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Garrett Temple fits with the “new” Memphis Grizzlies

The Garrett Temple trade is one of the biggest heists in Grizzlies’ history. Now let’s assess his potential role on this team.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Late Tuesday morning, a Woj bomb dropped and affected the cities of Sacramento and Memphis. One city (Memphis) rejoiced, as you would’ve thought they just won a NBA title. The other city (Sacramento) was sent in shambles, transforming the population of California’s capital into over a million Chicken Little’s.

Goodness, trading with the Sacramento Kings is like taking candy from a baby. First, they have the Nik Stauskas trade that resulted in a pick-swap with Philly in 2017 and sent this year’s pick pick to the Sixers — which is now in Boston’s control after the Fultz/Tatum trade. Then, they had the DeMarcus Cousins trade that yielded a stupid return.

Now this.

Ben McLemore is getting to go back to where his career started, trying to salvage his NBA life. Meanwhile, Deyonta Davis will join 5 other centers on the Kings’ roster. Sure, they got a second-round pick and two young players, but they received two STRUGGLING young players, while giving up a solid veteran at a position of need.


Anyway, Garrett Temple fits the Memphis Grizzlies’ offseason strategy. He’s a high-IQ basketball player that can defend multiple positions well and can shoot the 3-ball and the mid-range jumper. As a big guard (6’6”) he could serve as a secondary facilitator in both the starting lineup and second unit.

Temple isn’t going to wow people with his athleticism or his play, and he’s not going to push the needle for championship contention. However, whenever you can replace your two worst players for someone who doesn’t stink, you have to take the deal.

As the Grizzlies add another veteran to the puzzle, how does he fit into the rotation? Is he a starting-caliber player or a veteran off the bench?

Is he a starter?

The starting shoot guard question is an interesting one to ask. The Grizzlies have just added a third shooting guard to the mix, as the race is now between Dillon Brooks, Wayne Selden Jr., and Garrett Temple.

While they all possess similar skillsets — and no player is significantly better than the others — Brooks and Selden do offer more athleticism and upside to the position. However, Temple gives the Grizzlies a steady presence in the starting lineup, as he can switch onto multiple positions and spot up off the ball from deep.

On the other hand though, would the Grizzlies be that much better with a veteran like Garrett Temple in the starting lineup, especially when they could give young — but similarly skilled — players like Dillon Brooks or Wayne Selden more reps?

Temple could very well be in the starting lineup...on occasion. He gives Conley more chances to play off the ball and look to score. In addition, there’s more space on the floor, something the Grizzlies have lacked for years. If Conley is out with injury, they could throw Garrett Temple out there, if they’re not comfortable with Andrew Harrison or Jevon Carter.

Even though he could be a steady presence in the starting lineup, it’s not worth sacrificing valuable minutes to someone that could be a small cornerstone in the post-Conley/Gasol era.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Garrett Temple: Insurance

After this trade, the Memphis Grizzlies have a roster full of players you could trust for at least 20 minutes. Gone are the days of “Tank Commander” Ben McLemore and questions of Deyonta Davis’ desire to play basketball. You could finally watch a Grizzlies game without absolutely cringing at a lone player and questioning his fit in the NBA.

The Grizzlies have a fascinating problem at the shooting guard position. As highlighted above, Dillon Brooks and Wayne Selden are two intriguing players for the future. MarShon Brooks shouldn’t be glued to the bench until his late-season excellence is proven to be a fluke.

Where does that leave Garrett Temple?

He could eventually be in the rotation, but at the moment, he might be a night-to-night insurance plan. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a luxury the Grizzlies haven’t had the past few seasons.

If Wayne Selden isn’t close to “Summer League Selden,” you have a stable veteran like Temple to weather the storm. If MarShon Brooks isn’t the guy he was last season, Temple can take his place. Mike Conley or Chandler Parsons out, again? Temple can play both the 1 and 3.

He’s essentially a Swiss-army-knife player that could be plugged into any spot on any night. Even if he doesn’t play all that much, his leadership and veteran guidance will be huge in the Grizzlies’ younger locker room.

For the first time since the second half of their seven-year playoff run, the Grizzlies have 11th, 12th, 13th guys they can turn if a player goes down or is struggling mightily. Jarell Martin and Omri Casspi both fall into this category, but Garrett Temple stands out here as the lone “insurance” for both the guard and wing positions.

What a luxury to have.

The only thing sexy about the Garrett Temple addition is the low cost to acquire him. He’s not flashy or anything, but he’s a gritty competitor that relies more on skill than athleticism — a main priority for the Grizzlies this offseason. However, this move ensures immediate competitiveness without sacrificing long-term flexibility.

Shout out to the Memphis Grizzlies for another fantastic move this offseason.