Grizzlies Notes: Jackson Jr., Bane, Brooks, Defense

The Grizzlies, 15-11, have won six of their past seven games and have been anchored by Jaren Jackson Jr.‘s strong two-way play in Ja Morant‘s absence. Jackson is averaging 21 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks on .510/.413/.750 shooting in the seven contests (28.7 MPG). Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes that it’s been a strange road recently without Morant, but the Grizzlies are thriving with their star player unavailable. Jackson gave a simple, quirky answer on what has led to his strong play.

I’m just working on my reps, day in and day out, like staying on myself and not taking anything for granted, and drinking a lot more water,” Jackson said Thursday night after the Grizzlies’ latest win, a 108-95 victory over the Lakers. “Basically a combo of those two things, just work and water.”

You just got to keep drinking water,” Jackson insisted. “And then we go home and get a good meal and drink some water. You know? It just tastes good.”

Vardon adds that starting wings Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane have also played key roles during the 6-1 stretch (Brooks is now sidelined due to health and safety protocols).

Here’s more from Memphis:

  • Bane, the 30th overall pick of the 2020 draft, has emerged as an early candidate for the Most Improved Player award. John Hollinger of The Athletic writes that Bane was lightly recruited out of high school and accepted his lone major scholarship offer from TCU. Bane was forced into a play-making role his senior year in college and thrived. “I needed that experience,” Bane said, per Hollinger. “My first three years I was really a 3-and-D guy, just space the floor, run the floor, offensive rebound and play hard. I needed to add that skill to my game, to show NBA teams that I could attack closeouts and make plays for other people when teams started running me off the (3-point) line.” In 26 games this season (29.0 MPG), Bane is averaging 16.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG with a stellar shooting slash line of .467/.402/.914.
  • Brooks was fined $25K for “aggressively confronting a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner” after he was ejected in Wednesday’s loss to Dallas, the NBA announced (Twitter link).
  • Nekias Duncan of explores how the Grizzlies have been winning with defense during their current seven-game stretch. As good as Morant is, Duncan writes, his primary replacements — Tyus Jones and De’Anthony Melton — are much better defenders, which gives Memphis a better point-of-attack defensively. Duncan also suggests that Jackson is coming into his own as a switchable, lengthy defender.
View Comments (11)