It is a minor miracle Memphis prevented the bottom two spots in our ranks.
Despite having lottery talent, this group could get uncomfortably close to the luxury tax next year –the last on Chandler Parsons’ onerous deal. What is worse, this particular group has an outgoing first-rounder hanging on 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 redeemed in 2021 in case it has not already conveyed.
Who is to say the Grizzlies will not be dreadful in 2020-21?
But Memphis has at least uncovered a franchise anchor in 19-year-old Jaren Jackson Jr., who is almost solely responsible for this particular ranking. The toughest task in rebuilding is adding stars, however, the Grizzlies already seem to have found one. Jackson’s per-36-minute averages include 19.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.2 triples and 1.2 steals; that’s unprecedented creation for an NBA freshman.
It would help if Jackson had more high-ceiling talent around him, but maybe Memphis could create a route to a this offseason. After shipping out Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies could cut the cord on the grit-and-grind era for great with a trade of Mike Conley, whose name bounced around a lot near the trade deadline.
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