Grizzlies tandem deemed one of ‘weirdest’ in the NBA

Ja Morant and Derrick Rose, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant and Derrick Rose, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

This offseason, the Memphis Grizzlies opted to make a few significant shakeups to their talent pool, particularly when it comes to their backcourt depth as they added veterans Marcus Smart and Derrick Rose to better fill out the guard position.

While the former’s addition has certainly been the most buzzed-about of the bunch from this summer, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes deemed in a July 10 piece that the latter partnering with superstar guard Ja Morant should be considered one of the “weirdest” pairings in the entire league…in a good way.

"“Fifteen years into his NBA career, Rose can impart wisdom on what it’s like to be an MVP, what it’s like to nearly slide all the way out of the league and everything in between. He’s here to give Morant guidance in the wake of the young guard’s multiple off-court missteps.Rose is also one of the only people on the planet who’ll be able to relate when Morant wants to discuss what the tops of backboards look like from above, or how it’s weird that the other nine players on the floor sometimes move in slow motion. Superhuman athletes need sounding boards, too, and Rose can be that for Morant.Perhaps the strangest part of this union is that it disproves a theory that seemed certain during Rose’s prime. Nobody thought we’d ever see a point guard as unfathomably explosive and preposterously athletic as Rose. Now, he’s sharing a locker room with one,” Hughes wrote."

Since entering as the second overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, Ja Morant has often been found compared to an in-his-prime Derrick Rose due to their unmatched explosiveness, incredible speed, and out-of-the-gym bouncing abilities.

However, on top of these on-court similarities are both of their unfortunate run-ins with off-court issues, which, at least for Rose, is something he has seemingly managed to overcome.

The hope now is that the 34-year-old weathered veteran can serve as an established mentor for the promising yet polarizing young stud, who will be starting his year five campaign in 2023-24 25 games late due to a league enacted suspension.

Though he’s already proven himself to be one of the top players in the NBA today and is coming off a stellar 2022-23 campaign where he posted averages of 26.2 points, 8.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals, some such as former All-NBA guard Isaiah Thomas believe that Ja Morant will go on to have his “best season yet” during this coming campaign and will soundly be thrust into the MVP conversation.

His reasoning: “That D rose presence.”