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The Grizzlies youth and history

The Trio of Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Jaren Jackson Jr., is currently loading up to take the NBA over. It starts as the trio is on track to Headline the Rising Stars Game at NBA All-Star Weekend.

2019-20 Memphis Grizzlies Media Day Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies young core of Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Jaren Jackson Jr. have been an underrated NBA headline to start the season. The trio has the potential of being something serious in Memphis for a long time. The potential is there that these three “kids” could represent the city of Memphis and the Grizzlies organization at All-Star Weekend in Chicago in February.

Three young guys representing the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA’s annual ‘Rising Stars’ Challenge. Memphis has never had three guys in the rising star challenge in franchise history, and hasn’t had two players in it since the 2009-10’ season where Marc Gasol and OJ Mayo represented Memphis.

All-Star Rookie And Sophomore Practice Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been nearly 11 years..

It’s been 11 years since an NBA team had three participants in the Rising Stars challenge. The last team to have three participants? The Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008-09 season, where the Thunder sent Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook to All-Star weekend.

NBA All-Star All-Star Practice 2018 Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies Have Next:

2019-20 Memphis Grizzlies Media Day Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images

Barring injuries, regression, or a zombie apocalypse, three Memphis Grizzlies should be featured in February's ‘Rising Stars’ game in Chicago. A glimpse at a bright future that Memphis has in front of them, while enjoying their current state - progressing.

The Silent Assassin

The 21st pick in the NBA Draft Brandon Clarke, Clarke has been mostly featured off the bench for the Grizzlies, but as of late Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has Clarke finishing games with Jackson Jr.

Clarke has played well above expectations (from a league wide standpoint). Clarke has the fifth best field goal percentage in the NBA right now shooting 64.9 from the field, and 46.4 from deep this season in 28 attempts. Having those stats, maintaining those stats, and continuing to produce highlight plays nightly, Clarke should be a lock for the Rising Stars game in February.

Point God

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Then, there is the number two overall pick in the NBA draft Ja Morant. Morant who has played 22 games this season has scored double-digits in 20 of those games, while averaging 6.5 assists, and around 1.3 steals per game. The kid has superstar potential right now, and is already getting league wide respect as he makes his name for himself as a fearless player.

Watching Morant’s game continue to grow, and his attention to learning the game every night, is special. Each night you’ll most likely find Ja talking with Coach Jenkins about which play to run, and how the previous play could’ve been run better.

Morant is an early front runner for Rookie of the Year, and he deserves to have that chatter (I swear I’m not biased). Morant is averaging a rookie high in points per game 18.9, assists with 6.5 a game, and second in rookies with 1.3 steals a game.


Lastly, this unit is led by their “elder” statesman in Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson Jr., who is actually younger in terms of age than both Clarke and Morant. Jackson Jr., holds the advantage in terms of years in the league which is only one season, but it counts.

Jackson Jr. is having quite the up and down sophomore season, which was expected. New coach, new system, and he is handling it all quiet well. Jackson is set up to take off by season’s end and be the guy for this Grizzlies offense. Given Jackson’s abilities at the offensive end, he makes Jenkins ‘five out’ offense work.

I say Jackson is having an ‘up and down’ season, but he is averaging five more points per game this season at 17.1, shooting more three pointers than last season by four more attempts, while also raising his percentage to 40 percent, which Jaren has also raised by five percentage points.

Jackson, like Morant and Clarke, seems to be a lock for the rising stars challenge in February (barring anything serious happening).

Three Grizzlies at All-Star weekend, seems crazy, but it could potentially come to fruition. In a season of unknowns, and progression for the youth, seeing three Grizzlies on All-Star Weekend is definitely something to look forward to, along with their bright future in Beale Street Blue.