The Grizzlies depth and resourcefulness continue to impress.
Every night, you know what you are going to get from Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and others. But even when one of the main reasons for the Grizzlies now winning seven straight games (and 17 of their last 21) is not available, the rest of the team steps up and delivers.
Against Detroit, the return of Dillon Brooks and De’Anthony Melton was a welcome sight to see - one that was especially needed with Bane sidelined. However, while Brooks and Melton both played their parts, it was the early play of another Grizzlies player that recently returned that really set the tone for Memphis.
Ziaire Williams- A
As a byproduct of many Grizzlies being in and out of availability due to health and safety protocols, a few players such as John Konchar and Killian Tillie have earned their first career starts. On Thursday Ziaire Williams earned the nod, and in only his second game back from injury he delivered. A career high 14 points, all in the first half, and two steals really helped to set the tone for Memphis early.
Even though Williams has now only been back for two games, he is clearly more confident with his play. His confidence and awareness are on another level, and he is flashing the potential that made the Grizzlies highly value his skill set when he was drafted. While his role moving forward is not yet defined until the Grizzlies are at full strength, it is clear Williams is ready to take advantage of any opportunity he gets.
Dillon Brooks- B+
After the game, Dillon Brooks gave the Grizzlies a B+ of his own as far as their play so far this season. Brooks feels that while the Grizzlies have had plenty of success, there is so much more he and the team have to give. Brooks once again immediately stepped in after an absence and delivered with 18 points on efficient shooting and good defense against Cade Cunningham.
Brooks being back allows the Grizzlies to have their dynamic defensive duos in place once again. Whether its Brooks and Melton on the perimeter or Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr. anchoring the defense in the half court, the Grizzlies have their best defenders back. That will serve them well as January brings on a tough stretch of opponents.
Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke- A+
Brandon Clarke missed his own significant chunk of time earlier this year due to a knee injury, but thankfully has looked like his rookie-year self before and after he was unavailable. Tyus Jones has remained both productive and impressive all season as he has had a career offensive season. The Grizzlies now are benefitting from the play of the duo together.
For the fourth straight game, Jones and Clarke have combined for 25+ points. It has been a great source of support for the Grizzlies offense, especially when Ja Morant and the starters are off the court. It also shows just how much of a benefit the Grizzlies bench will be when they have a full roster. Along with the offense of Jones and Clarke, the defensive efforts of Kyle Anderson and Melton allow the Memphis Grizzlies to have a deep, productive, versatile bench that can help in many ways. Jones and Clarke are truly back to being one of the best duos of bench players in the league.