Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview: Can Ja Morant And A Young Core Build On Last Season’s Momentum?

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  • CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 07: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on during the ... [+] second period of their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on October 07, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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    The Memphis Grizzlies are ready to build upon an overachieving season in which they defeated the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed. Earning valuable playoff experience in the second year of their rebuild is a best-case scenario experience for Memphis.

    With Ja Morant as the face of their franchise, the Grizzlies are ready to take another step forward. Dillon Brooks thrived as a secondary option alongside Morant last season while Jaren Jackson Jr. is now fully healthy from a knee injury suffered over a year ago. Add in other intriguing young pieces, and Memphis could truly be a sleeper team to monitor in the Western Conference.

    After a first-round playoff exit, will Memphis progress or regress in 2021-22? It’s a much-needed evaluation period upcoming to see just how legit this Grizzlies team could be moving forward.

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    What’s New

    Memphis has valued continuity with all of their key core pieces returning. Out the door is Grayson Allen and Jonas Valanciunas, two starters who played pivotal roles last season. Replacing Allen and Valanciunas are De’Anthony Melton, who thrived for Memphis off the bench, plus Steven Adams as the new bruising center. No. 10 overall pick Ziaire Williams is a huge home-run swing by the Grizzlies’ front office, but it could pay off big-time with his immense two-way upside. Williams could be the Grizzlies’ wing of the future, especially with Brooks being floated in trade rumors recently. Although there’s not many changes in Memphis, they’re a team that has a high floor and ceiling for the upcoming season.

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    What’s Coming

    Memphis is poised to build upon a solid season by taking another step forward in the Western Conference. Morant, Jackson, Brooks, Melton and other young pieces have a solid foundation in place for Memphis. How will Adams fare in place of Jonas Valanciunas? That’s a big question, but the pieces are in place for Memphis to continue battling for a playoff spot throughout the 2021-22 campaign. If everything clicks together for the Grizzlies, they should be in place to be a top-eight seed that fights within the play-in tournament. Memphis is honestly one of the most intriguing teams to monitor throughout the upcoming season.

    Team MVP: Ja Morant. Through two seasons in the NBA, Morant has looked the part of a franchise-changing player for the Grizzlies. Morant has exceeded expectations, and now many are expecting a star jump in Year 3 for the Murray State product. Morant’s explosive scoring nature with his natural playmaking ability is a beautiful brand of basketball to watch. Honestly, Morant should be in line to average over 20 points per game while flirting with leading the NBA in assists. It’s time for Morant to take the next step, which would put the Grizzlies in an advantageous position for the 2021-22 campaign.

    Best Value: De’Anthony Melton. Although Melton is one of the Grizzlies’ most expensive players, he still feels underpaid for the role he plays. Melton is the perfect backup point guard who can play alongside Morant, or even run the second unit to perfection. Melton signed a four-year, $34.6 million extension this past offseason as he’s blossomed into a pivotal piece to the Grizzlies’ puzzle. Melton’s improved perimeter shooting to go alongside his brilliant defensive ability makes him a coveted asset for Memphis.

    X-Factor: Jaren Jackson Jr. Will Jackson bounce back to being the No. 2 option behind Morant in Memphis? As Jackson rehabbed back from a knee injury suffered during the Orlando Bubble, Dillon Brooks thrived within a secondary role alongside Morant in the Grizzlies’ backcourt. Putting JJJ back into the equation is a huge X-Factor for the Grizzlies’ long-term outlook. Jackson is a great piece for the Grizzlies, and him bouncing back to form would be a huge boom for a potential rise in the loaded Western Conference.

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    Best Bet

    Jaren Jackson Jr., Most Improved Player, +1500 odds at DraftKings

    A knee injury halted some early career momentum for Jackson. However, he has all the ingredients needed to make a run for Most Improved Player. At +1500 odds on DraftKings, Jackson holds solid value near the top. If the Grizzlies continue their ascent, Jackson will have played a massive role in them accomplishing that. As a modern-day stretch four with rim-protection capabilities, keep an eye on JJJ making a MIP run.

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Memphis builds upon last season’s momentum, climbing even higher into the Western Conference’s standings. If all clicks together for the Grizzlies, a top-six seed could be in store.

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    Worst-Case Scenario

    Memphis regresses from their No. 8 seed last season, falling back into the lottery well. That would be a massive disappointment to halt last season’s momentum.

    Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/evansidery/2021/10/13/memphis-grizzlies-season-preview-ja-morant/

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    Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview: Can Ja Morant And A Young Core Build On Last Season’s Momentum?

    Source:Forbes

    Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview: Can Ja Morant And A Young Core Build On Last Season’s Momentum?

    NBA Best-Case Season Preview 2021-22: The Optimistic Outlook For All 30 Teams

    Source:Forbes

    NBA Best-Case Season Preview 2021-22: The Optimistic Outlook For All 30 Teams