The Memphis Grizzlies may be starting their season 0-4 for the first time since 2004-05, but this is not to say that they’ve been void of any positive takeaways.
Though they may be hard to notice without a win attached to their record, in many ways, this new-look squad has been quite impressive, particularly when it comes to the play of their underrated offseason acquisition, Marcus Smart.
Serving as the primary point guard within coach Taylor Jenkins’ scheme while Ja Morant remains sidelined due to a league-issued suspension, the veteran has seemingly thrived in his new setting out in the 38103 and, when discussing his chemistry with backcourt cohort Desmond Bane after Monday’s latest loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis’ headman couldn’t help but highlight how well Smart has been able to mesh.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins hypes up production from newcomer Marcus Smart
"“Marcus has been great. I think that allows [Bane] to play off the ball,” Jenkins said. “Marcus with nine assists [against Dallas], I thought he was in attack mode, aggressive. Obviously [he] knocked down five three’s but his ability to colapse a defense and still figuring out his utilization in pick-and-rolls allows Des to move without the ball a little bit more freely so they can’t key in on game-plans with him with the ball in his hands. Obviously Des ended up having a really good game which is great to see, you know, kind of a bounce back after those last couple of ones but having a great point of attack with Marcus allowed that to kind of free up with him off the ball.”"
With every passing game, it appears Smart is growing more comfortable with and productive in his new environment, and his showing against Dallas proved to be his best yet as he finished the night off with 23 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from deep.
On the season as a whole to this point, he’s posting 17.3 points, 5.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.0 steals on 53.1 percent shooting from the floor and 39.3 percent shooting from deep.
While the Grizzlies have yet to claim victory number one on the year, many of their key contributors such as Smart are undoubtedly playing a winning brand of basketball.
Assuming they can keep it up, as the season continues the team’s fortunes are all but certain to turn. In the meantime, coach Jenkins seems to be focusing on the positives, with Smart serving as a major bright spot during this rather dark time.