Memphis Grizzlies: Why is Justise Winslow getting Tyus Jones’ minutes?

Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
Memphis Grizzlies
Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Memphis Grizzlies have been clicking on all cylinders in the past month. They’re the second-best scoring team in the month of April, only dropping from first place after an uncharacteristically bad offensive showing that saw them score just 96 points.

Other than that performance, the offense has been elite. Ja Morant has been playing with consistency for the first time all season, while Jaren Jackson Jr.’s return has given the Grizz a source of energy.

Beyond the top two players, Jonas Valanciunas has been playing the best basketball of his career, while almost every other player on this team has been stopping into their role and excelling, allowing the Grizzlies to dominate opposing teams’ starters and benches.

The Memphis Grizzlies have had one struggling player in April

Beyond all of the team’s success, there is one single player on the Grizzlies who has not been playing his best basketball. That player is Justise Winslow.

Justise Winslow came to the team off of an injury, missing half of the season. He would return and instantly give this team a boost, despite having little to no efficiency on the offensive end. This is worrisome, especially considering that half of his selling point was his ability to run the point.

Thus far, he hasn’t done that with any success whatsoever.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that he has been terrible when he is the primary ball-handler for the Grizzlies. Thankfully, he has maintained a strong defensive presence, so this isn’t a total loss for the Grizzlies — it’s really a net gain.

That said, head coach Taylor Jenkins has been using Winslow in an extremely puzzling manner, raising questions in the process. The primary question is something along the lines of this:

Why is Justise Winslow stealing minutes from Tyus Jones?

Again, Winslow has been a strong defender, but he has been lackluster at best offensively. So why is Jenkins so determined to play Winslow as the team’s second point guard? There is a distinct drop-off when if he’s on the floor as opposed to Jones getting the PG2 minutes.

Here’s a small comparison between Justise Winslow‘s and Tyus Jones‘ numbers.

Justise Winslow (20.1 MPG):

  • 6.7 PPG
  • 1.9 APG, 1.6 TOV
  • 34.7% FG, 13.3% 3PT FG

Tyus Jones (18.4 MPG):

  • 6.8 PPG
  • 3.9 APG, 0.7 TOV (highest assist-turnover margin in the NBA)
  • 43.8% FG, 31.2% 3PT FG

Looking at those numbers, how do you justify taking minutes away from Jones in favor of Winslow? If the Grizzlies had an inefficient point guard behind Morant, you could understand Jenkins eating up some bad minutes from Winslow to help in the long run, but right now, Winslow’s horrible offense is hurting the team. There’s no way to twist this into a positive.

Next. Where do Ja Morant and JJJ rank among NBA duos?. dark

I do expect Winslow to improve, but I’m hoping Jenkins finds a way to keep Tyus in the game during a crucial stretch for the Memphis Grizzlies.