Memphis Grizzlies rookie already looks like another home run for franchise

Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Memphis Grizzlies rookie Jake LaRavia impressing early in NBA career

The Memphis Grizzlies are off to one of the best starts in the NBA this season, winning seven of their first 10 games despite missing a starter (Jaren Jackson Jr.) and a key rotation player (Ziaire Williams) due to injury.

Much of that success should be attributed to the All-Star-level play from Memphis Grizzlies guards Ja Morant and Desmond Bane, who are averaging a combined 52.9 points per game through the first 10 games of the season.

But, it’s been the team’s role players who have been able to fill in the gaps and keep the offense rolling despite countless early setbacks, like injuries and illnesses. Particularly essential for the team, has been the No. 19 overall pick from the 2022 NBA Draft, Jake LaRavia.

The Indiana native, who just turned 21 at the beginning of November, has been incredibly productive in his first games with the Memphis Grizzlies and has been able to adjust to the speed and flow of the NBA game after spending three years in college (Indiana State and Wake Forest).

It’s been a pleasant surprise seeing Jake LaRavia take a big step forward in his game so early in his rookie season, especially after doubt started to creep in after a lackluster Summer League. With injuries to Ziaire Williams and Jaren Jackson Jr., the Memphis Grizzlies have had plenty of opportunities for the rookies to step up and play meaningful minutes early in the season and LaRavia has absolutely made the most of those chances.

LaRavia leads all qualified NBA rookies in three-point shooting accuracy, coming through at a 55% clip, a full eight percentage points higher than the next-best rookie three-point shooter (Tari Eason, 47%).

The 6’7″ forward also ranks near the top of the rebounding category, pulling down 4.3 rebounds per contest— the sixth best average among rookies. That’s more than big rookie names like Jaden Ivey, Bennedict Mathurin, and Keegan Murray.

But the real takeaway here is that Jake LaRavia is being incredibly efficient when he’s on the court. He’s average just 18.1 minutes per game (11th most among rookies), but has the best three-point shooting percentage and is pulling down the sixth-most rebounds per game among NBA rookies this season.

LaRavia’s excellent play has not gone unnoticed. His 13-point, nine-rebound performance against Sacramento on Oct. 27 was a standout performance that got people around the league talking.

Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has demonstrated his trust in LaRavia by leaving him in with the starters to close out the Nov. 6 game at home against Washington with Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks and Steven Adams. In fact, LaRavia played more fourth-quarter minutes against the Wizards than anyone else on the team, punching in for 9:45 of the 12-minute quarter.

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Jake LaRavia’s quick acsention is already pay big divdens for the Memphis Grizzlies and looks like another big hit on a draft pick for Zach Kleiman and the rest of the team’s front office.