The one Grizzlies player who could make possible title run ‘look a lot clearer’

Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, Steven Adams of the Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, Steven Adams of the Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

After several years of being on the outside looking in, the Memphis Grizzlies are hoping to officially enter the legitimate title contender conversation during the 2022-23 season, and some analysts strongly believe they possess the capability of taking part in such a successful run.

That said, before they can even focus their attention on late-April action, they’ll need to find a way to put together a quality regular season, which will likely prove to be somewhat challenging considering they’ll be without superstar Ja Morant for the first 25 games of the year due to a league-issued suspension.

While their 31-15 record sans their cornerstone over the last two seasons suggests the Grizzlies know how to act accordingly in such scenarios, thus perhaps giving the indication that they could easily overcome such a predicament, last season they went just 11-10 in said situations, which suggests that they also have the capability of only slightly staying afloat.

In order for Taylor Jenkins and company to weather the impending storm that is a Morant-less rotation over the first two months of the year, they’ll need all hands on deck to pick up the slack, and arguably the most important contributor that will be looked toward to help make up for his absence will be Desmond Bane.

According to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey, the level at which the 25-year-old winds up playing might simultaneously even help aid in the club’s quest for their first-ever championship banner.

Desmond Bane could make title odds ‘look a lot clearer’ for Memphis Grizzlies

"“If he becomes a bona fide star in Morant’s absence, and some numbers from last season suggest he can, the Grizzlies’ shot at a title will suddenly look a lot clearer,” Bailey wrote.“In 2022-23, when Morant was off the floor, Bane averaged 25.5 points and 5.7 assists per 75 possessions, with a 41.8 three-point percentage and a 61.8 true shooting percentage.Even in today’s era of inflated offensive numbers, that’s All-Star quality production.”"

During his third season in the association, Bane went on to post career-best numbers virtually all across the board despite suffering from a nagging toe injury throughout the majority of the season that ultimately required surgery this summer.

Despite the ailment, the guard finished 2022-23 off with tremendous averages of 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.0 steals while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from deep.

As a result of his efforts, this past July Bane and the Grizzlies agreed on a new five-year, $207 million contract extension that will keep him with the franchise through at least the 2028-29 season.

Considering the type of production he managed to showcase whilst serving as the second option on offense behind Morant, with the star slated to miss a large chunk of the upcoming season the two guard will undoubtedly be stepping into the biggest role of his already impressive NBA career.

Based on his track record, Bane has the potential to have himself a true breakout year whilst starting out as the go-to option for Memphis and, according to Bailey, this opportunity to start the year could see things flow right along into an overall All-Star-worthy campaign and, ultimately, him morphing into an x-factor for the team’s bid for a title.