While Ja Morant is sidelined, one player has stepped up in a big way for the Memphis Grizzlies: Tyus Jones. Can he keep this up all season?
During their win over the Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant took a scary fall and had to be helped off the court in a wheelchair. It would later be found out that he suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain, and is expected to miss 3-5 weeks.
In his absence, there were a few candidates to step up and fill his spot. Fans and analysts alike believed that Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson were going to fill that role, however, one player who’s shown to be able to handle the added pressure is Morant’s lineup replacement in Tyus Jones.
This is Jones’ second season with the team, after coming here from a Minnesota Timberwolves on a 3-year, $28 million offer sheet. During his last season in Minnesota, he averaged around 10 points, five assists, and one steal per game in games where he started. Jones’ role has mainly been as a leader in the second unit, and as some relief off the bench for Morant and Dillon Brooks. Last season, in that role, he averaged 7.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and a career-high 37.9 percent from 3-point range.
Tyus Jones has stepped up for the Memphis Grizzlies
Last season, Jones helped the Grizzlies space production on this organization. Before the hiatus, when Jones played nearly every game, the Grizzlies averaged 112.6 points, 27.1 assists, and 8.0 steals per game on a shooting split of 47/35/76. During the bubble, which Jones missed due to an injury, Memphis averaged 112.6 points, 26.0 assists, and 7.0 steals per game.
While these numbers don’t seem to be too hurt by Jones’s absence, this is because a bigger emphasis was placed on the starters. During the regular season, Morant and Brooks averaged 31.0 and 28.9 minutes per game respectively. In the bubble, those two guys averaged 37.8 and 32.6 minutes per game. This would probably be one reason why nearly every single starter on the Grizzlies ended the bubble series injured.
This season, Jones’ production has dropped a little to start, but he’s rebounded and is performing as expected and putting up very respectable numbers for his role. In the three games he has not started in, Jones has averaged 5.3 points, 2.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.7 steals per game. Over these last three games, with a bump of about four minutes to his load, he’s averaged 8.7 points, 5.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals shooting 48.0 percent from the field.
Last game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Jones went all out. He recorded 14 points and five rebounds on 54.5 percent field goal shooting and 40.0 percent shooting from 3-point range. Along with the scoring and hustle displayed in the Memphis loss, Jones also moved the ball effectively with thee assists, as well as recording one steal.
Jones’s ability to protect the perimeter and move the ball efficiently makes him a valuable piece to this Memphis Grizzlies squad, and someone who shouldn’t quickly be overlooked. If anything, this time without Morant on the court could show everyone that.