The Memphis Grizzlies will be forced into playing “small ball” with the news of JaMychal Green’s impending absence.
With 8:47 to play in Friday’s third quarter, the Hawks’ Alex Poythress collected a steal and ran to the hoop on the fastbreak. The Grizzlies’ JaMychal Green, hustling back to challenge the layup attempt, caught Poythress’ left elbow in the jaw while attempting to block the shot.
While this 2018-19 Grizzlies roster has struggled in the rebounding department, JaMychal Green was the team’s best rebounder last season. He packs the punch in the paint, but has been a nice find for corner jumpers when spacing the floor. Over the next month or so, he will be greatly missed.
This injury does make way for rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. to enter Memphis’ starting lineup, which a large portion of Grizz Nation has been axiously awaiting. Though it is a tad sooner than expected by most, Jackson Jr. is on target for guaranteed success in an expanded role.
Beyond Jaren Jackson Jr., the team does not have much additional depth in the frontcourt. Ivan Rabb remains a raw talent. The Memphis Grizzlies had the goal of limiting Marc Gasol‘s minutes, too, so he does not get worn down over the long 82-game regular season haul.
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Over the next month’s worth of games, the Grizzlies will be forced to depend on small-ball tactics in many situations. This style of play, much like the rest of Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s lineup rotations, is a work in progress. Memphis has been one of the last teams in the NBA to really make this one of their game plans. After all, they pride themselves on going “against the grain.”
Grizz Nation can expect to see a lot more of Omri Casspi, who contributed 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes of action toward the Memphis Grizzlies’ 117-131 home-opening victory over the Atlanta Hawks. You can also expect to see more minutes from Chandler Parsons, likely utilized as a power forward, which was hinted at during training camp. This should increase the usage of newcomer Kyle Anderson, too.
When Coach Bickerstaff mentioned his team having “strength in versatility,” this is full proof. The team has now sustained a fairly significant injury, but they have the means to cope already on their roster. Do not expect them to search the free-agent market for frontcourt assistance.
The Memphis Grizzlies (1-1) will begin their journey with JaMychal Green sidelined on Monday when the team makes a visit to Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz (1-1). This will be a prime test to see how good this team really is, even without the veteran support of Green in the lineup.