Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr. is finally turning into a leader

Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies made history on Thursday night. A Grizz team without their star point guard in Ja Morant took down the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedEx Forum by a 73-point margin. That’s the largest scoring margin in NBA history and an all-time scoring record for the Grizzlies.

It was the best start-to-finish Grizz basketball game ever played.

The strange part, however, was the fact that the team didn’t really have a single explosive scorer on the night. 12 players played for Memphis and nine of them scored at least ten points. The scoring was evenly spread though, as only four players scored over 11 points.

The Memphis Grizzlies’  second star in Jaren Jackson Jr. started the blowout

Because of the widespread scoring on Thursday night, it’s hard to give any single player credit for this blowout win. That said, if you’re looking for the guy who got the Grizzlies off on the right foot, it’s simple.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

The Grizzlies’ star forward and former fourth-overall pick has had ups and downs in his career. That said, in Ja Morant’s absence, he has stepped up in exactly the way that you’d want a co-star to fill in. Against the Thunder, JJJ scored 27 points in just 20 minutes. He only missed two shots on the night, shooting 9-11.

The best part was his three-point shooting, which has consistently been the best part of his game. The Grizz forward knocked down six of his seven long-range attempts, helping Memphis get off to its hottest start… well, ever.

While a couple of bench players in Santi Aldama and De’Anthony Melton led the team in total +/-, JJJ led starters with a +42 even though he was benched early in the game after things got out of hand.

For a Grizz fanbase that has been extremely skeptical of Jaren Jackson Jr.’s recent contract extension, this game should help fans sleep at night. JJJ’s ceiling was on display again — even though he may not be extremely consistent right now, it’s clear that he’s capable of playing at an extremely high level.

In the absence of Morant, Jackson has scored at least 17 points in all three contests. In the last two, he has put up 25 and 27. In that same stretch of time, the Grizz forward has knocked down 61% of his three-point shots on a high volume.

Next. How Grizz pulled off a 73-point scoring margin. dark

If Jackson can continue to dominate, the Grizzlies could be a force to be reckoned with upon Ja Morant’s return.