By the end of the 2020-21 season, it looked like the Memphis Grizzlies had a relative sense of security at the backup point guard spot. Ja Morant had taken a step forward as a player and when he was off of the floor, Tyus Jones was filling in as his number two guy.
And even though Jones will never be mistaken for an NBA All-Star, he got the job done efficiently and maintained solid offense with the rotational players. His best stat, which I love to bring up, is his league-leading 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. It’s a strong example of how his numbers may not jump off of the page, but he’s not causing any issues on the floor.
It came as a shock, however, when the Grizzlies listed Jones on the trade block earlier this offseason, especially considering the optimism surrounding him as Morant’s backup.
A Memphis Grizzlies-Los Angeles Clippers trade only further complicated the situation
Over three weeks and a couple of trades later and Tyus Jones is still a member of this Grizzlies team. In all likelihood, Memphis simply hasn’t found a team that needs a 25-year old point guard on a contract year to trade him to. But it’s not too late.
Jones’ situation took another odd turn when the Grizzlies traded the Clippers, acquiring Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley, two veteran point guards. Beverley has already been repackaged and shipped off to Minnesota and Rondo could hold the same fate. But maybe Memphis is trying to hold onto Rondo as a mentor for Ja Morant in 2021.
Think about it — it still makes sense to trade Jones away, as the Grizzlies are not going to be willing to sign a 25-year old backup point guard to a large contract after the best season of his career. If they’re going to let a guy walk, why not have it be a 35-year old vet like Rondo, who is widely considered one of the best pure point guards of his generation?
As of right now, that’s purely speculation. In truth, Rondo and Jones could very well be off of the roster by the start of the 2021 season, which leads me to the next possibility at the backup point guard spot.
At the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, I would have called the prospect of having Bane run the point for the Grizzlies insane. That said, the former TCU guard showed that he was fully capable of running an offense in this year’s Summer League competition. Bane looked comfortable and stepped up as a leader, averaging 24.0 points per game, the third-highest average out of all NBA players who participated in Summer League games.
Bane tacked on four assists per contest, though I’d be lying if I said he looked like a strong passer. He averaged three turnovers a game. If Bane were to become the team’s backup point guard, it would take much more development than a single summer league season. Even so, this is a strong possibility for the future.
In the end, we’re still only halfway through this offseason. The Grizzlies will likely make at least one more trade, so this situation is still extremely fluid.