The New Era Begins in a Blaze of Heat.
The Memphis Grizzlies begin their 2019/2020 season on the road against the Miami Heat, in a contest that includes the first opening day Grizzlies roster to not feature at least one member of the beloved Core Four of Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol since the 2006/2007 season.
The era of Grit and Grind has come to an end, and in its place, a young roster full of potential has emerged.
2018/2019 All-Rookie First Team member Jaren Jackson Jr. returns to the court, and will be joined by the number 2 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, Ja Morant.
The tandem of Jackson and Morant is expected to be Memphis’ representation in the seemingly league wide trend of high caliber duos teaming up. it makes this NBA season one of the most anticipated in recent memory with an increase in parity and unpredictability. This anticipation extends to Memphis too, as fans and media members alike have widely declared the duo as the present and future of the team.
Joining Jackson and Morant in the projected starting lineup is veteran center Jonas Valančiūnas, who has been dealing with a foot injury but still expects to play on Wednesday, as well as fellow vet swingman Jae Crowder. It’s seemingly fitting that Valančiūnas and Crowder have emerged as veteran presences in the locker room, considering their arrival to Memphis was in the direct aftermath of the transition from one era of Grizzlies basketball to the next. Both players came to Memphis through trades that resulted in a member of the aforementioned Core Four leaving Memphis, and both players figure to have a great presence and voice in the team.
The final starting spot at shooting guard has come down to a battle between Dillon Brooks or Grayson Allen, and regardless who takes the spot opening night, both players are projected to get solid minutes. The rotation features players such as Tyus Jones, Kyle Anderson, Bruno Caboclo, Brandon Clarke, Solomon Hill, and Marko Guduric, all of whom figure to get minutes and looks as new head coach Taylor Jenkins experiments with how certain players fit into each night’s matchups.
Speaking of matchups, the Grizzlies will play against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. The Heat have had changes of their own this offseason, most notable of which is the addition of 4-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, as well as drafting Tyler Herro, whose stellar preseason play has granted him dark horse Rookie of the Year votes.
Also new to the team is former Portland Trail Blazer Myers Leonard, who comes to the team in a trade that sends Hassan Whiteside to Portland. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what Miami’s starting lineup and rotation will look like. The team has a veteran crew, and their notable players consist of Justice Winslow, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Derrick Jones Jr., and former Memphis Grizzlies forward “Lebron” James Johnson. This season, the Miami Heat look to be a team that can rise the ranks of the Eastern Conference, and will be a formidable opening day opponent for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Predictions for this opening contest and by extension, the season as a whole?
Who the heck knows.
And honestly, that makes it a little more exciting. This is the first year in a long time where nobody seems to know for sure what to expect out of a Memphis Grizzlies team. It’s only upside in this journey into the unknown and the Grizzlies have the youth and gumption of a team that creates undeniable intrigue, which will make the 2019-2020 Grizzlies must-watch TV.
More NBA Content on The Barn
- (Not Terribly) Bold predictions for the Western Conference
- Predicting the Grizzlies Road Back to the Playoffs
- The BarnBurner’s 2019-20 NBA Preseason Awards
- Grizzlies: 5 takeaways from pre-season contest vs NZ Breakers
- The LaMelo Ball Scouting Report