Grizzlies Notes: Clarke, Biyombo, Tillman, V. Williams

Grizzlies forward/center Brandon Clarke, who is making his way back from a torn Achilles, is “trending in a really good direction,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said before Sunday’s game vs. Sacramento.

“His on-court has picked up, he’s still in one-on-zero kind of format right now. He’s starting to move a lot more,” Jenkins said. “Obviously, you’ve seen the videos of him elevate and dunk and all that stuff. We are still being smart obviously with the nature of the injury, but he’s trending in a good direction. I don’t think the timelines are really shifted. Hopefully in the next month or so, we’ll be able to ramp up a little bit more and have a better feel.”

Clarke told Marc J. Spears of Andscape last month that he’s aiming to return at some point right around the All-Star break. Based on Jenkins’ comments, it sounds like that timeline remains realistic.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • While the Grizzlies have played better since Ja Morant‘s return from his 25-game suspension, the team needs more from its centers, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Centers Bismack Biyombo and Xavier Tillman have been solid defensively, but neither player is a great rebounder or contributes much on offense, so Clarke’s eventual return will be a boon up front.
  • Improving their floor spacing and their rebounding numbers are important areas of focus for the Grizzlies if they still hope to secure a playoff spot this season, Cole says in another Commercial Appeal story. Reaching the postseason will be an uphill battle for a Memphis team that is currently six games back of the 10th-seeded Lakers.
  • In yet another article for The Commercial Appeal, Cole takes a look at how Vince Williams went from being a little-used to reserve to being a key defensive X-factor for the Grizzlies. The 47th overall pick in the 2022 draft, Williams logged just 105 total minutes in 15 games as a rookie, but is averaging over 20 minutes per night in 24 appearances so far this season. “I didn’t know he would be this type of defender, but I knew he had that dog in him,” teammate Desmond Bane said. “He’s shown that in his time being here. He got his opportunity, and he’s running with it.”
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