3. A deal with the Atlanta Hawks
Aside from simply being an intimidating big-bodied presence, easily the biggest contributions Steven Adams provides to this Grizzlies team are his sound low-post defensive skills and sensational offensive rebounding abilities.
With the big in the lineup last season, Memphis ranked first in the league in offensive rebounding (13.4), first in total rebounding (49.4), and first in defensive rating (109.2). Without him, however, they dropped to a lowly 13 (10.3), 15 (43.1), and ninth (112.6), respectively, and, should they stick with their current roster construction, one should only expect a similar outcome.
However, Kline suggests one way to avoid this turnout could be by pursuing veteran center Clint Capela from the Atlanta Hawks, as he believes the 29-year-old could provide similar attributes as the team’s new starting five.
"“He’s a hyper-efficient rim finisher and vertical threat who could add a new wrinkle to Memphis’ offense working out of pick-and-rolls with Ja Morant and Marcus Smart. On defense, he’s not quite as mobile in space as he once was, but he still clogs up the paint and gets his hands on a fair amount of shot attempts,” Kline wrote."
Since 2018-19, Capela finds himself posting impressive averages of 13.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks on 62.6 percent shooting from the field while sporting a career defensive rating of 106 and an offensive rebounding percentage of 14.7, which is just .1 lower than Adams himself.
From a skills perspective, there is an argument to be made that the Hawks big could be a tremendous addition to this Grizzlies squad coming into the season.
That said, there are two specific drawbacks to Kline’s proposal: the outgoing pieces and the price tag attached to the big man.
Last season, Memphis ranked a lowly 23 in three-point percentage despite hoisting up the 11-most long-range shots per game.
Coming into his first full season with the team, Luke Kennard is being viewed as a highly valuable commodity, as he not only will be looked upon as perhaps the team’s best sniper from distance (a career 43.7 percent long-range shooter) but, with superstar Ja Morant slated to miss the first 25 games of the year, his scoring prowess will be of great need within coach Jenkins’ scheme.
Coughing up one of their very few trusty shooters may not be the best option for the Grizzlies at this point in time, and, on top of this, doing so for an aging and limited big man who is owed $42.8 million over the course of the next two years make such a move even less desirable.