Grizzlies predicted to steal towering center from title favorites this summer

Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Memphis Grizzlies are heading into this year's offseason with an opportunity to make some serious alterations to their rotation.

Registering one of their worst records in recent memory at 27-55, it's evident that this team could use for a bit of fine-tuning all around, as they placed dead-last in the league in points per game (105.8) and offensive rating (106.8) while also allowing opponents to cash in at the fourth-best three-point shooting clip at 37.8 percent.

This summer, there appears to be no shortage of moves this club can make as they look to better bolster their talent pool and, in turn, help improve their on-court production and, to strengthen perhaps their weakest position within the rotation at center, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report predicts that the Grizzlies will steal big man Luke Kornet away from the Celtics in free agency.

Grizzlies predicted to steal Luke Kornet away from Celtics this summer

"His numbers won't blow you away—5.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 15.4 minutes—but his activity and efficiency are clear positives. His 69.9 field-goal percentage, for instance, is tops on the team by a wide margin. His 19.0 player efficiency rating, per Basketball-Reference, easily surpasses the metric's average of 15.0. His minus-2.9 net differential, per, doesn't sound great, but it's essentially just a reflection of how good the bigs in front of him are, since his net rating is a robust plus-9.4 points per 100 possessions."

Zach Buckley

Measuring in at 7-foot-2, 250-pounds, Kornet's presence in the frontcourt rotation would provide the Grizzlies with some much-needed size while his defensive versatility and rebounding prowess (13.1 rebounds per 100 possessions, including 5.9 on the offensive end) would address some of the glaring weaknesses within the team's game this past season, as they finished as the seventh-worst rebounding team in the entire league in 2023-24.

Though far from a lights-out sniper, the 28-year-old also serves as a willing floor-spacer (32.3 career three-point percentage), which would allow Memphis to run an always coveted five-out offensive scheme, something they were unable to do with Trey Jemison manning the middle this past season.

Through 63 games played, Kornet has established himself as a dependable two-way rotational player for the title-favorite Celtics, posting averages of 5.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.0 blocks while shooting a highly efficient 70.0 percent from the floor and 100 percent from deep, albeit on just one attempt from beyond the arc all year.

While his efforts certainly warrant consideration from Boston to bring him back next year, his play could influence a frontcourt-needy team to spend a bit over market value to attain his services.

In Buckley's eyes, the Grizzlies could wind up being said team.