Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Grizzlies: What’s New, Season Prediction & 2024 Free Agents

The Memphis Grizzlies have had two consecutive 50-win seasons, but their playoff runs have ended in disappointment, with early exits in the first round. The team’s aspirations for the 2023-24 season took a hit when superstar guard Ja Morant received a 25-game suspension announced by Commissioner Adam Silver in June. This forced the club to search for replacements in the backcourt and experienced veterans who can provide leadership in the locker room.

In the offseason, Memphis made some significant moves. They let go of defensive stopper Dillon Brooks in free agency, but they acquired 2021-22 Kia Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart in a trade, losing Tyus Jones in the process. The team also added veteran presence by signing former Kia MVP Derrick Rose.

What’s New

Smart’s arrival brings insurance for the Grizzlies during Morant’s suspension. Not only that, but Smart also adds a mentor figure to the backcourt, which already includes Desmond Bane and Rose. This trio will provide an edge to the Grizzlies’ game.

Unfortunately, the team will be without center Steven Adams for the entire season due to knee instability issues. Adams’ absence will be felt, as he is known for his rugged style of play. However, the Grizzlies have prepared for this by locking up Bane with a five-year extension worth $207 million, the richest deal in team history. This signing sends a positive message to the rest of the young squad, highlighting the team’s commitment to steady growth.

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How Far Can the Grizzlies Go?

The Grizzlies have made it past the first round of the playoffs only twice since the 2014-15 season. Coach Jenkins acknowledges the team’s accomplishments under his watch but believes they need to do better. The goal is to become a perennial contender, but Morant’s suspension poses a challenge. However, with Morant’s return and a more mature and experienced team, the Grizzlies have their sights set on at least reaching the Western Conference Semifinals.

One Player That Must Take a Leap

Jaren Jackson Jr. is a player to watch this season. Although Morant is also crucial for the team’s success, Jackson’s participation in the FIBA World Cup with Team USA highlighted his potential. Despite some struggles during the tournament, the experience will only benefit the rising sixth-year veteran. Jackson is a dominant rim protector and has proven to be a reliable 3-point shooter. To elevate his game, he needs to curb unnecessary fouls and continue to develop as a scoring option inside the paint.

In-Season Tournament

The Memphis Grizzlies are part of West Group A in the In-Season Tournament. For those unfamiliar, here’s a refresher on how the tournament works.

Upcoming Free Agents

The Grizzlies have six players who will become free agents in 2024. These players include Jacob Gilyard, G.G. Jackson, Shaquille Harrison, Xavier Tillman, Zhaire Smith, and Vince Williams Jr. Additionally, there’s an opportunity for Luke Kennard, who has a team option for the 2024-25 season. Kennard showcased his abilities last season, shooting 54% from 3-point range and contributing in Morant’s absence. With injuries to key frontcourt players, Tillman is expected to take on a more significant role. He has been working on improving his outside shot during the offseason.

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For the full roster, click here.


Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can contact him via email and find his archive here. Follow him on Twitter for more insights. Please note that the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs, or Warner Bros. Discovery.