Grizzlies 'hidden gem' tabbed as player 'teams already regret' not drafting

Memphis Grizzlies v Charlotte Hornets
Memphis Grizzlies v Charlotte Hornets / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

The Memphis Grizzlies may be heading toward one of their worst regular season finishes of the past decade, but this is not to say that 2023-24 has been a total failure.

Quite the contrary, in fact, as their lackluster level of success has allowed this coaching staff to focus a large chunk of attention on developing some of their younger talents who, during a more advantageous campaign, would likely be relegated to the sidelines and, in some cases, the G League.

Easily one of Memphis' biggest storylines of this year has been the emergence of first-year wing GG Jackson, who, with his play, has been labeled "the best-looking prospect" the team has seen since Ja Morant came into the league back in 2019, and looks to be well on his way toward an All-Rookie team selection.

From his stupendous scoring abilities that have already broken league records once held by legends like Kobe Bryant to his sheer two-way potential, the recent second-round selection has established himself as one of the brightest young talents this Grizzlies team currently has to offer and, when looking back on this past summer's draft, Richard Nurse of Hoops Habit seems to believe that there are several teams who "already regret" not snatching him up.

Grizzlies wing GG Jackson a player 'teams already regret' not drafting

"True high school basketball enthusiasts will remember Gregory "GG" Jackson II as the top prospect of the 2023 class, but newcomers know him as the guy with the greatest reaction to a Shaquille O'Neal interview.

The Memphis Grizzlies second-round pick has made a name for himself after turning the team's injury woes into personal success. Jackson's 11.3 points per game may seem low, but since being recalled from the G-League, he has had five 20-point games, including two on NBA on TNT broadcasts and one that resulted in signing a four-year contract the next day. "

Richard Nurse

Though Jackson has technically seen action on 23 total occasions this season, in actuality he's only been utilized as a consistent member of coach Taylor Jenkins' rotation dating back to January 13. Spanning 17 games, the wing has established himself as a true difference-maker for the Grizzlies, and has quickly become one of their more reliable offensive weapons.

Throughout this period, Jackson finds himself posting averages of 14.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and just shy of a block while shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from deep.

With his play, the 19-year-old has not only garnered the attention of some of the game's all-time greats, as Nurse alluded to in his piece, but has also seen his original two-way deal with the franchise be converted into a standard, long-term pact.

As they inch toward the end of this gap season and, in turn, start prepping for yet another championship-hopeful run with guys like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marcus Smart all presumed to be healthy in 2024-25, the Grizzlies have now also found a hidden gem of sorts in GG Jackson who they hope will serve as a reliable contributor for the forseeable future.

As Nurse notes, it's likely that rival teams are kicking themselves that they passed up on the 45 overall pick.