Wayne Selden Jr. comes through with highlight jam in Memphis playoff victory
Wayne Selden Jr., only experienced 14 regular-season games as an un-drafted rookie, but the former Kansas guard on Thursday night didn’t let a much larger stage keep him from delivering his first NBA Playoffs moment.
With Memphis on its way to putting away Western Conference juggernaut San Antonio in the fourth quarter of Game 3, Selden came through with an electrifying slam reminiscent of his days with the Jayhawks.
A late-season addition for the Grizzlies, Selden’s duties on offense typically involve hanging out in either corner, behind the 3-point line as his veteran teammates such as Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph go to work. But the 6-foot-5 wing saw his chance late versus the Spurs to prove he could be more than a warm body and defender.
After catching the ball on the left wing with Memphis up 20 and well on its way to cutting the Spurs’ series lead to 2-1, Selden looked to throw an entry pass to Randolph before realizing that would be a bad idea. With Z-Bo occupying his post defender, Selden went to work on his man, Kyle Anderson.
Selden drove hard toward the left baseline, getting an angle on Anderson. Once he had his man beat, the rookie rose up for a wicked, one-handed slam.
In just his 17th NBA game — third postseason affair — Selden gave the Grizzlies, playing without injured Tony Allen, 10 points, 2 boards and an assist. He shot 4-for-9 from the floor, 2-for-4 on 3-pointers and didn’t turn the ball over.
In his first two playoff games combined, both at San Antonio, Selden totaled just two successful field goals on 10 tries while playing as a fill-in starter for Allen.
The 22-year-old newbie felt much better about his Game 3 showing, particularly the highlight slam.
“Yeah, it was fun,” Selden said in a postgame interview with FOX Sports Southeast. “It’s that boost for the team, gets the team going, pumps energy into the crowd. It’s just good for the team.”
Though he didn’t start at Memphis Thursday, Selden played 28 minutes off the bench and provided the home team with a spark.
“We just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Selden said following a 105-94 win. “Whoever was out there had to play their minutes hard. You get tired, somebody else comes in.”
Considering he spent most of the season in the D-League and made his NBA debut with New Orleans, Selden’s contributions — while not massive — are rather remarkable. He made his Memphis debut March 18 and now he’s finding spots to make an impact in the playoffs.
Game 4 of Spurs-Grizzlies is Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN).