Only one thing can keep Grizzlies Jackson Jr from winning DPOY

Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite missing the first few weeks of the Grizzlies season, Jaren Jackson Jr is the betting favorite to be DPOY. Here is why the only thing that could prevent him from winning is himself.

Jaren Jackson Jr may have had a late start to his season, but the Grizzlies’ star big man has wasted no time returning to form. He has been the most impactful interior defender in the NBA by several metrics in the 25 games he has played. He is deserving of all the praise he is receiving, as he is now the betting favorite for DPOY on many betting platforms.

To be the front-runner despite his lack of games played is truly remarkable, but it is also a reminder of why his ascension to stardom has taken this long. There is a reason he has only played 25 games so far this season, after all. Here is why the only thing that can stop his DPOY campaign is his own body.

Grizzlies hope Jackson Jr can leave injuries in the past

To put it bluntly, Jackson Jr has had trouble staying on the court. Injuries have caused him to miss over 100 games during his first four seasons, and he missed the first 16 games of this season as well. A litany of lower body injuries has plagued him during his short career, and this season started off no different. His off-season foot surgery kept him out until the middle of November. Luckily, he hasn’t missed any extended time since returning, but the injury concerns will always be in the back of everyone’s minds.

I do expect that Jackson Jr will ultimately win the award. He looks stronger and more fluid than ever this season, and the hope is that it translates to better health moving forward. His energy and presence on defense are making the Grizzlies one of the best defensive teams in the league. He has been dominant as a shot blocker, averaging 3.2 blocks in just 26.3 minutes a night. Everything is going his way right now on the court. Now he just needs his body to hold up under more pressure than ever.