* Good luck holding on to the ball against this group… No team finished with more steals per game than the Grizzlies did (9.1 spg) last year. Their defense forced a turnover on 15.2 percent of possessions when opponents played in transition offense, per Synergy, which was the most frequent in the league. De’Anthony Melton, Brandon Clarke, Jaren Jackson, Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones, Xavier Tillman, Dillon Brooks and Steven Adams all had a steal percentage that ranked 70th percentile or better relative to their position this past season, via Cleaning the Glass.
* They will likely have their most potent offense ever… Good defense led to a strong offense for the Grizzlies. Memphis led the Western Conference in transition scoring (23.0 points per game) this past season, per Synergy. When including their games in the playoffs, according to Inpredictable, no team in the West needed less time than the Grizzlies did (11.3 seconds) to get their shot off. Ja Morant will have Memphis playing as one of the fastest teams in the league once again and it will assuredly lead to a potent offensive attack. Overall, no team in the West was able to get off more shot attempts per game than Memphis did (91.8) in 2020-21. This helped the Grizzlies score 112.0 points per 100 possessions this past season, per Basketball-Reference, which was actually their best mark since becoming a franchise in 1995. Don’t be surprised if they improve on that next year.
* Jackson could be primed for a massive leap forward… The league’s general managers were recently surveyed about a variety of topics, including predictions for the player most likely to have a breakout season in 2021-22. Memphis big Jaren Jackson Jr. received 17 percent of the possible votes, which was the highest mark of any player in the league. Jackson missed a significant amount of time last season due to a torn meniscus in his left knee but enters next season with a clean bill of health. That will help him get back on track as a floor-spacing, rim-protecting option in the frontcourt. He and Morant are one of the best young duos in the league and both played last year at just 21 years old.
* They have drafted guys who know their role… Memphis has a ton of guys on their roster who are able to contribute to a winning culture, which is a huge credit to their scouting department. So much of their talent has been grown from within the organization and the team is littered with players who embrace the team-first culture. It’s a “next-man-up” mentality across the board for the Grizzlies and that has helped guys like Clarke, Tillman and Desmond Bane enjoy success right away as pros.