The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off of a season in which they missed the playoffs. They have some big decisions to make this offseason that will impact their team for years to come.
The Memphis Grizzlies are looking to improve their roster heading into the 2018-2019 season. They have a lot of new pieces and potential, but they also have some holes that need to be filled.
Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. represent the future of the Memphis Grizzlies. Jaren Jackson Jr has been held back in his career thus far due to injuries. As a result, the two young stars have yet to demonstrate their ability to work together. The good news is that Jaren Jackson Jr returned late last season and performed well in limited minutes. The Memphis Grizzlies have a bright future since both Ja and Jaren are just 22 years old.
The Grizzlies are clinging on scrapper Dillon Brooks, who has saved the Grizzlies in a variety of circumstances. They’ve also re-signed Slo-Mo Kyle Anderson and acquired Steven Adams, also known as Aquaman, from the Pelicans in a deal.
The issue is whether this squad improved or deteriorated as the season progressed.
Ja Morant, point guard
Ja Morant has made a fantastic start to his professional career. In his two seasons, the rookie of the year has averaged 18.4 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, and 3.9 rebounds per game. He’s shown to be one of the league’s most flamboyant point guards, putting up many spectacular plays. When you see Ja play, you know you’re in for a show, whether it’s an off-the-backboard alley-oop to himself or a crossover no-look pass.
He was able to guide the Grizzlies into the playoffs as an 8 seed last season. This is a fantastic indication for a young squad that is still developing.
By making a few small changes to his game, the Murray State PG should be able to take an even bigger stride forward this season. And there won’t be much you can do to stop Ja if he can establish a reliable three-point shooting.
Dillon Brooks, Shooting Guard
This is the kind of player you like playing with but despise playing against. Dillon Brooks understands how to get under his opponents’ skin and plays with a high level of passion. He’s a tough defender who doesn’t mind defending the other team’s top player.
Brooks averaged 17.2 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game, and 1.9 assists per game last season. He doesn’t do much except score, but he’s a guy who can come up with a bucket when it’s required.
Brooks’ biggest problem is that he attempts too many needless and tough shots at times. He has shot 42 percent from the field in his career, which is an incredibly low rate. He’ll be a much better player if he can learn to get the bulk of his shots in the flow of the attack.
Kyle Anderson, Small Forward
Kyle Anderson improved dramatically past season, becoming a much better all-around player. This season, he increased his scoring average from 5.8 to 12.4 points per game. He also shot better percentages and improved in almost every other category.
In comparison to most NBA players, Kyle Anderson moves at a snail’s pace. He manages to use slow motion to his advantage in some way. He glides past opponents and makes movements like he’s in the Matrix. He has a really distinct skill set that he has been able to put to use in his career so far.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Power Forward
Jaren Jackson Jr., as I have said, has never had an opportunity to establish a rhythm due of his long history of ailments. He appeared in 58 and 57 games in his first two seasons, respectively, before returning late last season to play just 11 games. Fans of the Memphis Grizzlies are hoping that he can stay healthy for the whole season since he has the potential to be a great player.
Jaren Jackson Jr averaged 17.4 points per game and 4.6 rebounds in his finest season, then 14.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds when the Grizzlies eased him back into the lineup last season. Jaren Jackson is a bit of a unicorn in that he is a genuine 7-footer who can create plays from the wing. Last season, his shooting percentages dropped in a small sample size, but that was to be anticipated after such a lengthy absence. He should return strong for the 2021-22 season after an off-season of being able to train at full strength.
Steven Adams is in the center.
Big Man Steven Adams rounds out the starting lineup. The Grizzlies and Pelicans won the honor for exchanging the league’s two best players for each other this off-season. Jonas Valunciunas is represented by Steven Adams. Steven Adams’ time in New Orleans was short-lived when it became clear that he wasn’t a good match next to Zion Williamson.
With that stated, I believe Steven Adams’ skills will be better used in Memphis. Adams is a top offensive rebounder in the league, and he doesn’t have to worry about cluttering the paint since JJR spends most of his time outside of it. In a Pelicans jersey, he had a statistical decline, but in his finest seasons with OKC, he averaged about 13.9 PPG and 9.5 RPG. I envision Adams returning to the double-double machine in Memphis.
Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Jarrett Culver, Yves Pons, Brandon Clarke, Daniel Oturu, Xavier Tillman, Killian Tillie, Santi Adama, Tyus Jones, Carsen Edwards, Shaq Buchanan, De’Anthony Melton, John Konchar, Kris Dunn, Sam Merrill, Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Jarrett Culver, Yves Pons,
The Memphis Grizzlies made some unusual moves by adding a slew of point guards to a squad headed by a point guard who would play the bulk of the minutes. I understand having a capable backup or two, but this club suddenly has four point guards on the bench.
Brandon Clarke will be the most crucial player off the bench. Gonzaga’s big man has proved to be an excellent role player who comes in and does whatever is required for this Grizzlies squad.
Aside from that, they selected Ziaire Williams with the 10th overall selection, who should contribute off the bench. Depending on how things go, he may even be able to move up to a starting position.
Finally, Jarrett Culver, who was traded here from a distant relative, the Timberwolves, will get an opportunity to rekindle his NBA career. He showed glimpses of promise in Minnesota, so it’s surprising that they were ready to let him leave so quickly. The Grizzlies just had to give up Patrick Beverley, one of their fifty point guards, in exchange for Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez.
Did the Memphis Grizzlies improve or deteriorate as the season progressed?
The question is still open… Yes, the Grizzlies’ roster has changed a few times, but they are still a youthful squad that will only improve as time goes on. Every player in this starting lineup is under the age of 30, indicating that they will continue to develop their skills. It’s unusual for athletes to deviate so early in their careers… unless you’re Ben Simmons.
The loss of Jonas Valunciunas, who was one of Memphis’ top offensive players last season, was the team’s biggest setback this offseason. Memphis believes that Steven Adams can fill in for Jonas, and that with the return of Jaren Jackson Jr., they won’t need Jonas. They also know that by 2023, a large guy will be looking for some cash.
Memphis is planning for the future, for the long run, for the big picture. Develop Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. and surround them with pieces that suit. They currently have a decent squad that, against the odds, may yet have a shot to make the playoffs.
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