One of the most exciting players for the Memphis Grizzlies as the 2020-21 season approached was Jaren Jackson Jr., who had torn his meniscus, which finished out his bubble season. But for an injury with a 3-6 month recovery, there was still hope that he could return in the early days of this past season.
That would not be the case.
The Grizzlies’ training staff showed that they were more concerned with Jackson’s health in the long run, as they were in no rush to get him back out onto the court.
What is usually a 3-6 month return window turned into 8 months for the young forward. This was abnormal but there were no indications that anything had gone wrong with his recovery. As exemplified by Justise Winslow a couple of months prior, Memphis simply wanted to use caution.
As a result, Grizzlies fans only watched JJJ play 11 games in the regular season.
Memphis Grizzlies F Jaren Jackson Jr. never got back to his old form in 2021
Unfortunately for Jaren Jackson Jr., he was never given adequate time to settle in. While the Grizzlies’ training staff may have made the right choice for his physical health in the long run, worries have surfaced that his confidence may have taken a hit in a 2021 season where he was never able to get back to his old self.
On the season, he saw his averages drop in quite a few categories, including points, shooting percentages, and fouls per minute. That said, it wasn’t the disappointing season you’d expect. In fact, his numbers actually improved in his steal, turnover, rebound, and free throw shooting numbers on decreased minutes.
The most important part of this is that Jackson did look physically ready to compete. There was no regression in terms of his strength, even though a tough matchup against Rudy Gobert may make fans think otherwise.
Jackson was still a force defensively in his dozen games back from injury, averaging a career-high in blocks and steals in limited playing time.
Despite an excess of… well, stupid fouls, JJJ looked pretty good out on the court. We won’t really know how much he has improved until he’s back in a full role in the 2021-22 season.