2. Xavier Tillman Sr.
Steven Adams needing season-ending surgery just before the start of the regular season created a golden opportunity for Tillman Sr. to start and play significant minutes. Brandon Clarke is still recovering from his Achilles injury, and Santi Aldama had an ankle injury to begin the year. The Grizzlies were scrambling to fill the backup minutes.
Tillman Sr. had two strong performances to begin the season before his production cratered. He started the first five games, but his playing time dipped into the 20s before being brought off the bench in the sixth game. The 6’9 big man missed the last two contests with knee soreness, but he proved early in the year that he was not ready for a starting role or significant minutes.
The Grizzlies were outscored by 30 points in his 158 minutes so far this season and had just a 91.0 offensive rating with Xavier Tillamn Sr. on the floor. He was simply not good enough, and the team has a massive hole at the five with Adams and Clarke sidelined for an extended period. They signed Bismack Biyombo and Aldama returned from injury, but relying on either for massive minutes seems like a stretch.
Tillman Sr. was a solid backup big man last season and that appears to be his best role moving forward. Memphis should be searching for a new starting center before it is too late.