Jaren Jackson Jr.
Though the absence of Ja Morant was always projected to be rather tough on the Grizzlies during these early stages of 2023-24, one of the biggest saving graces coming in has been that they’ll still have one of their two established stars in tow with the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr.
One of the best two-way bigs currently in the game, last year the 24-year-old put forth career-best efforts virtually all across the board with stellar averages of 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks on 50.6 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from deep en route to his first All-Star nod as well as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
With this, as he enters his follow-up sixth season, many are hoping his career trajectory will continue to trend upward, which, obviously, would be a major boon for Memphis while Morant is sidelined.
Unfortunately, things didn’t seem to get off to the best of starts for the power forward, as he visibly struggled on both sides of the ball during Wednesday’s opener.
While he did manage to swat 3 shots during his 35 minutes of play, one shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that Jackson had himself all that effective of a showing, as he proved be a hacking machine, drawing five personal fouls and, frankly, got away with some serious contact on another one or two occasions, and struggled mightily to keep up with his assignments.
Offensively, he didn’t seem to fair much better, as he finished with a mere 8 points on 43.8 percent shooting from the floor and went 0-5 from three-point range.
Simply put, this type of performance from a star player is something that will often ruin a team’s chances of coming away from a game victorious and this certainly proved to be the case against the Pelicans.
During their upcoming bout against the Nuggets, Jackson needs to step up to give the Grizzlies a chance.