It was recently announced that there was a slight adjustment to the three-team deal that landed the Boston Celtics Kristaps Porzingis. Now, the Los Angeles Clippers have backed out of the deal and were replaced by the Memphis Grizzlies. The amended deal now sends Porzingis, the 25th overall pick in the 2023 draft, and a 2024 Golden State Warriors top-four protected pick to the Celtics, Marcus Smart to the Girrzlies, and Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, and the 35th pick in the 2023 draft to the Washington Wizards.
While Smart will be a great fit for the Grizzlies, some have speculated that they gave up too much to receive the former Defensive Player of the Year. It has been reported that Smart was “blindsided” by the deal and “thought he was going to retire in Boston”. However, he will be ready to compete for the Grizzlies when the season kicks off.
Last season, Smart averaged 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 41.5% from the field and 33.6% from three. The offense has never been Smart’s strong suit, however, he does more than make up for it on the defensive end. With the Grizzlies missing their starting point guard for the first 25 games of the season due to a suspension, Smart will open up the season as the Grizzlies starter.
Along with this, the Grizzlies will also lose Dillon Brooks in free agency. While Brooks would end up being more of a distraction than anything else in his final few games with Memphis, he provided the Grizzlies with an elite defender. Smart will be an incredible replacement for him, and until Ja Morant returns from his suspension, Smart can also serve as the team’s primary ball handler.
It will be very interesting to see how head coach Taylor Jenkins will use Smart once Morant comes back from his suspension. With neither player being much of a shooter, it may be very difficult for them to share the court. As a result of this, there is a chance that Smart could serve as a 6th man for the Grizzlies once Morant is back and they could find a sharpshooting wing to play alongside Desmond Bane.
There is a strong chance that neither of the picks that the Grizzlies gave up will end up amounting to much. While they did give up two first-round picks, the 2023 pick is a very late-round pick, while the 2024 pick from Golden State likely will also be towards the tail end of the first round. Outside of losing Tyus Jones, the Grizzlies did not give up much in this deal.
However, Jones will be greatly missed from this roster. He was an incredible guard off of the bench. Jones was a great passer and a very efficient shooter from the outside. He was one of the main reasons why the Grizzlies did not struggle too much in the games that they played without Morant over the past two seasons.
With the enormous boost to the defense along with the veteran leadership Smart will bring, the Grizzlies did not overpay for him by any means.
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