Notable rotational need should push Grizzlies to sign 23-year-old point guard

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

2023-24 proved that this Memphis Grizzlies team has several limitations that must be addressed during the coming offseason. From big man depth to continual uncertainty regarding the future state of the starting wing position, this summer Zach Kleiman and company have quite a bit of work to do when it comes to shoring up loosed ends within coach Taylor Jenkins' rotation.

However, though the majority of attention regarding positional needs has been drawn toward the team's pivot spot, ESPN's Bobby Marks recently shed light on a specific area he believes needs tending to: backup point guard.

"Besides addressing the center position, the Grizzlies need a backup point guard behind Morant. Memphis could certainly stagger minutes and have Smart play point guard when Morant goes to the bench, but the Grizzlies went through the perfect storm of not having a reliable insurance policy when both players were out."

Bobby Marks

As all should be aware at this point, the Grizzlies endured a historic number of player absences during this past season, with Ja Morant being the most noteworthy talent who struggled to stay on the hardwood, as he saw just nine games of action during the campaign.

Without him in tow, Memphis struggled to find any true stability from their point guard position.

They experimented with many different lineups featuring Marcus Smart, Desmond Bane, and Derrick Rose all seeing significant run at the one, though, unfortunately, none proved to be worth sticking with as viable backup options, for the first two are best suited off-ball while the latter once again struggled to remain healthy.

Of course, amid the madness of trying to find a competent floor general, with his 21-game sample size one could make the argument that sophomore Scotty Pippen Jr. showcased just enough to make it an actual conversation about whether or not the Grizzlies should consider converting his current pact with the ball club to a full-time, standard deal.

Grizzlies should consider signing Scotty Pippen Jr. to standard deal

Signed to a two-way back in mid-January, right from the jump Pippen proved to have an innate ability to both run an offense as a competent floor general while also putting forth all-out hustle in the defensive and overall energy department.

Sporting a similar impact to the likes of former fan-favorite Tyus Jones, the 23-year-old has the makings of a pure point guard -- someone who looks to create for others and make the right reads rather than gunning for their own looks at scoring opportunities.

From January 24 onward, Pippen was being utilized as a regular commodity within coach Jenkins' rotation and posted impressive averages of 13.4 points, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and half a block while shooting 49.3 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from deep.

Of players who logged 400 minutes or more on the year the 2022 undrafted free agent led the Grizzlies in assists percentage (31.0) and ranked second in assist points created per game (12.1).

Now, heading into 2024-25, Pippen is technically still under contract with Memphis, as he still has 29 games remaining on his current deal's 50-game limit, which likely indicates that he'll remain attached to his agreement for the foreseeable future.

However, should the choice be between signing a fresh new face off the free agency market this summer to bolster their point guard depth or converting Pippen to a standard contract a la GG Jackson and Vince Williams Jr. from earlier in the campaign, Kleiman and co. must strongly consider the latter.

The youngster has shown enough during his time thus far with the Grizzlies to warrant such consideration.