Trial by Fire: Can the Grizzlies Survive Without Jaren Jackson Jr.?


As the run-up to the end of the season approaches and the battle for the 8th seed in the West continues to heat up, the very last thing the Memphis Grizzlies needed was an injury sidelining one of their starters. But the injury bug is fickle, and it seems like no team is ever truly safe from its clutches. 

Jaren Jackson Jr.’s sprained knee and subsequent absence from the court are no doubt going to be problematic for the Grizzlies. However, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Pushing through and continuing to stack wins without one of its best players will be a unique learning experience for the young squad, if nothing else.  


In the meantime, prepare for the inevitable wacky lineups that Coach Jenkins will employ to fill the nearly 7-foot void. Expect to see increased usage for both Brandon Clarke and Gorgui Dieng during Jackson Jr.’s absence. In addition to needing increased production from its bench unit, the Grizzlies will also need Jonas Valanciunas to be at the very top of his game. 

Brandon Clarke posterizes Ian Mahinmi - VIA MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES TWITTER
  • via Memphis Grizzlies twitter
  • Brandon Clarke posterizes Ian Mahinmi

It feels weird to be saying this in the first year of a rebuild, but every game from now until the end of the regular season counts if the Grizzlies want maintain their status as the 8th seed. The Portland Trail Blazers and the New Orleans Pelicans are staring down the same stretch of games with the intention of eliminating Memphis from playoff contention.

A Brief Rant: YGTMYFT
Now, let’s talk about free throws. Did someone decide that the Grizzlies just aren’t making them anymore and I missed a memo?

In last Friday’s match up against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Grizzlies shot an abysmal 51.6% from the charity stripe. In a game that the Grizzlies lost by 12 points, leaving those extra 15 points worth of free throws on the floor really stings.

If I am Coach Jenkins, every member of the team would be shooting at least 100 free throws during the next practice. 

This should be the easiest shot on the floor, one that any player can practice ad infinitum. The atmosphere in each arena may change, but fundamentally the process of shooting (and making) free throws does not. Scoring with the clock stopped is a valuable skill for players to utilize.  

If ever there was a hill I was willing to die on, this is the one.
You’ve. Got. To. Make. Your. Free. Throws.

Moving along...

Who Got Next? 
The Grizzlies will once again be playing in Staples Center tonight as they face off against Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers. Tip-off is at 9:30 pm CST, so be sure to grab one or more of your favorite caffeinated beverages beforehand.

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