The Memphis Grizzlies announced that First Team All-Defense big man Jaren Jackson Jr. will be returning to the lineup, after missing the first 14 games of the season recovering from an offseason foot surgery.
While the Grizzlies are off to a 9-5 start, Jackson’s absence has been felt. After boasting a top-5 defense last season, they are now outside the top-20 on that side of the floor. There’s evidence they could turn it up and surge up the rankings, as they had a more drastic emergence last year. Jackson’s return should serve as a catalyst in defensive improvement.
Jaren Jackson Jr in 2022:— seajay (@wsgseajay) November 14, 2022
▫️177 total blocks*
▫️73 total steals
▫️Led League in STOCKS
▫️Held Opponents to 52 FG% at the rim (lowest in the league)
▫️1st Team All Defense
▫️Anchored the 4th best defense in the league (109 DRTG)
He returns tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/eInsYbITIm
Jackson’s defensive impact is profound and transformative. His offensive improvements will be something to monitor this season. Could his shooting efficiency boost closer to his marks prior to his knee injury in 2020? Will he add more tricks to his bag on that side of the ball? If his offense soars while his defense remains on the same level, where does that catapult Jackson up within the NBA’s tiers of big men?
Those are questions that’ll be answered later. The biggest question of the Grizzlies’ offseason and season outlook has been answered — and it’s a good one.
It’s not 2023. Not Christmas. Not even Thanksgiving.
It’s now — a week before Thanksgiving, as the Grizzlies hit the 15-game mark.
The Memphis Grizzlies get the anchor and primary force of their defense back. Now, it’s time to see if the Grizzlies could make even louder noise in the wild, wild Western Conference — en route to their goal of bringing the Memphis Grizzlies their first NBA championship.