Grizzlies argued as 'one of the best spots' for 9x All-Star, former MVP this summer

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
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Heading into this coming offseason, it is regularly accepted among both fans and pundits alike that the Memphis Grizzlies should prioritize strengthening their center rotation. Even GM Zach Kleiman has hinted that one of his top goals is to improve the club's collection of big men, noting during his exit interview that "we see the value of having a more traditional or true big."

However, recently an argument was made that Grind City may wish to bolster their backcourt depth with a pursuit of former league MVP Russell Westbrook, with Nandjee Ranjan of Sportskeeda going as far as to say that Memphis could be "one of the best spots" for him to land this summer.

Grizzlies argued as 'one of best spots' for Russell Westbrook to sign with

"One of the biggest reasons that the Grizzlies would be interested in bringing in Westbrook would be because of how bad their bench has been. If not this, than the Grizzlies should bring him because his energy fits right with their team. The Grizzlies have one of the worst benches in the league and with them coming all in next season, they would need a player like Westbrook to engine their second unit. The two-time scoring champion will have the freedom to score and also feed easy points to the second unit."

Nandjee Ranjan

Despite no longer being the nine-time All-Star and perennial All-NBA selectee, Westbrook has proven himself to be quite an impactful contributor in his newly established role as a second-unit spark-plug.

While predominantly coming off the pine in 2023-24, the future Hall of Famer posted solid per-game averages of 11.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.1 steals en route to a top-10 finish in the Sixth Man of the Year award race.

Despite the recent drama surrounding Westbrook, there's no question that his contributions would be of great service to any number of contending teams looking for extra guard help within their rotation.

However, though it may be entertaining to envision him donning the navy, blue, and gold threads and having his exciting athleticism accompanying Ja Morant in the backcourt rotation, the Grizzlies are certainly not one of these teams.

Sure, there's an argument to be made that Taylor Jenkins could use for extra floor general help, as the team ranked fourth-worst in assists per game and second-worst in assist-to-turnover ratio this past campaign, but this type of productivity could be addressed through far less polarizing of means -- converting Scotty Pippen Jr.'s two-way deal to a standard, for example, is a more desirable course of action.

Sure, Westbrook is someone who has shown a willingness to take less money to join on with a legitimate championship hopeful, so, yes, from a financial standpoint there's a realistic possibility that he could be within the price range of players that the Grizzlies would be looking to target this summer.

That said, even if he were open to signing on via the MLE or a veteran's minimum, considering they already have Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, and Derrick Rose on the roster, it's not hard to make the case that these contractual luxuries would be more valuable if used to address other positions in need of tending to like, say, center.

On top of all this, Westbrook is still looking to log considerable minutes within a rotation, and, considering the Grizzlies sport a rather enviable backcourt depth, his playing time would be severely limited if he were to head out to the 38103.

Why would he optionally sign on for a situation such as this? For a chance at vying for his first NBA Championship?

There are a ton of other teams out there that have similar odds of claiming the Larry O'Brien Trophy while also having a more desirable situation for the point guard to plug right into.

Do the Grizzlies need some help in the reserves department, particularly on the offensive side of the ball where their bench ranked sixth-worst in offensive rating and dead-last in field goal percentage? Sure, but signing Westbrook should not be viewed as a legitimate way of addressing these inefficiencies.

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