Even though they dropped their last game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Memphis Grizzlies should feel good about their start to the 2022-23 season. They sit at a record of 9-6 and have multiple early standouts.
Among the biggest storylines this season for Memphis is the emergence of Desmond Bane. Unfortunately, his scorching-hot start has been halted due to injury. That being said, his game appears to have taken a massive step forward in year three.
Many expected Bane to be a high-quality role player for the Memphis Grizzlies, but he’s proven to be much more than that. So far this season, he is putting up All-Star-level production next to early MVP candidate Ja Morant. Through his first 12 games, Bane is averaging 24.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 4.8 APG.
Now that everyone has a handful of games under their belt, the people at Bleacher Report listed the biggest surprise for each NBA team. For the Memphis Grizzlies, it is the massive leap Bane has made as an offensive threat.
"His off-the-dribble growth has been so sudden and spectacular, it’s almost kind of jarring. As a rookie in 2020-21, he was assisted on 93.2 percent of his threes and 70.9 percent of his twos. Now, those percentages have tumbled all the way to 67.4 and 43.4, respectively. He’s actually shooting better on pull-up threes (47.3 percent) than on catch-and-shoot triples (43.5)."
The Memphis Grizzlies struck gold with Desmond Bane
As Ja Morant continues to evolve into a superstar, the debate has become about finding him a reliable co-star. See how much Bane has come along, the Memphis Grizzlies might have found the perfect running mate for their All-Star point guard.
For starters, Bane is an ideal complement next to Morant because of his ability to knock down threes at a high rate. His improvement as a ballhandler and shot-creator should also come in handy come playoff time. With opposing defenses zeroing in on Morant, Memphis will someone else who can put the ball on the floor and create offense.
Given the fact that Bane was drafted with the final selection of the first round, he has completely outdone any and all expectations. The 24-year-old has elevated himself from a supporting player to a foundational piece for the franchise.