Despite being one of the youngest teams in the league, the Grizzlies put it all together last season, posting their best regular season record since 2012-13.  Thanks to Ja Morant’s bounceback season, Jaren Jackson Jr.’s good health (wait for the turn…), and a standout rookie performance from Desmond Bane, we saw the leading edge of what could be a long run of success for Memphis.  Yes, the young stars in Grind City go together like… peanut butter and bananas?

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It’s not a great sign that the most valuable Grizzly on the 2020-21 roster (Jonas Valanciunas, the 31st best player in fantasy on a per-game basis last year) is now playing for another team. The news gets worse when the second-best (Jaren Jackson Jr. at 62) only played eleven games, and worse still when you have to click Next Page to find franchise cornerstone, Ja Morant, at 206 overall. Despite these drawbacks, there is value to be cultivated in Memphis — a team that played at the league’s ninth-fastest pace last year and, after securing two play-in wins, arrived at the 8-seed in the Western Conference well ahead of schedule. Slo-Mo Kyle Anderson turned in sixth-round value for the first time since 17-18, Brandon Clarke proved his rookie year was no fluke by returning value just outside the top-100, and Dillon Brooks took another step forward in his fourth season as a pro. Backup guard and per-36 darling De’Anthony Melton is a trendy breakout pick headed into this year, especially on the heels of Grayson Allen’s departure and the allotment of minutes that have come available. If only that Morant fella were as valuable in our game as he is to the fortunes of basketball in the Home of the Blues. 

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The Memphis Grizzlies are young and on the upswing.  Last year they surprised all when they missed the 8th seed by just one win.  With a complete 15 man roster and an intact, custom-built young core, the Memphis Grizzlies are Grit-N-Grind 2.0 and rearing to go.

The Big 3 of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke bring above-the-rim intensity and classic Memphis two-way play back to the culture of the young Grizzlies.  These young cubs are hungry, motivated, and complement each other.  Rugged, yet up-tempo, I project this team to improve from the 34 wins last year to 40-42 this season. 

Expect increased roles for Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, and the new incoming draftees. With all the young Memphis core under contract, and no significant contributer allowed to walk, and, this team will have continuity going forward.

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The 2019-20 Grizzlies are going to be a lot of fun to watch. Ja Morant is going to be dunking on fools and buzzing screaming lefty passes by defenders’ ears. Jaren Jackson Jr. is going to keep bombing from deep and blocking everything in sight at the rim. Brandon Clarke is the perfect pick and roll lob partner for Morant, as he’ll have plenty of opportunities to sky above ten feet and throw down feathery Morant passes. Kyle Anderson is going to keep cheekily breaking down defenses with his awkward, dawdling euro-step game and random bursts of quickness. The Grizzlies are also going to be bad this season, but that’s okay. A great League Pass team doesn’t always rack up the W’s, take last year’s Sacramento Kings for example. The Kings were a fast-paced ball of fun even though they ultimately wound up missing out on the playoffs—expect the same from this year’s Grizz.

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