The Grizzlies think they found their man in the draft this year by getting Ja Morant. Even though he didn’t go to a big name college like Zion Williamson, he still made a big impact on his team and brought them to the NCAA tournament. The rookie point guard out of Murray State is expected to do great things this upcoming year. Now I’m not talking carrying his team to the NBA Finals, winning the Finals and Finals MVP, no, just enough to show that the Grizzlies have the right guy to build their future around.

With him, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Grayson Allen, it’s a start to something great. With a good mix of veteran players and young players, it gives the young players to understand how to play the game right. Especially from a great veteran player in André Iguodala. With three championships and a Finals MVP under his belt, he knows a thing or two of not only winning but also how to be a shut down defender and a great role model to anyone trying to become the next big thing in the league.

Point Guards

Credit: Brandon Dill/Associated Press
  • Shaq Buchanan
  • Marko Guduric
  • Tyus Jones
  • John Konchar *Two-Way
  • De’Anthony Melton
  • Ja Morant

Morant is going to be starting for the Grizzlies this season. That’s what they brought him in for, to get started right away. Sometimes you do have first-round picks that do sit behind a great veteran point guard to start their career and take reps every now and then during a game. But with a take like his and seeing what he did during his college career, you can’t sit a guy like that. Jones is a great back up point guard. He learned a lot from a veteran point guard in Derrick Rose during his time in Minnesota. He’s good to come off the bench and get a few buckets while also being the spark plug on the defensive end.

Melton is coming in as a second-yearman who played with Phoenix last year. With a team that’s looking for a new identity, I expect him to be in the rotation and get playing time. Konchar and Guduric are rookies this year who will mainly be looking to learn behind not only a little bit from Tyus but other veteran players on the roster. We won’t see Konchar as much this season for he will spend the majority of his time in the G-League and will be called up on the occasion.

Shooting Guards

Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • Grayson Allen
  • Andre Iguodala

Allen was a two-way player last year with the Utah Jazz. He’ll be sitting behind Andre who is coming to his final years in the league. Expect Grayson to come ready to make an impact on his new team as a man fully on the roster and not a two-way player this year. Andre is expected to take a step back this year for he knows he’s just their to help mature the young players into become a playoff contention team in the next few years.

Small Forwards

Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports
  • Bruno Caboclo
  • Brandon Clarke
  • Kyle Anderson
  • Dillon Brooks
  • Solomon Hill
  • Josh Jackson

Jackson and Anderson are coming in as new players from other teams. Jackson is from the Suns who hasn’t really been turning out to be what people expected of him coming out of college. Anderson was a good role player from San Antonio, who can help you not only on the defensive end but also able to get you a few quick buckets if need be. Brooks is a third man out of Oregon who so far is having a great preseason and is hoping to translate that success into the regular season. Clarke is a rookie out of Gonzaga, which to me, is known for turning into very fundamentally sound NBA players i.e.; Kelly Olynyk, and Domantas Sabonis. I can see him translating well into the league and learning a lot from the veterans. Hill and Caboclo have been bounced around from team to team and is known for doing the little things that don’t end up on the stat sheet.

Power Forwards

Credit: John Raoux
  • Jae Crowder
  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • Ivan Rabb
  • Yuta Watanabe

Crowder is known to be a spark plug to come off the bench and has hit a few big shots in his career with both the Celtics and the Jazz. It’s getting to the point of his career where he is turning into a player coach for the young players while also getting the job done offensively and defensively. Yuta is a second year two-way player from GW (George Washington). Watching him in college, he was quietly very good and would constantly cause my school (St. Bonaventure) problems. Jackson already came into the league ready to play, under the impression of Tom Izzo, one of the best college coaches in the country, teaching nothing but being prepared for the NBA life. This year I expect him to pick up right where he left off from last season and improve his game a lot more. Rabb will be looking to improve as well, while still trying to find his role on the team.

Centers

Credit: Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
  • Jonas Valančiūnas
  • Miles Plumlee

Jonas played most of his time with the Raptors and was constantly in the playoffs. His only issue was trying to stay healthy. I believe him and Ja will pair up nicely in the veteran rookie combo. They could be successful in the pick n roll, pick n pop, area. Miles has been bounced around from team to team, but he makes a good back up to Jonas and is able to keep the momentum down low when his number is called.

Projected Lineup/Roster Cuts

  • PG: Ja Morant
  • SG: Andre Iguodala
  • SF: Kyle Anderson
  • PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • C: Jonas Valančiūnas
  • Sixth Man: Josh Jackson
  • Rest of the Bench: Solomon Hill, Miles Plumlee, Tyus Jones, Jae Crowder, Marko Guduric, Brandon Clarke, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks
  • Two-Way: Yuta Watanabe, John Konchar
  • Roster Cuts: Bruno Cabaclo, De’Anthony Melton

Overall, this is a solid mix of veteran and young core roster. It shows that they have the potential of doing well, but at the same time I don’t expect them to make it to the playoffs, but I wouldn’t be surprised as well. Even though they have more players that haven’t been to playoffs, let alone are young, I could see them making a late run for the eighth spot.

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