Grizzlies urged to monitor Magic big currently excommunicated from playoff rotation

Atlanta Hawks v Orlando Magic
Atlanta Hawks v Orlando Magic / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The Memphis Grizzlies may not be a participant in this year's NBA Playoffs, but there's an argument to be made that the franchise should be just as invested in the festivities as if they were.

Following the club's lackluster 27-55 finish to the campaign, this offseason, expectations are that Zach Kleiman and company will be looking to make some significant changes to Taylor Jenkins' collection of talent, and easily the most notable area within the rotation that's in need of tinkering is their center position.

With their mid-season decision to essentially clear house at the pivot, the Grizzlies find themselves with a real quagmire down in their frontcourt and, at this moment, have no clear solution currently presenting itself.

However, during a recent episode of Locked on Grizzlies, host and team beat writer Damichael Cole proposed the idea of Memphis viewing this year's postseason as a way to "window shop" for potential offseason targets to help address their center woes, and suggested they should be paying close attention to Orlando Magic big, Goga Bitadze.

Grizzlies urged to monitor Orlando Magic big man, Goga Bitadze

Considering the Magic have seemingly shied away from utilizing the former first-round pick of late, as he's yet to see any action during this year's playoff bout against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cole argues that this could be a sign that the center-rich ball club may not be keen on bringing back the impending free agent for next season and, should this be the case, the Grizzlies should be monitoring the situation closely.

"Goga Bitadze, that's the guy I have my eyes on because I'm looking at these first two playoff games [and] how many minutes did he play? He played a big donut... He's not in the mix. The thing is, if you watched him when he started this season he was a productive player. He was a part of some of their long winning streaks. I think he played three games of more than 30 minutes this season. In those three games he averages 8.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and he rated as one of the better defenders at the center position, not just in those three games but, I think, in a 26 game sample size when he played more than 20 minutes."

Damichael Cole

Cole would continue on to note that despite his productivity throughout the regular season, considering his absence from the playoffs he believes the 24-year-old could be had on the open market "for a very cheap number."

Measuring in at 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, the fifth-year veteran sports an ideal build for a bruising big man while his skill set suggests he could be a quality rim protector and rebound gobbler if granted a full-time starting gig.

Through 33 starts this season, Bitadze posted impressive averages of 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 58.9 percent from the field.

While he may not be much of a scoring threat, on a Grizzlies team already possessing top-flight talents in this department like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. he wouldn't be looked toward for these types of contributions.

Instead, he'd be tasked with playing hard defense, setting solid screens, and pulling down rebounds on both ends of the floor while the team's stars work their magic in the more exciting aspects of the game.

All of these things are attributes Bitadze has proven to have, and Cole believes the Grizzlies should be eyeing him as a possible low-cost free agency option heading into the offseason.