Grizzlies coach issues strong analysis of Matthew Hurt after debut game vs Kings

Jan 29, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins (right) talks
Jan 29, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins (right) talks / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

As has been the case all season long, the Memphis Grizzlies found themselves severely short handed heading into their Monday night bout against the Sacramento Kings.

With a whopping total of 11 players being deemed inactive heading into the contest, during the waning hours leading up to tip-off the ball club opted to snatch up G League standout Matthew Hurt via a 10-day contract to fill the league-mandated requirement of having a minimum of eight active talents on a roster.

Despite the fact that it was only his first game in the NBA, out of desperation the Grizzlies shelled out 23 minutes in his direction, where he went on to post a solid stat-line of 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 66.7 percent shooting from distance.

Though Memphis ultimately fell to Sacramento by a final score of 103-94, this patch-job squad gave the fifth-best team in the Western Conference a real run for their money, as they held a 15-point lead through the first quarter played and even brought their late-game deficit to just one point during the final 3 minutes of regulation.

While he may not have had the standout showing that fellow forwards Santi Aldama (16 points) and the offensively improving Jaren Jackson Jr. (22 points) did, from the eye test and the advanced metrics (registered the team's second-highest plus-minus rating at +2) it was evident that Hurt played a key role in keeping things close, and coach Taylor Jenkins made sure to sing his praise during his postgame presser.

Taylor Jenkins issues statement on Matthew Hurt's debut with Grizzlies

"[Matthew Hurt was] decisive and aggressive. I thought he did some good things defensively, made quick decisions on the offensive side, obviously knocked down some shots early in the first half. He was trying to get acclimated with his teammates out there, he hadn't played with these guys in a really long time, but I thought he did some really nice things, got to the free throw line on decisive moves. Rebounds, assists -- in his minutes he was productive."

Taylor Jenkins

A second-year staple for the Memphis Hustle, Hurt is seemingly yet another example of the caliber of talent this Grizzlies franchise has within their development arsenal as he finds himself leading the G League in points per game with averages of 25.5 a night.

With his tremendous play all season long with the JV squad, along with his experience serving as a top dog for the Duke Blue Devils before entering the 2021 NBA Draft, the power forward came into his first lick of NBA action with high-end confidence, even making his first two shot attempts, one of which being a smooth step-back three-pointer.

Considering his production against the Kings coupled with the praise he received from coach Jenkins, Grizzlies fans should expect to see Hurt see more action prior to the expiration of his current 10-day pact.