Predicting the Grizzlies' perfect starting lineup after ideal offseason

If Memphis pulls off a dream offseason, this is what their starting lineup could look like on opening night.
Nic Claxton, Jaren Jackson Jr.
Nic Claxton, Jaren Jackson Jr. / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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Shooting guard: Marcus Smart

By far the biggest X-factor the Grizzlies will have next season is Marcus Smart. The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year is obviously an incredible talent and a potential game-changer for Memphis. But after trading for him last summer, the Grizz were only able to get him on the floor for 20 games over the course of the injury-riddled campaign in 2023-24.

Smart's impact was severely limited. But even if he had been able to play 50-plus games, it is not like his contributions alone would have been able to make up for all the other losses Memphis was suffering due to injury. As such, he effectively played a "red shirt" year with the Grizzlies this past season, with it remaining to be seen what he will look like next to Ja Morant in the backcourt.

So far, he has not shown anything to make us believe he has fallen off from the level of an all-world defender and timely scorer. In fact, Marcus had his highest career scoring average last season at 14.5 points per night, while shooting a career-best field goal percentage. This was of course in a limited sample size, but it should be enough to make the Grizzlies confident he is the piece they need at both ends of the floor in the backcourt.