Although he said it’s not the “end all, be all” for him, Grizzlies point guard Tyus Jones admitted in his end-of-season press conference that he’d like to be a starter, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“You always strive for more, but at the same time with that being said, I’ve always viewed myself as a starter, even coming off the bench,” Jones said. “A lot of times being called one of the best backups in the league, I never called myself that. I always just viewed that I was just a starter that’s coming of the bench. That’s always been my mindset.”
Jones will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Cole notes that the Grizzlies will be at a disadvantage if Jones prioritizes the opportunity to play a starting role, given that Ja Morant is obviously the team’s long-term starter at point guard.
However, executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman indicated the Grizzlies have interest in re-signing Jones, referring to him as a player who has “always been kind of like a cultural, foundational type piece for the group.” And, for his part, Jones hasn’t signaled that he plans to leave Memphis.
“It’s definitely not going to be an easy decision by any means,” Jones said of his upcoming free agency. “I don’t have my mind made up one way or another.”
Here’s more on the Grizzlies:
- Kleiman was happy with what the Grizzlies accomplished in 2021/22, but made it clear that he believes there’s still room to improve, per Michael Wallace of Grind City Media. “The goal is, and continues to be, to win a championship here,” Kleiman said. “The decision-making North Star continues to be what’s going to maximize our chances of doing so, building in a sustainable way. I’m excited to see what opportunities there are to make us better. We’re going to look at everything on the table… to increase our likelihood of getting us to the point we believe we can get to.”
- Head coach Taylor Jenkins conveyed a similar sentiment in his end-of-season comments, as Wallace relays: “It’s been an unbelievable year, but there are also plenty of ways we can get better. Our guys on this team have never wavered in their ability to adjust and adapt to whatever challenges we’ve faced. And we’ve found success together. After a win, after a loss, no matter, we found ways to stick with our values and get better from it. We take that same mindset into the offseason.”
- Coming off a strong year as a rotation player, Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer and earned plenty of praise from Kleiman at season’s end this weekend. “Brandon had a great year, and he and the coaches leaned into what he’s great at,” Kleiman said, per Parker Fleming of Grizzly Bear Blues (Twitter link). “We’re in a great place with Brandon, and he fits great with what we’re trying to do.”
- In a subscriber-only story, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian explores what’s next for the Grizzlies following their second-round elimination.
- In case you missed it, we passed along a pair of Ja Morant news items on Sunday night.