While young cornerstones like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. rightly received much of the credit for the Grizzlies‘ impressive 56-win season in 2021/22, the work that veteran center Steven Adams did for the team on and off the court shouldn’t be overlooked.
As Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes, Adams is comfortable doing the “dirty work” like setting screens on offense and boxing out on defense, and teammates praised his vocal leadership even when he played a limited role in the postseason last spring.
“Culturally, just his personality is a perfect fit,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “He’s just a positive impact: on the floor, off the floor.”
The Grizzlies liked what Adams brought to the team enough to offer him a two-year, $25MM+ extension, which he accepted. As Cole relays, the veteran center explained why he chose to sign that deal rather than waiting to become a free agent next summer.
“I never thought that I would be in the league this long,” Adams said. “One of the good things is that it’s with an organization that’s doing something that I believe in. That’s what makes it really enjoyable. The guys, the culture. It’s not really like work.”
Here’s more on the Grizzlies:
- According to Cole, the Grizzlies gave Adams a list of things to work on in the offseason — those goals included increasing his scoring average (from last season’s 6.9 PPG) and adjusting his defensive game to be able to stay on the floor more often. “He’s excited about the challenges we have laid out for him to continue to be more aggressive on the offensive end, more versatile on the defense end,” Jenkins said.
- Jaren Jackson Jr.‘s recovery from a right foot injury remains on track, Jenkins stated last week. The Grizzlies’ standout defensive big man hasn’t experienced any setbacks and has made progress since training camp got underway. “He’s starting to do a little more on the court,” Jenkins said, according to Cole. “No contact still. Full-court running, individual vitamins. He’s not just stationary; he’s doing a little bit more dynamic. A step in the right direction compared to how camp started.” The Grizzlies expect to have “more of an update” on Jackson – who was given a recovery timeline of four-to-six months at the end of June – around the start of the regular season, Jenkins added.
- Despite Dillon Brooks‘ up-and-down shooting numbers in recent years, the Grizzlies have consistently played better when he’s on the floor, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (subscriber link), who writes that Brooks remains a puzzle to be solved as he enters a contract year. The veteran forward will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023 if he doesn’t sign a contract extension with Memphis before then.
- In case you missed it, the Grizzlies made a series of minor roster moves on Monday morning. We have the full story here.