Can the blazers be this year's grizzlies?

The grizzlies were possibly the biggest surprise that came out of last season. With a record of 56-26, they ended up the 2nd seed in the West. They had the 5th best Offensive rating at 114.6 with the 4th best defensive rating at 109.0. They are no doubt a very impressive basketball team, but if you showed me their roster before the season I maybe wouldn't have even predicted they would make the playoffs. Now, with a very similar roster heading into the 2022-23 season, many experts still have them in the top 4 in the west, while the blazers are a fringe playoff team. I want to look at our rosters side by side to see if, ON PAPER, we are really that much worse as a basketball team.

Memphis Portland
PG Ja Dame
SG Bane Simons
SF Brooks Little/Hart
PF Jackson jr Grant
C Adams Nurkic

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Ja vs Dame

Dame > Ja. There is a world where Dame isn't what he was 2 years ago and this would be a discussion today, but with what we've been hearing about Dame's health, this won't be a discussion a few weeks into the season.

Bane vs Simons

Desmond Bane took a huge step forward last season and was even in the conversation for some people for Most Improved Player last season alongside his teammate and eventual winner of the award Ja Morant. Bane is a better volume 3 pt shooter and a much better defender than Ant. Ant, however, is a much better shot creator and has shown glimpses of being a fantastic facilitator. Right now, I'd give the edge to Bane because of his defensive versatility but it is not by much. Is it out of the question for Ant to be a better piece than Bane next season? If Ant replicates his ~48% on catch and shoot 3s with Lillard on the court I think it's very possible.

Brooks vs Little

As an Oregon native it is fun to see Dillon Brooks ball out, but when they are playing the blazers I always hope he is the player on the grizzlies that shoots the ball. He sometimes becomes a black hole for their offense, but his aggressiveness and competitiveness on the defensive end will always get him a place on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if the grizzlies start Zaire Williams over Brooks. Little is a big question mark for the blazers. He was just beginning to blossom in his growing role when he went out for the season with the shoulder injury. This position is definitely what his holding the blazers back from what they could be. Barring a breakout season from Little, I think Brooks or Zaire Williams has the position advantage here.

Grant vs Jackson Jr.

I have not seen either of these players play very much. From what I know Jaren Jackson Jr is a better post defender and shot blocker. I know he has been able to knock down the 3 a high clip in the past and can also score inside. I know Grant is a better scorer off the dribble and I think he has more success guarding smaller positions such as the 3 and 2. Jackson is also a much better rebounder. I give the edge to Jackson Jr because he has the chance to be in the running for defensive player of the year if he has a great season. Jerami Grant may be put into a similar situation as ROCO last year where we depend on him a little too much on the defensive end.

Adams vs Nurkic

Nurkic is definitely a better basketball player than Adams on paper but the role adams has on the grizzlies fits so well around their roster. But that is not what this post is about. Nurkic is a better scorer, facilitator, and defender(could be wrong about this). Adams is a better screen-setter and rebounder. Nurkic is a fair amount better on paper than Adams. I am aware that the Grizzlies like to run with Clarke and Jackson jr in at 4 and 5 but we will ignore that for right now.


I think it is fair to think that the blazers are very close to the Grizzlies ON PAPER with advantages at the PG and C position. With Ant and Little being positioned well for breakout seasons as well as grant playing next to a superstar guard, the blazers starting lineup has a lot of potential. It is all up to Chauncey Billups to bring everybody together and create a winning basketball team just like Taylor Jenkins has.

This is my first time posting anywhere so let me know what you think. I am trying to get really into blazers basketball this season!

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