Desmond Bane believes Marcus Smart is a perfect addition for the Grizzlies‘ style of basketball, writes Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. Memphis acquired the former Defensive Player of the Year from the Celtics in a three-team deal that was finalized late Thursday night, and Bane is thrilled to welcome him to the team.
Bane sees Smart as a replacement for free agent Dillon Brooks, who Memphis isn’t expected to re-sign. Bane said Brooks’ defensive prowess relieved him of the burden of having to guard the opponent’s best player, and he expects Smart to do the same.
“Marcus Smart brings a lot to the team,” Bane said. “I mean I think you guys are going to love him. He kind of brings that Dillon edge, a little bit more playmaking. It’s going to be fun.”
Bane added that he’s making progress after having toe surgery in mid-May, and he hopes to resume shooting soon. He’s expected to receive a rookie-scale extension after averaging a career-best 21.5 PPG this season.
There’s more from Memphis:
- At a post-draft press conference, general manager Zach Kleiman offered the Grizzlies’ first public statement on Ja Morant since his 25-game suspension was announced last week, Cole states in a separate story. Kleiman said team officials have maintained a dialogue with Morant and the relationship isn’t strained, but the troubled guard has to prove he can change his behavior. “We’re going to continue to pour into him, we’re going to continue to hold him to account for everything that he’s doing day-to-day,” Kleiman said. “It’s on him to follow through, but he’s going to have every opportunity to do so.”
- Second-round pick G.G. Jackson will likely receive a two-way contract and spend most of the upcoming season in the G League, Cole adds in another piece. The 18-year-old forward out of South Carolina was taken with the 45th pick Thursday night. “We see someone who for his size is incredibly skilled,” Kleiman said. “We see someone who is a hard worker and is committed to doing the hard work. … G.G. is going to have to put in the work to achieve his potential.”
- Kleiman expressed confidence that Steven Adams will be ready for the start of next season, Cole tweets. The team’s starting center wasn’t able to return after suffering an injury to his right knee in January. Kleiman believes Brandon Clarke will be available for a “good portion” of the season after tearing his left Achilles in March.