Just when we thought the Memphis Grizzlies finished making moves in the offseason, at least for now, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a small “Woj bomb” on Tuesday morning, revealing that the Grizzlies have made a trade for forward Garrett Temple:
Sacramento is finalizing a trade to send forward Garrett Temple to Memphis for Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis and cash, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2018
This is a significant move for a Grizzlies team looking to return to the playoffs in the upcoming season. After adding Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jevon Carter in the draft and signing Kyle Anderson and Omri Casspi in free agency, Memphis has added another defensive-focused player to their roster. Only this time, Temple comes in via trade. He brings a respected presence in the locker room and solid shooting.
Temple is entering the final year of a three year, $24 million contract he signed with the Sacramento Kings in the infamous summer of 2016. Temple averaged 8.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and just about one steal per game last season, playing 25 minutes per game on the rebuilding Kings.
Temple has consistently graded out as an above-average defender, and excelled guarding isolations last season (albeit in a limited sample size). At 6’6”, Temple has the size and mobility to guard on the perimeter and wings, and adding him to Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson give the Grizzlies several capable defenders to throw at opposing offenses.
It will be interesting to see if Memphis slides Brooks over to start at shooting guard or Temple begins the season as the starter, but both players provide similar skill sets, in terms of solid defense and 3-point shooting.
After struggling as a shooter throughout the majority of his career, Temple has improved tremendously from beyond the arc, as he shot above 37 percent in each of the past two seasons, including 39.2 percent last season on 3.5 attempts per game. If Temple continues to shoot at such a high clip, he will provide much-needed shooting for Memphis.
Looking at the other side of the trade, the Grizzlies gave up Ben McLemore and Deyonta Davis in the deal (along with a 2021 2nd round pick and cash considerations), which should make Grizzlies fans fairly happy.
McLemore struggled in his first season with Memphis, as he shot below league average from beyond the arc (on less attempts per game than Temple), while looking lost on defense. Sure, McLemore is just 25 years old, but after several seasons in the league, the writing looks to be on the wall in terms of his ability to contribute to winning basketball.
While Davis showed modest improvements last season, he has continued to look unaware at times and quite frankly, slow to adjust and react to plays as they unfold. His summer league had been disappointing, and he had been discussed as a potential cut from the roster (as had McLemore). When you factor in that these two players were on the bubble of the roster and rotation, to be able to move them for a quality 3 and D wing is a big win for the Grizzlies.
If it wasn’t already clear, Memphis is all in on returning to grit and grind basketball. This move certainly pushes that style of play, but adds more shooting and offensive capabilities. And all for the cost of removing two struggling Grizzlies players that never seemed to develop. That is what you call killing two birds with one stone.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.