies teammates were also celebratin­g, but Roddy calmly walked toward the team bench, kissed his finger and pointed it towards the sky.

“I always give praise to God because he’s the reason why I’m here,” Roddy said. “Look at my story: being undervalue­d pretty much my entire life, now on the biggest stage, I get my opportunit­y. I’m just super blessed to be here. It’s a privilege.”

Teammates swarmed around Roddy after the game.

Xavier Tillman Sr. is a player who has done the spent time with the Hustle and

Grizzlies, and he has arguably become the model of how the Grizzlies can use the G League this season. He talked earlier this season about how joining the Hustle kept him fresh and ready for his moment in Memphis.

“As a third-year guy, I’ve seen a lot of stuff, so I know how to handle it,” Tillman said. “But him being a rookie and being able to handle it the way he has and being a profession­al; everybody sees that from his teammates to the coaching staff.”

Roddy is his toughest critic. When he makes a mistake, most times it doesn’t take a teammate or coach to get on him, because he’s already doing that.

“It’s good and bad to expect a lot out of yourself,” guard Desmond Bane said. “Obviously, he puts in a lot of work, and he wants success. We’ve had conversati­ons about the season’s ups and downs. “

With how tough he is on himself, Jones knows how much he wants success, and that’s part of what made Saturday so rewarding.

“He holds himself to a high standard, and that’s why he’ll be in the league for a long time,” Jones said.

With Ja Morant away from the team, Steven Adams injured and Brandon

Clarke out for the season, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins had started relying on an eight-man rotation that primarily included Luke Kennard, John Konchar and Santi Aldama as the three players off the bench.

Roddy got his chance to prove that his ability to play and defend multiple positions is an asset that Memphis needs.

“We’ll see how it goes, but nine is probably what we’re going to be doing for the foreseeabl­e future,” Jenkins said. “It’s going to be a great opportunit­y to learn what our guys got, and what kind of chemistry we can build out of it.”

 ?? STU BOYD II/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL ?? Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy reacts after making another three in the fourth quarter on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks.
STU BOYD II/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy reacts after making another three in the fourth quarter on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks.

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