Santi Aldama opens up on 'tough' season for Grizzlies

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies
San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Throughout his first two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Santi Aldama experienced quite a bit of success from an overall team perspective. Coming across a total of 107 regular season wins and consecutive postseason berths, it seemed as if the Spanish baller had landed himself with an organization that had a trajectory that could only head upward.

Sadly, any playoff hopes and championship aspirations he and his teammates may have had coming into year three were put to rest early on into 2023-24 after a large chunk of Memphis' nucleus endured varying health-related ailments that, in turn, negatively affected their on-court production.

From their worst-ranked scoring punch in the entire association (106.1 points per game) to their sixth-worst record (20-41), it's evident that anything and everything that could have gone wrong for the Grizzlies this season did and, now, the club is heading toward their first playoff-less finish since 2020.

However, regardless of these challenges, Aldama still seems to be grateful for the change in experience, as he explained to Grind City Media's Michael Wallace that, though things have been "tough," the adversity has provided him and his cohorts an opportunity to grow both from a playing and mentality standpoint.

Santi Aldama reveals how Grizzlies have grown through "tough" season

"It's been a long run for us, it's been tough. Whenever you win, the season... feels shorter in a way. It's been tough but it's an opportunity for us to grow [and] to come together as a team. We've had a lot of meetings and talks about how we can get better, the things we've been doing well... It's everybody. It's the guys that are on the floor and the guys that are off the floor. Fortunately, they have a say and a voice and that really helps us."

Santi Aldama

Along with the behind-the-scenes growth, Aldama has also managed to up his production in numerous areas on the hardwood and, thus, within the stat sheet, as he's posting career-high averages nearly all across the board with 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and just shy of both a steal and a block through 49 games played, 23 of which were while serving as a starter which, again, is a new high.

At just 23 years old, the 7-footer is one of the more promising role players the Grizzlies have within their current arsenal. With his length and shooting ability (has shot 34.9 percent from deep over the last two seasons) Aldama a multi-positional, dual-threat contributor who many project to be a long-term frontcourt option within Taylor Jenkins' rotation.

Though this year's campaign may be far from enviable, one could argue that it's a great test to see who among Memphis' core has the mental fortitude to show out when the going gets tough and, through his on-court play and off-court decorum, the third-year big seems to be reassuring fans and the franchise that he's capable of weathering through any storm.