1 Question for every key Grizzlies player as regular season inches to a close

Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

With less than a month remaining on the regular season schedule, at 24-47 and with no real hope of clinching a playoff berth, the Memphis Grizzlies find their 2023-24 campaign inching closer and closer to a close.

Despite their lofty preseason projections, the Grind City faithful have been bombarded with an obscene amount of headaches and heartbreaks all year long and, at this point on the year, are simply awaiting the solace of game number 82's conclusion.

With the anticipated date of April 14 rapidly approaching, the question that's most likely on the franchise's mind is how high could their upcoming lottery pick land come June's draft?

As far as the club's key players, they likely are pondering on much different and far more personal queries.

1 Question for every top Grizzlies player as season's end nears

Ja Morant

Can we fast forward to 2024-25 already?

Extrapolation: From his initial 25-game suspension to, ultimately, his shoulder surgery in early January, the 2023-24 season was a complete wash for Ja Morant and, simultaneously, for the Grizzlies as a whole. The point guard posted stellar averages of 25.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 5.6 rebounds and led the team to a 6-3 record with him in the lineup. Though it wasn't ever even in question, this production and impact reminded fans of just how good Memphis can be with their head honcho leading the charge. Next season can't come soon enough!

Desmond Bane

What will his first big purchase be once his $207 million deal kicks in?

Extrapolation: Last summer, Desmond Bane signed a lucrative $207 million extension with the Grizzlies, locking down his services in the 38103 through at least 2029. While injuries held him out for a substantial period of time this year, he still proved himself more than worthy of such a salary, as he's gone on to post career highs in points (23.9) and assists (5.3) while cashing in on a highly efficient 46.4 percent of his shots from the field and 38.0 percent from deep. With zero questions revolving around his worthiness of such a payday, the only thing he should be focused on is what he plans to do with his new-found riches.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

Can he keep his offensive production up once Ja Morant and Desmond Bane return to full strength next season?

Extrapolation: Despite not being named to his second consecutive All-Star team this year, 2023-24 proved to be one of Jaren Jackson Jr.'s best yet, specifically from an offensive perspective. Through 61 games through this point, the big man has posted a career-high 22.6 points and 2.3 assists per contest. Of course, these numbers have come off of a career-high 17.5 attempts per game and while serving as a primary ball handler, both due, in large, to the absences of both Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. Is this level of production a sign of change in Jackson's game or is it simply a result of injuries thrusting him into an unsustainable role?

Marcus Smart

Is he a backup or a starter in 2024-25?

Extrapolation: With Ja Morant and Desmond Bane expected to be at full strength heading into next season, it seems that the starting backcourt will be all but solidified in 2024-25. Though his defensive expertise could allow him to slide on down to the three, considering the emergence of Vince Williams Jr. and GG Jackson, there's a strong case to be made that the long-time starter could find himself being thrust into a reserve role come next year.

Vince Williams Jr.

Can he keep his excellence up within a fully intact lineup?

Extrapolation: Like with Jaren Jackson Jr.'s improved offensive play, there's a slight fear that the high-end productivity of Vince Williams Jr. this season may be a direct result of the plethora of injuries around him. While his defensive impact was already something fans and analysts were aware of prior to his breakout, it has been his scoring touch and distribution skills that have thrust him into the "rising stars" category of the league. If he can continue on with his two-way effectiveness while running alongside Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jackson, this team will be even more menacing than years past. Only time will tell if this is capable of being a reality, however.

GG Jackson

Is he a starter in the making or best served as a spark-plug sixth man?

Extrapolation: Along with Vince Williams Jr., GG Jackson's emergence has been one of the best things to come out of this year's campaign, as his ascension from being a G League talent to a core rotation piece within this Grizzlies lineup is something to revel at. However, still not even fully through his rookie season, there's the question of how his services could be best suited for Memphis moving forward.

Throughout the year, he's predominantly been used as a reserve player, a role in which he's played quite well. However, in seven games as a starter, he's posted tremendous averages of 23.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. With guys like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. already guaranteed a starting spot, and Marcus Smart and Vince Williams Jr. both vying for one themselves, it may be tough for the 19-year-old to lay claim to a first-five nod beyond this season, especially when his defensive play still requires a bit of improvement.

Brandon Clarke

Can he get back to pre-injury form?

Extrapolation: Out since March of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, all season long we've heard rumblings of his impending return. As of this writing, such a happening has yet to come about and, with just 11 games remaining on the regular season schedule, there's a real chance that he remains sidelined, thus leaving fans and, frankly, the franchise wondering if he has the ability to get back to his pre-injury form.

Luke Kennard

Are his days numbered in Memphis?

Extrapolation: All season long, Luke Kennard has been a player often found mentioned within the trade rumor mill. Now, as they inch closer to the offseason, there's a strong possibility that, be it by way of trade or turning down his final year under contract (club option in 2024-25), he could finally be heading out the door.

Ziaire Williams

What could the Grizzlies flip him for in a trade?

Extrapolation: Like Kennard, Ziaire Williams has also been a player frequently linked to trade rumors throughout the season. Since being drafted 10 overall back in the 2021 NBA Draft, due to injuries and simple inconsistencies, the small forward has simply failed to live up to lottery expectations. With many believing it may be in the best interest for both parties to part ways, the Grizzlies may be interested in what exactly they could net in return for his services.

Scotty Pippen Jr.

Can the Grizzlies find a reason to re-sign him?

Extrapolation: Though attached to a two-way contract, Scotty Pippen Jr. has played quite well during his tenure thus far with the Grizzlies. A true point guard type talent, through 10 games played he finds himself posting solid averages of 11.1 points, 4.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from deep. Frankly, he's done enough with his opportunities to prove he's worthy of being considered for a standard, multi-year pact with the franchise. The only problem is, can they convince themselves to shell out such an offer when they already have a stacked backcourt rotation of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Marcus Smart in tow?

Lamar Stevens

How much will it cost to re-sign him?

Extrapolation: Acquired at this year's trade deadline, in his short tenure thus far with the franchise Lamar Stevens has proven himself to be a true Grit and Grind-esque talent thanks to his defensive tenacity and outstanding hustle. On an expiring contract, the 26-year-old is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and, due to his play, will likely find numerous teams looking to attain his services. The Grizzlies should be very interested in re-upping with the forward, though should be hoping his price tag doesn't inflate beyond their comfort level.

Derrick Rose

Is he a one-and-done in Memphis?

Extrapolation: The idea of bringing Derrick Rose back to his old collegiate stomping grounds this season and have him share a locker room with Ja Morant was something that created quite an entertaining storyline heading into the campaign. However, as the year has progressed its become more and more apparent that the veteran has lost more than just a step in his on-court production while his injuries still remain a concern. Though he may still have another year left on his deal, at a price-hit of just $3.3 million, would the Grizzlies consider waiving Rose this summer?