Memphis Grizzlies: Could Jaren Jackson Jr.’s return have negative implications?

Memphis Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

The return of Memphis Grizzlies F Jaren Jackson Jr. has been a huge topic over the course of the entire season. An injury that normally has a 3-6 month recovery time frame has extended itself to over 8 months.

It has been a stressful time for Grizzlies fans, but there have been some unexpected positive takeaways about this team amongst the madness.

For starters, this Grizzlies team has had a much better season than most experts projected them to. After a 34-39 season last year, expectations were low, especially with their second-best player sidelined for at least the start of the season.

The Memphis Grizzlies have seen unprecedented success in 2021

Maybe the Grizzlies saw more success because of low expectations. Maybe the team improved as a whole over the course of the off-season. Regardless, this Grizzlies team has hovered around .500 for the entirety of the 2020-21 season thus far.

That may not sound like much, but in a season where any of the top ten seeds in each conference have a chance at the playoffs, this is huge for Memphis. In fact, if Jackson Jr. can return to his peak level of play before the playoffs, the Grizzlies should have a gigantic advantage over opposing teams.

But that’s the primary worry — the “what if.” Up until this point, everybody has assumed that Jackson Jr. will immediately benefit this team upon his late April return. But what if that isn’t the case?

There are plenty of examples of players returning from injury who don’t get comfortable in their old system for weeks, or even months in some cases. Due to an elongated recovery, you have to assume that he’ll be physically capable, but will team chemistry take a hit?

There’s no easy way to answer this question at the present moment. There is something to be said about the chemistry that this team has developed without their second option but it would be a stretch to say that he’ll negatively impact this team.

That said, the Grizzlies will only have around 10 games to get Jackson Jr. into playoff shape and re-develop their offense with him included. Again, this isn’t the end-all-be-all situation, but it’s worth considering upon his return.

Keep your hopes neutral, as we don’t know how his return is going to impact this team in the NBA Playoff race.