MikeCheck: Former lottery pick Jackson earns Grizzlies ‘call-up’ amid injuries to Allen, Crowder
With the Grizzlies coping with injuries on the wing, former lottery pick Josh Jackson has moved a significant step closer to restoring his career on an NBA roster.
Jackson was called up from the G League’s Memphis Hustle and will join the Grizzlies for Tuesday’s home game against the Denver Nuggets, team officials confirmed Monday. The versatile small forward has appeared in 26 games for the Hustle this season and has averaged 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals.
Originally drafted No. 4 overall by Phoenix in 2017, the 6-8 Jackson was acquired by the Grizzlies in a trade last summer that sent Jevon Carter and Kyle Korver to the Suns. Memphis also landed reserve guard De’Anthony Melton and two second-round picks in the deal. But Jackson was immediately diverted to the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate as part of an arrangement between the Memphis front office and Jackson’s representatives to help the 22-year-old regroup from some off-the-court issues and to restore his professional reputation from his time in Phoenix.
FRISCO, TX - NOVEMBER 9, 2019: Memphis Hustle forward Josh Jackson #20 talks to Hustle head coach Jason March during the game against the Texas Legends at Comerica Center. Photo by Timothy Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images.
Jackson’s role with the Grizzlies moving forward will be determined by coach Taylor Jenkins, but he arrives as the team is dealing with some injuries on the perimeter. Moments before announcing Jackson’s call up, the Grizzlies released a statement Monday revealing that guard Grayson Allen will be sidelined indefinitely with a hip injury suffered in Friday’s win at Detroit.
In addition to Allen sitting out, the Grizzlies were without starting small forward Jae Crowder in Sunday’s win against Phoenix. Crowder is also dealing with a hip injury, but it is unclear how long the eight-year veteran might be out of the lineup. The Grizzlies did not practice Monday, so Jackson’s first public appearance could come during Tuesday morning’s team shootaround.
If Jackson plays Tuesday, it would mark his first action in an NBA game since the 2018-19 season, when he played 79 games and averaged 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.2 minutes a game for the Suns. According to team executives, Jackson has “done all that’s been asked of him” to earn a potential opportunity with the Grizzlies roster at this time.
The move comes a week ahead of the NBA’s Feb. 6 trade deadline, and the Grizzlies could be active in the coming days. Jackson, who is in the final season of his contract, is one of as many as eight Grizzlies players on expiring deals who could become free agents this summer. That group also includes veteran forward Andre Iguodala, who has been away from the team this season as the Grizzlies and Iguodala’s agent pursue trade deals.
Jackson potentially adds another dose of youth, athleticism and depth to a team in the midst of its most productive stretch of the season. The Grizzlies (22-24) have won nine of their last 11 games to move into the eighth spot in the West standings, which would position them for the conference’s final playoff seed. Memphis has gelled with one of the league’s youngest rosters, anchored by two-time Western Conference rookie of the month Ja Morant, second-year forward Jaren Jackson Jr., rookie forward Brandon Clark and third-year guard Dillon Brooks.
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