The Memphis Grizzlies were active during the trade deadline, and in the span of just a couple of hours, turned themselves into one of the most exciting teams in the league.
The Memphis Grizzlies made a big move near the trade deadline to trade away a big name player who was once considered a championship piece, and in return brought in a couple of interesting pieces with the aim of retooling a roster still that was still missing a piece or two.
That was the basic story behind last year’s trade deadline, when the Grizzlies traded big-man Marc Gasol for CJ Miles, Delon Wright, and Jonas Valanciunas, along with a 2024 pick.
This year, Memphis fans must have felt a form of deja vu, as the Grizzlies once again traded away a big name player from their team, albeit this time that player wasn’t playing.
Now, the Grizzlies have gotten rid of that player, and in return got a nice package of James Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Dion Waiters, who they eventually waived. Then, Memphis turned James Johnson into Minnesota Timberwolves’ Gorgui Dieng, a trade that at this point seems to be best for both teams.
Once healthy, this Grizzlies squad is going to look incredibly dangerous, and could have the potential to be a perennial playoff team in the Western Conference.
At their peak, the Memphis starting lineup seems to be as follows:
PG- Ja Morant
SG- Dillon Brooks
SF- Justise Winslow
PF- Jaren Jackson Jr
C- Jonas Valanciunas.
That’s a pretty solid lineup for a young team, and Zach Kleiman made the necessary trades to bolster that second-string rotation behind them.
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The introduction of Winslow into this lineup is an interesting one. A player who’s struggled with injuries through most of this season, Winslow has shown himself to be a reliable catch and shoot 3 player, shooting 41.2 percent in the category last season. This could make him a valuable part of a young Grizzlies core, either as an outlet during a fastbreak, or as a third option during a Morant/Valanciunas pick-and-roll. Winslow also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game during that season, making him a key aspect in starting a fast break.
Memphis also went a ways toward increasing their depth, both in the four and five roll and in the second-string unit coming off the bench.
With the additions of Jordan Bell and Gorgui Dieng, the Grizzlies have taken the pressure off of Brandon Clarke, and are going to stretch the floor more, which will aid to Tyus Jones‘ game and allow him to play as a more “pure point guard”, creating more ball movement and a tougher offense.
The Grizzlies moves last week were calculated. The idea was to get rid of anybody that was slowing them down, and move forward into a new, young, and fast system. Truly, they’re going to be exciting to watch over their remaining 30 games.