The Grizzlies Are Waking Everyone Up
The average grizzly bear weighs nearly 700 pounds, has four-inch claws and can run up to 35 mph. The National Wildlife Federation says their hibernation periods last up to seven months but “they will quickly wake up when disturbed.”
The Memphis Grizzlies have embodied the characteristics of the brawny animal they are named after, winning ten straight games after losing to the Warriors 113–104 on Dec. 23. Their most recent win? Also against the Warriors, but this time with Klay back, 116–108 last night.
Ja Morant has been sensational and a critical part of Memphis’s prosperity. Over the course of the Grizzlies’ streak, he has averaged 27.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 6.4 APG while 51% shooting from the field, 41% from three and 76% from the free-throw line. His scintillating play has been a major reason why the Grizzlies are fourth in the West. As mentioned in a previous article, it was speculated that Morant could reach superstar status, and that was after the Grizz won six straight. His All-Star caliber play has continued, and after a hot streak that included four 30-point games and another 40-piece against the Lakers, he is getting closer to that title (if not already there).
The impact of Desmond Bane was also discussed in my other article, but in the last three games he played, he has continued to flourish, averaging 19 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 3.7 APG in that span. He also has a chip on his shoulder from being drafted 30th overall in 2020, and he is making the teams that passed on him pay. A key quality to any successful team is a great two-way wing, and Bane has been just that for the Grizzlies. He is a young talent who will continue to make waves for many years to come.
Another eye-opener for Grizzlies and NBA fans alike has been the re-emergence of Tyus Jones, who is averaging 8.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 4.2 APG on 47–40–91 splits this season. The six-year veteran had 17 points and was a perfect 5-for-5 from long range last night against Golden State. He also chipped in six rebounds and eight assists. Jones has revamped his career with Memphis, carving out a solid role for himself as Morant’s backup. His steady play has been another reason why Memphis has found itself at fourth in the West.
Finally, Jaren Jackson Jr. has proven to be a solid young big and a great fit next to Ja Morant. The athletic 22-year-old has put up 15.7 PPG, nearly 7 RPG and 2.7 BPG in the Grizz’s ten-game stretch. While his shooting over that span has not been amazing (36% FG and 22% 3PT), JJJ has still found a way to impact the game, collecting double-digit rebounds in three of those ten games and scoring 20 points or more four times in that period.
So, what is the ceiling for this young, scrappy and hungry Memphis squad? NBA YouTuber and passionate Grizzlies fan @MegaZane5 posed the question to his Twitter followers yesterday.
While the overwhelming majority of the replies said the second round, they still believe the Grizzlies can be a legitimate title contender in a few years’ time. They certainly have the tools to become such a team, and with the young guys on the right path with the right mindset, it may not be long before they enter the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Needless to say, the Grizzlies have woken everyone up and are running quickly through the West on the quest for success.