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Fantasy Basketball Breakouts, Busts, And Locks - Memphis Grizzlies 2023 Outlook

The Grizzlies season ended last year in disappointment. They kicked Dillon Brooks to the curb in an attempt to help remake their image, but Ja Morant isn't helping their cause and will start the season suspended as his off-the-court struggles continue. Marcus Smart is now in town, but the rest of the roster looks quite similar. How will things shake out for fantasy this season with Morant suspended, Tyus Jones in Washington, Dillon Brooks in Houston, and Smart now in the Memphis backcourt?

If you play fantasy football, you'll probably recognize the format here as we had a series of preseason NFL articles that followed the same outline. The idea here is to hone in on players from each team that we see as undervalued for the upcoming season or who are possibly being drafted too high this preseason.

In this piece, you'll find a fantasy basketball breakout candidate, a fantasy basketball bust candidate, and a fantasy basketball lock (think steady production and being drafted correctly) for the Memphis Grizzlies based on early ADP for fantasy basketball drafts for the 2023-2024 season. Be sure to follow me on Twitter / X (@Maxadelphia) for more fantasy basketball insight (amongst other things).

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Fantasy Basketball Breakout: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Coming into the season as the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and in line to benefit both from Ja Morant's absence and his return, JJJ is an intriguing fantasy option this year.

In Morant's absence, there are 26.2 PPG from last season to be accounted for. Jackson isn't exactly known for his offensive prowess, but after a summer with USA Basketball, I do see him building on his career-high 18.6 PPG average from last season.

The biggest knock against JJJ last year was that he didn't rebound very well for a big man. At media day, he said improving at rebounding is on his mind, which is great to hear. If Jackson develops into a consistent 20/10 player, his fantasy value will go through the roof.

 

Fantasy Basketball Bust: Derrick Rose

Rose is a legend of the game, so I'll be nice here.

Whoever you take in the 16th round (Rose currently has a mid-16th round ADP) probably won't make or break your fantasy team. You probably can find someone with more long-term upside than a guy going into their 15th season who hasn't played more than 35 games in five years and saw career lows in every single statistical category last year.

I understand that Ja Morant is going to miss a bunch of time, but Derrick Rose just doesn't have much left in the tank and isn't likely to have a statistically significant season.

 

Fantasy Basketball Lock: Marcus Smart

Smart is currently sitting at a mid-ninth-round ADP, which I think would be totally fair *IF* Ja Morant wasn't suspended for 25 games. Morant being suspended for roughly 1/3 of the fantasy basketball season is a big deal, and Smart figures to be the Grizzlies' starting PG until Morant returns.

Smart's best fantasy assets have always been steals + assists, and he should have no issue keeping that up in a starting role. With Smart's arrival in Memphis, the Grizzlies' starting five will feature the two previous Defensive Player of the Year winners, and it stands to reason that the Grizzlies will be one of the best defenses in the NBA this season.

When Morant returns, Smart will likely be relegated to a fringe, but nice to have bench option. Until then, enjoy the first 25 games knowing you drafted the starting PG on a playoff team in the ninth round.

 

Conclusion

Ja Morant's 25-game suspension makes the idea of repeating as the West's #2 seed feel like a seemingly impossible task. The Grizzlies should be stout defensively all year, but without Morant, they lack a true alpha scoring option. I predict a slow, but not disheartening, start to the season will ultimately find the Grizzlies in the 6-7 spot by season's end.

This Grizzlies team has seen the public opinion shift on them in a big way after Morant's incident on Instagram Live, and we can't forget about Dillon Brooks' eventful playoff series against the Lakers. For fantasy, the Grizzlies starters look to face big workloads with no major competition behind them.

Thanks for reading and good luck in your leagues this year!



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