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New-Look Grizzlies Are A Change Up From The Grit And Grind Era
Twenty-nine different opposing NBA teams will walk through the doors of Target Center to play the Wolves this season, and we want you to know as much as you can about all of them. What’s the order of the teams we’re previewing? It’s actually completely random! Now, a team that has a new identity post Grit & Grind.
Notable Players Acquired: Grayson Allen (trade), Brandon Clarke (draft), Jae Crowder (trade), Solomon Hill (trade), Andre Iguodala (trade), Josh Jackson (trade), Tyus Jones (free agency), De’Anthony Melton (trade), Ja Morant (draft), Miles Plumlee (trade)
Notable Players Lost: Mike Conley (trade), Chandler Parsons (trade), Joakim Noah (free agency), Justin Holiday (free agency), Jevon Carter (trade), Delon Wright (trade)
What Went Down In 2018-19?
It was the beginning of the end of the Grit & Grind era in Memphis.
The Grizzlies traded Marc Gasol to the Raptors, which was a sign of the direction the franchise was looking to go. It was good to see Gasol get his, too, helping the Raptors to an NBA championship after seven empty playoff appearances with Memphis.
That’s why this summer’s Mike Conley trade didn’t come as much of a surprise.
Although when I saw him in Las Vegas at Summer League wearing Jazz apparel I didn’t want to accept it.
The glory days with Gasol and Conley as the centerpieces of this team are long gone, although, it was a hell of a run.
Memphis won 33 games, which was probably more than you’d think considering besides Gasol and Conley, there were a lot of unproven players on this roster. The brightest among that group was 2018 No. 4 pick Jaren Jackson Jr. The former Michigan State star averaged 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from the 3-point line.
There’s so much talk about Luka Doncic and Trae Young, but don’t sleep on Jackson to end up being the best player in the 2018-19 draft class. Maybe not probable, but certainly possible considering his skillset as a guy who can defend at a high level and play inside out offensively.
The Offseason Was . . .
There were about a million trades, with Conley leading the way.
The Grizzlies are taking a chance on 2017 No. 4 pick Josh Jackson, whom they acquired via Phoenix, which is exactly the type of risk a team like the Grizzlies can afford to take. If he stinks, so what? If he shows flashes showing why he was the No. 4 pick, winner, winner, chicken dinner! The team also acquired Andre Iguodala as a veteran leader. While Iguodala might not love that role late in his career after five-straight championship runs with the Warriors, it’s something he’ll thrive at if he gives it a chance.
There’s a chance the Memphis won the draft as well, coming away with both Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke, who won Summer League MVP, in the first round.
There’s plenty of appeal with this young team in Memphis.
The team also named Taylor Jenkins as its head coach. Jenkins spent the last two seasons with the Bucks under Mike Budenholzer. Prior to that, he was with Budenholzer and the Hawks for five seasons.
The Big Question:
Now that we know that Jackson at the very least will be a positive contributor in the NBA, we move to Morant. Will he survive at the next level? How will his shooting translate? How much bigger does he need to get?
It is fitting that after a decade of Conley and Gasol, the next two in line to be the faces of the franchise are a point guard and a big. If they can even get close to the production that Conley and Gasol gave the Grizzlies, Memphis fans will be thrilled.
This Writer’s Prediction
No playoffs for the Grizzlies, and probably somewhere between 25-30 wins, but the fans will have something to be excited about with its two young players.
Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less
Here we are again in Memphis: Two young players hoping to lead the way.