Memphis Grizzlies: This player will make a run at the 2021-22 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
Memphis Grizzlies
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies (Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports) /

Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins appears to have decided to slide veteran Kyle Anderson to the bench as the de-facto sixth man for the team this season.

Now that Jaren Jackson, Jr. is healthy and Steven Adams has joined the team, Anderson more naturally fits in coming off the bench. He would be a great anchor and bench leader for a very young second unit that will likely involve guys like Ziaire Williams, Xavier Tillman, Sr., and Santi Aldama.

If Anderson plays his cards right and builds on the career year he had last season, he could start to raise some eyebrows and garner attention for a league-wide award.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson has a chance to compete for the 2021-22 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award

It’s a small sample size, but in three games of pre-season action, Anderson put up starter-level statistics. He’s averaged 8.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game in preseason so far.

If the team can keep Anderson fresh by having him come off the bench, he could be even more productive with fewer minutes.

In the 2020-21 regular season, Anderson was averaging 27.4 minutes per game. In the 2021-22 preseason, Ander is playing around 24 minutes per game.

As former Grizzlies executive and current writer for The Athletic John Hollinger recently said, the team is looking to complement it’s roster with guys like Anderson.

"Memphis is desperate to find bigger wings to complement its profusion of quality guards. Anderson is the only current player who checks that box, and he’s a free agent after the season. They tried and failed with Winslow and will now turn their attention to Williams – perhaps a reach at No. 10 after an underwhelming year at Stanford – and a reclamation project in former lottery pick Culver."

Anderson is incredibly effective when he’s on the floor. It’s extremely likely that he’s going to elevate one of the NBA’s best benches. Compound the fact that Anderson will be a free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season, he’s got a lot of extra reasons to ball out.

Next. Why the Grizzlies need to retire Pau Gasol's jersey. dark

Kyle Anderson’s success will directly help the Memphis Grizzlies and could turn into an award-winning and lucrative offseason for himself.