The Memphis Grizzlies took a huge step forward this past season. Their youthful and talented roster has impressively flipped the switch to a win-now contender. Memphis finished last season with a record of 56-26, which was the second best record in the NBA. Ja Morant’s injury resulted in the Grizzlies being sent home to eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals.
The Grizzlies got off to a solid start to the offseason by resigning Tyus Jones to a 2-year, $30 million contract. The veteran guard has proven to be one of the best backup point guards in the NBA and deserves a lot of credit for the Grizzlies’ impressive record without Ja Morant. It’s also important to note that they lost Kyle Anderson by freehand. The UCLA product chose to bring his talents to Minnesota to play with the Timberwolves.
The offseason is far from over and the Grizzlies still have work to do to take the next step. While most improvements will come from advancing their youthful roster, additions can still be made.
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3 moves left for Grizzlies to make after the first weekend of NBA Free Agency 2022
Grizzlies got: John Collins and Jarrett Culver
Getting Hawks: Dillon Brooks
One of the most traded players was John Collins. Although seemingly certain to be dealt on draft night, Collins remains a member of the Hawks. The 24-year-old has displayed impressive strobes and would be a positive addition as a lob threat on the Grizzlies offense. Collins had his best season in the 2019-20 season, during which he averaged 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 40.1% on three-point attempts. The Wake Forest product has seen a drop in production over the past two seasons. Giving him a fresh start in Memphis could end up being the best thing for his career.
While Dillon Brooks has played a key role on the Grizzlies offense, his performance in last year’s playoffs was of great concern. The Oregon product shot just 34.9% from the field and 34.7% from beyond the three-point arc in the postseason. Brooks didn’t hesitate to let it fly, but severely injured Memphis. In Game 5 of the opening round, Brooks shot just 3 for 18 from the field and 1 for 10 on three point attempts. He also made headlines for his suspension following the flagrant double foul of Gary Payton II.
While Brooks has shown some positive flashes during his time with the team, he is also entering the final year of his contract. Unless the organization is confident in his long-term future with the Grizzlies, it would make sense to flip him now. Memphis is fairly replete with shooting guards and wings that could fill Brooks’ minutes. Ziaire Williams impressed greatly in his rookie season. Desmond Bane was second in the NBA in three-point percentage last season with 44.4%. They also dumped two first-round picks on David Roddy and Jake LaRavia this year. Adding John Collins to offense and relying on those rotation figures could prove beneficial for the Grizzlies.
Sign Kessler Edwards
An interesting player still in the free agent market is Kessler Edwards. The Brooklyn Nets made the surprising decision to withdraw their qualifying bid for Edwards, making him an unrestricted free agent. Edwards showed some really positive flashes in his only season in the NBA. The 21-year-old averaged 20.6 minutes per game for Brooklyn and did a little bit of everything. The Pepperdine product is a reversible defender that stands 6ft 8″ tall with a wingspan of 6ft 11″.
The player is unlikely to demand a large paycheck as a sophomore and would be an able contributor. Edwards fits the mold of players the Grizzlies should target and could fit on any NBA team. Memphis has yet to round out its list, and taking on this type of low-risk, high-reward signing would prove beneficial. While he’s probably not the difference in a championship fight, Edwards could become a key element of the Grizzlies’ long-term core.
Keep Danny Green
The Grizzlies made headlines on Draft Day by trading De’Anthony Melton to get back into the first round and select David Roddy. The Sixers traded the 23rd pick and Danny Green. While it was thought Green could easily be cut, Memphis should think twice about doing so.
The 35-year-old tore his ACL and LCL in last season’s playoffs and will be out of action for most of the season. Green is hoping for a return after the All-Star break. While this is an ambitious schedule for the veteran, it’s clear he wants to get back on the floor. His style of play doesn’t rely on athleticism, and Green can extend his career for as long as he chooses. His ground clearance and high basketball IQ fit into any NBA roster.
It exceeds its capabilities on the court for what should be most appealing to the Grizzlies. With this young team focused on competition, it needs a veteran presence. Few players know how to win like Danny Green does. The three championship rings are proof of that and should be reason enough to keep it. It’s difficult to rate that kind of leadership, but Ja Morant and the rest of the Grizzlies could benefit greatly from having him around.