2. Santi Aldama could see a bigger role than initially expected
Though the Adams news is undoubtedly unfortunate, not all the ripple effects from his season-ending surgery are inherently negative. “Next man up” has seemingly been the mantra for this Grizzlies squad throughout the majority of the Jenkins era, and one individual who will now likely see a major increase in opportunities is third-year big, Santi Aldama.
Already slated to see an uptick in playing time what with Brandon Clarke likely being sidelined for the entire season as he rehabs from a torn Achilles tendon, with Adams out there are now even more minutes up for grabs within the frontcourt rotation.
With this along with the fact that Memphis needs to try and make up for their depleted scoring punch without Morant in the fold for the start of the season, the 22-year-old Spaniard seems to be an obvious choice to get the lion’s share of the newly vacated playing time.
With a 7-foot frame coupled with a 35.3 percent three-point shooting clip from last season, Aldama truly has the makings of being a lethal inside-out scoring commodity in the association and has already shown such potential in spurts throughout his tenure in Grind City.
Last season he took a step forward with the Grizzlies by upping his productivity all across the board with averages of 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and just shy of a block in 21.8 minutes a night and showcased his potential even further during this summer’s FIBA World cup where he posted 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and a block on 56.2 percent shooting from the field and 35.7 percent shooting from deep while serving as a go-to option for Team Spain.
Now, in year three with so many of his frontcourt cohorts slated to be sidelined, one should expect the Grizzlies to lean on him more than many had initially thought.
If he can continue on with his upward trajectory and live up to the opportunities that will be coming his way, Aldama could be primed for a true breakout season.