Grizzlies Swiss Army knife talent praised for taking 'huge strides' this season

Apr 5, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins gives direction
Apr 5, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins gives direction / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Though the Memphis Grizzlies failed to live up to their lofty preseason expectations in 2023-24, this is not to say that the ball club has simply been void of any positive happenings throughout the campaign.

Due to a slew of injuries and other unfortunate instances that forced players to the sidelines during the year, many individuals managed to see increased usage and playing time within coach Taylor Jenkins' rotation that, in other seasons, likely would not have been possible.

From Jaren Jackson Jr.'s development as an offensive initiator and playmaker to GG Jackson's ascension from second-round afterthought to a legitimate All-Rookie team candidate, despite what their 27-53 record may suggest on the surface the Grizzlies have seen a number of players show out this season.

Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey recently cast a spotlight on one particular member of Grind City as being someone who took "huge strides" in their progressions this year, as he tabbed sophomore Vince Williams Jr. as the team's Most Improved Player.

Vince Williams Jr. tabbed as Grizzlies Most Improved Player

"Vince Williams Jr., meanwhile, went from making just 15 appearances and averaging 2.0 points last season to starting 33 games and averaging 10.0 in 2023-24. He also shot 37.8 percent from deep and handed out 3.4 assists per game.

Now, when the Grizzlies are presumably a little more healthy in 2024-25, they'll have a Swiss Army knife forward to provide a little playmaking and defense off the bench."

Andy Bailey

Starting the campaign off as a two-way player, as a result of his increased playing time due to the bevy of key player absences within the Grizzlies rotation, Williams started to come across consistent action back in early December and, simply, made the most of such opportunities.

From December 1 through now, the 23-year-old has gone on to post impressive averages of 11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and just shy of a block while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from deep.

With his stellar two-way play, Williams managed to turn himself from being a consistent G League participant to a projected long-term contributor with the club (signed a multi-year standard deal back in mid-January) and a legitimate Rising Star in the association.

How's that for making the most of a dire situation?