Which players on the Grizzlies roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Ja Morant
SG Desmond Bane
SF Dillon Brooks
PF Jaren Jackson Jr.
C Steven Adams
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
The starting lineup seems set, but there’s always the possibility that the team will discover some magical combinations of all of their talented players that may dictate lineup adjustments based on matchups. It makes sense against certain opponents to swap Adams out for Clarke or Aldama or one of the other bigs with a different skill set. Or in the event Ziaire Williams takes a leap, it might make sense to put him in at small forward and allow Brooks to come in off the bench and wreak havoc on any opposing scorer who seems to have a hot hand.
The more interesting battles are for the bench roles. Will rookies Jake LaRravia and/or David Roddy show enough to merit extended minutes. Will 2nd year forward Santi Aldama continue showing the versatile and effective game that he showed in the summer league? Will Brandon Clarke’s strong playoff showing earn him a larger role? And will Danny Green fully recover and be an actual on-court contributor as opposed to just a wise and sage veteran on the bench in the ear of the youngsters?
PLAYERS TO WATCH
JJJ is the key to the team’s success. He had a breakout year last year, especially defensively where he led the league in blocked shots per game and was named 1st-team all-defense. But he will miss the start of the season with an injury and has been somewhat by the injury bug throughout his career so far. He is expected to return at full strength and it will be important for him to avoid any other pitfalls that will keep him off the court.
With Green out, the team is a bit thin at the wing positions. They’ll be counting on John Konchar to come off the bench and provide quality minutes. Konchar has been a great story, a small school players who was undrafted, worked his way on to the roster, and then into the regular rotation. He’s an excellent rebounder and a very efficient scorer who doesn’t take bad shots. For his career he’s shooting over 40% from long range and has an effective field goal percentage of 61.5%, which is unheard of for a guard that mostly lives on the perimeter. What makes the Grizzlies difficult is there’s not a huge dropoff from starters Bane and Brooks to backups Williams and Konchar. Even at point guard and in the frontcourt, the team is stocked with capable backups that not only won’t give away leads but sometimes will expand upon them.