The Memphis Grizzlies finally made their major move this offseason by signing restricted free agent Kyle Anderson to a 4-year, 37.2-million-dollar deal. Kyle Anderson is a high basketball IQ player with a lot of grit to fit into the Memphis culture. Outside of the length of the deal, this free agent acquisition was a solid move given the players left in free agency.
Now, a few days removed from it being official, we, the fans, get to play around with all of the possible outcomes that could come from adding Kyle Anderson to this roster. With the Grizzlies finally (hopefully) fully healthy, it is fun to picture what this team will be like with the addition of Anderson, along with Summer League stud Jaren Jackson Jr. Theorizing about different lineups is what the off-season is all about.
So, with these two additions, what would some potential lineups look like? The goal is to create three lineups that will be the most successful for the Grizzlies next year. They will each be unique in their own way. Kyle Anderson is the perfect new player to let the possibilities run wild.
Let’s see what we can come up with.
Mike Conley, Wayne Selden Jr., Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marc Gasol
The best place to start is with the lineup that can get the Grizzlies the most offensive production. The first aspect to look towards is the spacing it will create on the floor. Gasol, of course, stretches the floor out unlike many fives in the game. This will let Kyle Anderson show off the underrated scoring he displayed in a few games in San Antonio last season since Kawhi sat out most of the season. It may have come intermittently, but Slo-Mo does possess some scoring off the dribble.
More important than any of the new guys, the best thing about this lineup is how exciting it will be with Mike back on the court playing again. It will feel normal seeing the familiar faces leading this team once again.
Wayne Selden Jr. also benefits in this lineup because he is not expected to create for himself. Having a point guard like Conley will help him tremendously compared to the circus the team had last year at this position. If Selden can focus on just hitting open threes when the defense collapses down, he will excel in this role.
The only question mark may be Jaren Jackson Jr. If Summer League has taught the team anything, the kid can stroke the three from deep which lines up ideally with the new NBA. He will play perfectly into this lineup that spaces the floor well clearing the paint for other players to score at will. But, since he is only a rookie, the guard on him has to be up. Coach Bickerstaff can’t overplay him or misuse him at a role he is not fit for. He is only a rookie and has to be used like one.
Depending on his progression, this could be a starting five lineup at some point this season.
Mike Conley, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marc Gasol
This is perhaps my favorite possible lineup with the new guys. This lineup encapsulates what is happening with the NBA. Teams are just playing five guys that can switch over and over and over again. It is what the Warriors do with their “Hampton Five” lineup, and it gets results in today’s league.
With this lineup, the Grizzlies would be able to do all the switching they ever wanted beyond the PG spot. Brooks is measuring in at 6’6”, Anderson at 6’9”, and Jackson at 6’11”. It is what you want for your Grit ‘N Grind mentality that seems to have made its return. Defense is the name of the game with these guys.
In contrast, the biggest worry will be scoring on the offensive end of the floor. Conley would have to run about all the offense with Brooks and Anderson not being the spark plugs needed. Even with the praise in the previous section, Slow-Mo still lives up to his name as being a bit slow laterally. It may not pair well with Brooks being similar in that nature.
That being said, that is why switching is so important in this lineup. This style of “position-less” basketball can work for the five guys featured. It will be very exciting to see knowing the Grit N Grind mentality is on display in this new style NBA.
Mike Conley, Wayne Selden, Kyle Anderson, JaMychal Green, and Marc Gasol
Finally, the last rotation to mention is the probable starting lineup on Opening Night. Barring an injury (that very well could happen to him) to Selden, this is most likely your starting five. The questions still surround Jaren Jackson’s progression as mentioned, but this lineup seems to be a conservative move for Coach Bickerstaff to fall back on.
The biggest concern about production from this lineup come from JaMychal Green. He is playing in a contract season which will possibly open him up to another contract the following off-season. Will he show off and be dominant with this pressure? Or will he become irrelevant as JJJ takes over and becomes the next big thing in Memphis sports? These answers will come very soon in the season.
A sneaky part of this opening lineup is the bench unit that comes with it. The next unit has Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson, and MarShon Brooks (depending on if he can strike lightning twice). That is a solid rotation at Bickerstaff’s disposal.
Above all else, the additions of Kyle Anderson and Jaren Jackson Jr. bring some drama to the lineups which the fans will see on a nightly basis. It gives Bickerstaff the latitude to get creative with the rotations he runs out there. No matter if it is for spacing, switching, or reliability, these Grizzlies will have a new look next season, and that brings the excitement the fans deserve.