Memphis Grizzlies newcomer Josh Jackson is taking a different approach in year three with his second NBA team. The Josh Jackson that was taken with the number four pick in the 2017 NBA draft is a thing of the past, and the Grizzlies are partnering with Jackson to save his NBA career.
Saving players careers is something that isn’t new to Memphis, and the Grizzlies organization. The Grit N’ Grind Era was started around Zach Randolph who saved his career in Memphis. Acceptance is the first step when engaging a brighter future, and Jackson agreeing with the Grizzlies to start things slowly is the first step.
Sources: The Memphis Grizzlies and former No. 4 pick Josh Jackson have agreed for him not to join the team in training camp, and start the season in the NBA G League.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 27, 2019
The 2018-2019 NBA season wasn’t a great one for the Phoenix Suns as a team, but for Josh Jackson it was another rollercoaster of a season. Jackson continued to build on his offensive numbers in 2019, but his efficiency became even more of an issue. Of course, playing on a team that struggles to score like the Suns will make a player force things, and you saw that in Jackson’s numbers last season.
Finishing the 2019-20 season, Jackson averaged 11.5 PPG, on 41 percent shooting. The downside? Not only did Jackson lower his points per game, but he increased his turnover numbers as well, with 2.2 turnovers per game. Doing too much on a bad team? Possibly, but his overall offensive IQ has been in question since day one.
The Grizzlies don’t necessarily need another guard to add to their already deep rotation, but adding a talent like Jackson could help provide scoring from the wings. Jackson’s projected role is a little grey at the moment, but accepting a role with the Grizzlies G-League team the Hustle gives us an idea that he shouldn’t be down there long.
With that being said, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jackson starting for the Grizzlies before season ends. Of course, the they are in no rush, because of their depth at the position right now, but if Jackson performs on and off the court, he will in Beale Street Blue sooner than you may think.
2019-2020 Best Case Scenario:
Best-case scenario would be if Jackson takes advantage of all of his opportunities both in Southhaven with the Hustle, and then when he gets to Memphis with the Grizzlies. On and off the court, finding his true identity on a solid roster like the Grizzlies will define where Jackson takes his career from here. Being a natural offensive scorer helps, but this season he will have to find out where those talents fit in Memphis.
Becoming a consistent player throughout the season, and possibly starting before season’s over, is Josh Jackson’s best case for the 2019-2020 season.
2019-2020 Worst Case Scenario:
Worse case scenario for Jackson would be his past catching up to him. The off the court issues, along with his stunt in growth. Going from a second or third option on a team like the Suns, to starting the season in the G-League and working towards that role again can only go one of two ways.
Jackson has one season left on his rookie contract (unless Memphis opt’s into his final season this summer), so his relationship is fragile with not only the Grizzlies, but with the NBA in general. If Jackson doesn’t clean his act up, he will not see FedEx Forum, and won’t finish the season with the Hustle either.
With that being said, the hope is that Jackson does clean up and contributes to this Grizzlies team this year.
Overall expectations surrounding Jackson entering year three are just as grey as his NBA future. There are none. Memphis went months without introducing Jackson as a Grizzly, and it makes sense since he will start with the Hustle. So, expectations seem low because there is no guarantees that Josh will be in Beale Street Blue. Overall expectations seem to be see where he is at a month from now playing with the Hustle.
Evaluate in a month, and go from there, but you get a feeling that the Grizzlies are prepared to move with or without Jackson on this roster.