What we are seeing right now is a superstar in the making.
Twenty-one games is enough. The sample size is plenty. No more asking ourselves, “Is this a fluke?”, “Will this continue?”, “Should we wait to see some more?”
Enough is enough. Jaren Jackson Jr. has arrived.
The former Michigan State Spartan is special. He has it all. He can score from the paint and shoot from outside. He can play defense. He can get boards. He can dish the rock.
Most of all, he is tough as nails and backs down to nobody.
We saw it first-hand against the Brooklyn Nets. The kid put on a show and carried this team. The one thing the Grizzlies have been lacking for almost ten years is a player they can count on to take over late in games. Jaren Jackson Jr. did just that.
You can have your Luka Doncic or you can have your DeAndre Ayton.
They are great players, but the Memphis Grizzlies will be just fine with JJJ and sit now with no second thoughts or doubts about that pick.
It took a double-overtime thriller in Brooklyn to pull this game out and there are reasons to be concerned.
What a superstar does for your team is let those concerns go to the back burner for a bit. He can make up for the mistakes and shortcomings. We can sit here and talk about the late game struggles this team has faced four games in a row. We can talk about the defensive lapses and the sloppy play that almost led to a fourth consecutive loss.
Those will be addressed later. Right now, it is all about the rookie. His heroics in regulation allowed this team to push it to overtime where the veteran, Mike Conley II, took over and brought the dub back to Memphis.
Grizz fans should feel excited for two reasons. The first reason is that the Grizzlies sit at 13-8 which is better than we all expected. The second reason is that they have a franchise cornerstone.
He is in such a unique situation compared to the other rookies as well. The Suns, Mavericks, Kings and other lottery teams drafted high because they simply were not good. The Grizzlies were a playoff team over-plagued by injuries in the 2017-2018 team. That might have been a blessing in disguise.
The Grizzlies had a down year and were able to select Joel Embiid’s and Kevin Garnett’s hybrid with the fourth overall pick (comparison of playing style, not of how great he is or will be).
Those other teams will either miss the playoffs entirely or need a series of fortunate events to push them into the back end of the playoff seeding.
The Grizzlies will be in the playoffs and the rookie will immediately find himself in big games. To get playoff experience in his first season is going to add on to his maturity and skills as he will be going against the best of the best.
It is easy to succumb and be a prisoner of the moment. It is easy to look ahead and get carried away.
This is a case of neither.
This is a case of a playoff team who added one of the brightest young studs in the league.
We all know what is going on with the Memphis Tigers basketball program.
Now the Grizzlies are in a desirable and envious spot for the foreseeable future.
The hoops scene in the 901 has never been brighter.
Feature Image [Getty Images]