With superstar guard Ja Morant slated to be sidelined for the first 25 games of the regular season as a result of his league-issued suspension, the Memphis Grizzlies will likely be relying on a “next man up” mentality to make up for this grueling absence.
While the club already has a second All-Star in Jaren Jackson Jr. that they will certainly be leaning on in a heavier capacity than in recent years as a result of said suspension, many are of the belief that third-year guard Desmond Bane will likely be thrust into the role of top-dog in coach Taylor Jenkins’ pecking order during the first third of the season.
With this particular moniker, not only will the 25-year-old be relied upon to serve as a go-to option on offense, but also as a leader for the team both on and off the floor.
Already, it appears Bane is taking this job head on, and, during a segment of “Beyond Grit: Back To The Grind,” which is a filmed inside look at training camp for the Grizzlies, the two-guard was seen stressing one particular mantra when it comes to having the team reach their ultimate goals.
His one-word message: Ownership.
Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane stresses ‘ownership’ heading into 2023-24
"“We’ve all been through it now. We’ve been in the playoffs three times together and we know we need to give more to ultimately win and get to where we want to get to so really taking ownership within the locker room, within our guys of just getting to the next level whether that’s practice, games, whatever,” Bane said."
Bane finds himself coming off of his best season as a pro, as he posted stellar per-game 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 distance.
As a result of his top-notch efforts, the guard received a lucrative extension, keeping him in Memphis through at least the 2028-29 season with a new five-year, $207 million contract.
Now, after putting up such numbers while serving as second fiddle, Bane will have the opportunity to show his worth as a true number-one option for the Grizzlies, a situation many are predicting could thrust him toward his first All-Star nod.
Already, he’s been showing out as he’s taken on head honcho duties, for he’s posting sensational averages of 21.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists on 47.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.0 percent shooting from deep in only 24 minutes per night during the preseason.
Once the regular season finally comes about, expect his time on the floor to increase exponentially, right along with his overall productivity.