It is a minor miracle Memphis avoided the bottom two spots in our ranks.
Despite having lottery ability, this team could get uncomfortably near the luxury tax next season–the past on Chandler Parsons’ onerous deal. What is worse, this particular group has an outgoing first-rounder hanging over its head. While the selection owed to the Boston Celtics has top-eight protection this year and top-six policy the next, it is going to be unprotected in 2021 if it hasn’t already conveyed.
Who is to say the Grizzlies will not be terrible in 2020-21?
However, Memphis has uncovered a franchise anchor in 19-year-old Jaren Jackson Jr., who’s almost solely responsible for this ranking. The toughest task in rebuilding is adding celebrities, however, the Grizzlies currently appear to have found one. Jackson’s per-36-minute averages include 19.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 cubes, 1.2 triples and 1.2 steals; that’s unprecedented production for an NBA freshman.
It might help if Jackson had more high-ceiling talent around him, but maybe Memphis could create a route to some this offseason. After sending out Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies could cut the cord on the grit-and-grind era for good with a trade of Mike Conley, whose title bounced around plenty near the trade deadline.
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