3 things we’ve learned about the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) - Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) - Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy (27) – Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy (27) – Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

2. The front office still believes in its young projects

Adding Derrick Rose is thrilling thanks to his past Memphis connections. He should be capable of holding down the backup point guard spot for the first 25 games.

After that, his role is largely relegated to player-coach…something the Grizzlies vitally need. Count Isaiah Thomas among the believers in Rose’s potential impact on Morant.

Ramona Shelburne believes the Grizzlies’ moves make them the top threat to the Nuggets in the west. And yet, Rose is not solving Memphis’ biggest issue from last postseason: wing depth.

The Grizzlies struggled to scrap together minutes on the wing. Dillon Brooks’ struggles stole headlines, but David Roddy actually shot a lower percentage from the field (27.6 percent).

Ziaire Williams only played in garbage time. Jake LaRavia didn’t play at all.

Marcus Smart will solve most of those problems. He can credibly fit anywhere from one to three. But if the Grizzlies really wanted insurance against their playoff disaster last season, they could have used their mid-level exception of around $12 million to sign an impact player like Taurean Prince or Torrey Craig.

Instead, they signed a 34-year-old guard who played only three minutes in last year’s playoffs. The Grizzlies can’t count on Rose in the playoffs, so why sign someone who’s effectively a locker-room guy in May?

The logical answer is that the Grizzlies still believe in their young guys.

The front office thinks at least one of Roddy, Williams, or LaRavia will pop. Both Williams and Roddy had encouraging moments in their respective rookie years. Roddy scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback win over the Mavericks in March. Williams scored 14 points while playing heavy minutes in a Game 2 victory over the Warriors in the 2022 playoffs.

LaRavia just put up 25 points in a Summer League victory over the Thunder, including going 4-of-9 from deep.

None of these guys is a sure thing, but if any one of them pops this season, the Grizzlies’ rotation is largely solved.

The front office decided to bet on their development rather than picking up a stopgap free agent who would eat up minutes these young projects need to become part of the long-term plan in Memphis.