The Memphis Grizzlies were once again one of the best teams in the 2022-23 regular season. His style of play is perfect for that turn of the season as he blows people out of the gym with his tremendous energy and impeccable defense that leads him to victory. Even without Ja Morant for a portion of the campaign, their record was still great in the deep Western Conference, with 51 wins ranking them No. 2 seeds.
In the playoffs, it was a completely different story as they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in six grueling games. His weaknesses were obvious, and his greatest weakness was his inexperience and immaturity in the face of adversity. Dillon Brooks was the catalyst for extra-curricular activities that had a negative impact on the young team, so the Grizzlies decided to let him walk in free agency.
After Brooks left and Morant was suspended for the first 25 games of the following season, Memphis knew it needed to win the point guard spot. The Grizzlies made several significant moves in that area, sending Tyus Jones to the Washington Wizards as part of a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics to acquire Marcus Smart. Memphis also signed veteran Derrick Rose for point guard depth.
marcus smart trade of grizzlies
There’s no doubt that the Grizzlies’ addition of Marcus Smart was one of the best moves they made so far in the offseason, even though they paid a heavy price to do so by giving up Jones and two first-round picks. Smart’s contribution will be crucial, especially with Morant sitting out the first 25 games of the season due to his latest suspension. Smart would be slotted into the starting point guard role in place of Morant, and he showed he could thrive in that slot during his time with the Boston Celtics.
There are times when offense can still be a concern as Smart enjoys taking random threes and competitive mid-range shots. It is on the defensive end where opponents will have headaches every night. Smart and Jaren Jackson Jr. will be the final two Defensive Player of the Year award winners on Memphis’ roster. Lead the charge.
Any NBA pundit knows that defense in the NBA will not work if things don’t go well as a team. Smart and Jackson are the perfect pawns to inspire their teammates to give their all on that side of the field. There are some other players like Steven Adams, Desmond Benn and Ze’aire Williams who will have a big role to play in the defense as well.
In addition to Smart’s defensive prowess, he brings grit and energy every night, even when the team is struggling. That never-say-die mentality is instilled in him, so the next task is to spread that to his teammates, especially the younger ones who haven’t yet experienced high-stakes NBA games.
Smart’s leadership alongside Derrick Rose was the reason the Grizzlies front office pursued him. Smart and Rose bring stability and guidance to a team that has tons of talent but still lacks the guidance to become a consistent force in the NBA when the games really matter.
Marcus Smart has had his problems in the past, but as he enters his 10th season in the Association, his maturity and leadership have greatly improved compared to his early days with the Celtics. He would prove to be Home Run Edition for Memphis.