The Memphis Hustle will play its first set of back-to-backs this weekend, starting with a Saturday night matchup against the South Bay Lakers at 7 p.m. inside Landers Center. The next morning, the team will hop on a flight to Des Moines and take on Midwest Division rival Iowa Wolves at 6 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena. Saturday’s game is First Responders Night presented by EMHC and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free, brand-new Hustle scarf.
The Hustle will be without leading scorer Brandon Goodwin, who was called up by the Denver Nuggets to fulfill an injury exception. Goodwin’s acquisition marks the third call-up in franchise history and the first of the season. The Hustle still hold his rights should he return to the G League.
Memphis’ first opponent, South Bay, was last year’s Western Conference runner-up but has stumbled out to a 4-7 start this season. However, the Lakers have won their last two games, including a revenge game against Sioux Falls the night after losing by 40 to the Skyforce. The Lakers are bolstered by the recent addition of Travis Wear, one of their key players last year who had a 29-point outburst against the Hustle last December. However, the team recently had two Lakers assignees recalled in Svi Mykhailiuk (who hit seven threes in the team’s most recent win) and Moritz Wagner.
Saturday’s game will also mark multiple reunions. Lakers forward Jemerrio Jones (8.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.4 apg) was teammates with Hustle guard Markel Crawford at Melrose High School in Memphis. Additionally, former Southwind High star Johnathan Williams (18.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg) is on a two-way contract with the Lakers.
The Wolves have also struggled early this season and sit at 3-6 and next to last in the Western Conference, however, Iowa owns a three-game winning streak against the Hustle. Additionally, like the Lakers, the Wolves have put together some wins of their own recently, having won three of their last four games and including a road win over the 7-2 Oklahoma City Blue. The Minnesota Timberwolves recently assigned Keita Bates-Diop to the team.
Iowa has plenty of familiar names on its roster. Most notably Hakim Warrick, who the Grizzlies selected 19th overall in the 2005 NBA draft and spent four professional seasons with the Grizz.
Canyon Barry, son of Hall-of-Famer Rick Barry, has become known for his father’s style of shooting a “granny-shot” free throw. Guard Jonathan Stark hails from nearby Munford, Tennessee. Additionally, forward William Lee played with the Memphis Grizzlies Summer League team this past summer.
Hustle Stats to Watch
- That’s a Good Win: Goodwin’s call-up came just a day after breaking the franchise single-game scoring record, pouring in 36 points on 15-of-24 shooting. Goodwin scored 20-or-more six times and reached double figures in each of his appearances with the Hustle.
- Don’t Be Fooled: Memphis is 5-4 and tied for fifth in the Western Conference, but all four losses have come to three teams with a combined record of 21-7 (.750) and has already avenged one of those losses.
- Dusty Buckets Resurgent: After a hot start to end last season, Dusty Hannahs struggled out of the gate in 2018-19 but seems to have found his stride in recent games. In his last three appearances, Hannahs has averaged 13.7 points on 60.9 percent shooting overall and 50.0 percent from three-point range.