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The Rise of JaMychal Green

JaMychal Green has had to take on his biggest challenge yet this season as he’s taken on the role of Memphis’ starting power forward. Fortunately for the Grizzlies, JaM has been stepping up every night.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

JaMychal Green has had various roles since joining the Grizzlies during the 2014-15 season. Last year, Green was given more minutes gradually as his teammates went down with injury, but his role definitely wasn’t consistent then. At times, he was relied on for more minutes and had a starting role. At other times last year, he sat the bench and played minimal minutes.

Entering this season, however, Green was given a new role under Memphis’ new coach. David Fizdale made the surprising move to start JaMychal Green over Zach Randolph, which many thought to be controversial. After all, Zach Randolph was a proven veteran, while Green was considered a younger, less experienced role player.

Many questions were then presented after the announcement. Could Green handle this role? Would the load be too much for the 26 year old? Could he work alongside players like Conley and Gasol in the starting lineup? Would he be able to give Memphis consistent production, and could he expand his range on the offensive end?

To all those questions, Green had a resounding answer:

JaMychal Green has not replaced Zach Randolph, but he has given the Grizzlies spacing, youth, and athleticism in the starting lineup. Zach Randolph has still been coming off the bench and producing consistently. In fact, he could easily be a candidate for sixth man of the year if he continues producing like he has been.

But Green has added a new element to the Grizzlies. Similar to Tony Allen, Green brings another level of energy to Memphis. He hustles, he claws, and he goes for every loose ball.

That’s why JaMychal fits in so well. He has embraced the grit n’ grind, all heart philosophy the Grizzlies embody. Yet, he doesn’t represent the slower style of grind-it-out basketball the Grizzlies have displayed in the past. No, rather, he fits more with Fizdale’s style, which is a hybrid of what Memphis has been in the past. Now, Memphis is trying to run a faster-paced offense while maintaining their gritty identity on the defensive end. Green has fit into that style seamlessly this season, as he offers speed, athleticism, and toughness.

One of the most entertaining aspects of JaMychal Green’s game is his dunking abilities, which exemplify his athleticism:

With the injuries piling up once again, Green is being relied on even more than at the start of this season. With Zach Randolph’s current absence (Ed. Note - ZBo is expected to return 12/6 against the Sixers -KY), Green really has to take a heavier load. But the past handful of games have presented more evidence that Green is settling just fine into his new role. In the last 10 games, he’s averaging 11.4 PPG and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field. He has a PER of 13.28 on the season and an offensive rating of 114 per 100 possessions.

Needless to say, JaMychal Green is finally getting his chance to shine, and he isn’t failing to impress. He’s not only a force on the inside, but he’s improved his shooting from beyond the arc as well, although his shooting percentage from three is only 34.2% on the season:

On the defensive side, Green is only averaging 0.8 blocks per game, but he did have 3 blocks in Saturday’s win against the Lakers. He provides a decent presence in the paint on defense, even though he’s not the best one-on-one defender. Defensive metrics have him as one of the league’s better big men on D.

While JaMychal Green may not be Memphis’ next superstar, he certainly is fulfilling the role of a dependable role player, which is what the Grizzlies need beside Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Until the likes of Chandler Parsons and Conley return, players like JaMychal Green have to step up. Luckily, he’s been up to the challenge so far.

If Green can continue to improve his outside shooting and his presence on the defensive end, Green can make an even bigger impact than he already has.

It’s been fun so far to watch the growth and rise of JaMychal Green, and it appears to be just the beginning.

Follow @sbngrizzlies