Xavier Rathan-Mayes off to a Hot Start with the Grizzlies
Written By: Nishaan Sodhi
The Memphis Grizzlies are hurting right now. The team is on a 15 game losing-streak and with upcoming match-ups against the scorching Utah Jazz, the Mavericks, and the Bucks, it appears that things will continue to get worse before they get better.
With hopes to recuperate, the Grizzlies signed Xavier Rathan-Mayes from the Westchester Knicks of the NBA G-League to a 10-day contract earlier this week. The Scarborough native had been an instrumental part of his team’s success, averaging 16.6 points, 7.2 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game while leading the Knicks to a league-best 28-14 record.
Despite having never played in an official NBA game prior to being called-up, XRM has hit the ground running. Matching up against future hall-of-famer Tony Parker in his first game, Rathan-Mayes came out aggressive and had 8 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals against the Spurs. He carried this momentum forward in the Grizzlies’ next game against the Bulls, totaling 9 points, 7 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
The struggling Grizzlies, with their poor performances as of late, appear to be the perfect situation for XRM. The team is young, athletic, and still developing. Given this, XRM will be put in a position to play big minutes and have the ability to play his game in a low-pressure environment.
Widely considered one of the best shooters in the class of 2013, Rathan-Mayes has turned heads across the basketball world for his ability to score. The former Florida State standout once scored an unprecedented 30 points in four minutes against the Miami Hurricanes in an ACC matchup. The Grizzlies are currently ranked last in the NBA in scoring, and as Rathan-Mayes’ role within the team grows, he will develop into a source of much needed offensive production.
The Memphis Grizzlies roster will now feature two Canadian players, both from the Greater Toronto Area. The Grizzlies drafted Mississauga native Dillon Brooks with the 45th pick in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft. Brooks has been an integral part of the Grizzlies squad, averaging 9.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per game this season.
Brooks impressive rookie season continued Wednesday, Mar. 7 against the Chicago Bulls when he scored a career high 29 points in the loss. The forward shot 10/18 from the field including five threes. He also dished out two assists, grabbed two steals and hauled in one rebound. Brooks has been a starter for the Grizzlies since the beginning of November, but this is the first time he has recorded back to back 20+ point games, as he scored 21 points against the Sacramento Kings on Mar. 5.
With this signing, there are now a record-high 14 Canadian players on NBA rosters. Both the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies have two Canadians on their respective teams.
Given Rathan-Mayes’ stellar play in the G-League and his proven ability to be a lights out shooter, the NPH team is confident this won’t be XRM’s last stint in the NBA.