The 2021-22 NBA season will attempt to be as close to a normal NBA season as possible after two years playing through a pandemic. The COVID situation in the United States has not improved as much as expected, but the league expects to get a full 82 games in while pushing for its players, coaches and staff to get vaccinated.
DKNation will be going through all 30 teams ahead of the season, looking at how the roster shapes up for the 2021-22 campaign. Here we take a look at the Memphis Grizzlies, who will look to surround budding star Ja Morant with enough talent to compete for a championship.
Memphis Grizzlies 2021-22 Outlook
Key additions: Steven Adams, Marc Gasol, Ziaire Williams, Jarrett Culver
The Grizzlies added frontcourt depth and brought back a fan favorite in Gasol, but the true head-scratcher here is Williams. The Stanford product was considered extremely raw entering the NBA draft and early Summer League returns have not been good. Culver is a nice rotation player with potential.
Key departures: Jonas Valanciunas
Valanciunas’ departure leaves a big hole in the middle of the court, something Jaren Jackson Jr. will largely be responsible for filling. Adams is strong defensively, but he’s not going to be dropping 17.1 points per game like Valanciunas did for Memphis. This is a sizable loss, especially if Jackson Jr. struggles.
The goal is to make the playoffs and win a playoff series. The Grizzlies have a budding star in Ja Morant, along with a host of young two-way players who can break out this season. There’s enough veterans to hold this group together during some rough stretches of the season, but probably won’t be of much use on the court in the playoffs.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Brandon Clarke
This will be Clarke’s third year in the league. He’s coming off a down season shooting the ball, but his defensive chops are still fantastic and he’s going to see the floor a lot in Memphis. With Morant and Jackson Jr. occupying most of the opponent’s attention every night, Clarke has a great chance to emerge as a complementary scorer while still doing the great things he does defensively. This is a big year for him, and that makes him someone to monitor in DFS and fantasy drafts as a value player.