Grizzlies’ unfortunate injury situation could present great opportunity for Kings

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

You should never wish for a player’s injury, especially if they are as much fun to watch as Ja Morant. Losing Morant to a shoulder injury for the rest of the season is a huge blow to the Grizzlies, who finally started to look like a good team again, and just basketball fans in general.

For a lot of other teams, this presents some nice opportunities, however, and one of those teams is the Kings. 

In the standings, it won’t affect them much. Due to Morant’s suspension and injuries to various role players, the Grizzlies are already all the way down sitting in 13th place in the West. 

The Kings still have to face the Grizzlies twice this season, however, and no matter how well Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marcus Smart play, they are less of a threat without their star point guard. I’m not saying that it will be two sure wings, but not having to worry about how to guard Morant is always a relief to anyone facing Memphis.

Grizzlies’ struggles could open up the trade market

The real opportunity for the Kings lies in what this situation might do to the trade market. Bane, Jackson, and Smart have all been playing well, securing quality wins over the Suns and the Mavericks without Morant. 

Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that they will make the postseason. We have seen other teams fully commit to thanking in similar situations, which often means shipping out role players with value in favor of playing younger guys.

This is where the Kings could come in and maybe secure some interesting players. Marcus Smart would obviously be the most interesting player assuming that Bane and Jackson are off the table. His defense and tenacity could do wonders in the guard rotation. 

If he becomes available, he won’t come cheap, however. The only reason the Grizzlies would trade Smart would be to get draft capital and trade assets to make a big move for next season. This is not a rebuild. They are only going to be bad for one season. 

Next season, Morant and Adams will be back, Bane and Jackson will be much better players after fighting through this season, and Ziaire Williams and Vince Williams Jr. could grow into solid role players on the wing until then. They will want to compete then and either need Smart or the option to upgrade. 

If Smart becomes available, a bidding war will start, as he could help pretty much any team trying to contend in the playoffs, and the Kings should definitely be a part of it. 

Smart is not the only interesting Grizzlies player, though. Bismarck Biyombo, for example, could be a solid backup big, who shoots efficiently around the basket and can protect the rim. 

He averages 1.2 blocks per game at this point. No Kings player even comes close to that. Right now, Malik Monk leads the team with 0.6 blocks per game. If your backup ball handler is your best shot blocker, you have a problem. Biyombo could be an interesting solution.

Sticking with the bigs, Santi Aldama is also worth looking at for the Kings. As a 7’0” big who shoots 34.1 percent from three on 4.6 attempts per game, he brings a similar offensive style of play as Trey Lyles even though the latter is shooting much better right now. He would allow the Kings to play both in a floor-stretching lineup without giving up too much size on defense. 

Other than Smart, no Grizzly who might become available would move the needle for the Kings, but the opportunity to make some tweaks to the bench should not be overlooked. Everyone in and around the Kings should definitely keep an eye on what is happening in Memphis.