This one glaringly bad flaw will hold the Memphis Grizzlies back

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports) /

For the most part, the Memphis Grizzlies are playing elite-level basketball in the first few games of the 2021-22 NBA season.

We all have been enamored with the dominant play of bonafide superstar Ja Morant against the Cavaliers, Clippers, and Lakers. Although it’s a small sample size (three games), Morant is the top scorer in the NBA right now, averaging 35 points per game.

In fact, the Memphis Grizzlies are off to their first 2-1 start since the 2018-29 season when J.B. Bickerstaff was the head coach with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol’s days on the team waning.

Morant and the starters and playing very well, but is the team relying too heavily on the starters to carry the team night-in and night-out?

The Memphis Grizzlies have one glaringly obvious flaw that will make it hard to compete in the Western Conference if not corrected

The glare I’m talking about is the poor play from the bench. For the past few seasons, the Grizzlies have prided themselves on stellar bench play. Our depth has allowed us to play all the way down to the eleventh or twelfth man on the bench.

Some of this falls on Head Coach Taylor Jenkins and his affinity for trying never-before-used lineup combinations and lineups that just leave you wondering if the coach is relying too heavily on analytics.

At one point against the Lakers, he rolled with a lineup of Tyus Jones, Ziaire Williams, Xavier Tillman, Steven Adams, and De’Anthony Melton — not exactly shoot-first guys. Additionally, we didn’t see Tillman at all until game three of the season.

But, not everything falls on the coach. At some point, players have to produce regardless of circumstance.

Veteran Kyle Anderson, who should be the de facto leader of the bench, has struggled greatly this season. Just take a look at his +/- so far this season: he was -10 in the opener, a -6 against the Clippers, and -15 vs the Lakers.

It’s starting to become apparent that the Memphis Grizzlies’ bench will be the team’s Achilles heel this season. Perhaps when Dillon Brooks returns, players can go back to their more natural roles and settle in.

If anything, this will probably give fans a greater appreciation for Brooks (even if he shoots the ball 25 times per game) during his absence. He’s a great scoring option when some of the secondary and tertiary units hit the court.

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Until then, the Grizzlies need someone — anyone — from the bench to step up and be the spark that this team will desperately need as the season progresses.