The Memphis Grizzlies have a strong starting front line. Marc Gasol is healthy and playing like his Defensive Player of the Year self again plus scoring 17.6 a night. Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. may not be stuffing the box score like a couple of other rookies, but he is playing strong defense, is getting buckets (12.9 points per game), and if you told me in three years he was the best player out of this draft class I would just nod.
Behind them, it gets a little thin. JaMychal Green is healthy again and looking good, but when Gasol goes to the bench the Grizzlies go to a smaller lineup with Green as the key big.
The hope is Joakim Noah still has enough in the tank to help a little. It’s been reported before that Noah and the Grizzlies were talking, now it looks like the deal gets finalized next week.
This will be a minimum deal.
If healthy and able to contribute, Noah fits the slow-it-down, grind-the-game-down style Memphis has gotten back to and succeeded with this season. This is a low-risk roll of the dice by Memphis. Noah has not played much in recent seasons — just getting in 53 games over his last couple of years in New York — but the more significant concern is that when he did play he has looked like a shell of his former DPOY self, slow of foot and slow to recognize coverages. Maybe that was health and rust, at least that’s what Memphis is betting on.
We may find out by next weekend.