The Latest NBA Injury: Memphis Grizzlies’ Steven Adams to Miss Entire Season
Posted on: October 23, 2023, 10:28h.
Last updated on: October 23, 2023, 10:28h.
The NBA season faces its first major setback before even tipping off, as the Memphis Grizzlies’ center, Steven Adams, will be sidelined for the entire year due to a surgery to address a longstanding right knee injury.
Adams, who is 30 years old, missed 40 games in the latter half of last season due to a sprained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee. At the time, surgery was not deemed necessary.
However, after playing in only two preseason games which saw him struggle to rediscover his previous form, the Grizzlies and Adams have decided that knee surgery is the best course of action.
“A non-operative rehabilitation did not resolve ongoing knee instability,” said the Grizzlies in an official statement.
With Adams out, the Grizzlies will enter the new season missing two key starters from the previous year. Point guard Ja Morant will be absent for the first 25 games of the season as he serves a suspension for brandishing a firearm on social media.
In the offseason, the Grizzlies acquired veteran point guard Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics in a three-team trade involving the Washington Wizards and center Kristaps Porzingis. Smart, a former Defensive Player of the Year, will take over the point guard duties until Morant’s return.
Adams’ Absence and the Grizzlies’ Replacements
The Grizzlies initially anticipated Adams would only miss a few weeks when he first sustained his knee injury in January. However, he ended up sitting out the rest of the season and did not participate in the postseason.
At the time of his injury, Adams led the Grizzlies in rebounding, ranking as the NBA’s top offensive rebounder with an average of 5.1 per game. He also ranked fourth in the league for total rebounds (11.5), with averages of 9.6 points and 2.3 assists per game.
Adams played a vital role as the Grizzlies’ most valuable screener in pick-and-roll plays, often partnering with guards Morant and Desmond Bane.
Last season, Brandon Clarke filled in for Adams until he suffered an Achilles injury in March. The Grizzlies have not provided a timetable for Clarke’s return, but he is expected to miss a significant portion of the upcoming season.
As a result, head coach Taylor Jenkins has assigned Xavier Tillman as the starting center, with Santi Aldama currently serving as his backup.
Tillman, a standout from Michigan State and an early second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has started 43 games over the past three seasons, including 29 games last year. He averaged 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 19.3 minutes of play.
Aldama, a first-round draft pick from Loyola Maryland in the 2021 NBA Draft, started 20 games in the previous season. Aldama averaged 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 35.3% from beyond the arc.
In addition to Tillman and Aldama, the Grizzlies also have forwards Kenneth Lofton Jr. (5.0 points, 2.1 rebounds) and David Roddy (6.7 points, 2.8 rebounds) listed as options at the center position.
Grizzlies’ Season Outlook and Betting Odds
Despite the off-the-court issues surrounding Morant and the injuries to key players like Adams and Clarke, the Grizzlies managed to secure the second seed in the Western Conference last season with a 51-31 record. However, they were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
This season, the Grizzlies have an over/under win total of 45.5 games, taking into account Morant’s 25-game suspension.
Oddsmakers predict that the Grizzlies will make the playoffs, offering odds of -220 for them to qualify and +170 for them to miss out on postseason action.
As for their championship aspirations, the Grizzlies are considered a long shot with +3000 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA title. They are also listed at +1400 to win the Western Conference, ranking seventh on the futures board at DraftKings.
In their pursuit of a third-straight division title, the Grizzlies are slight favorites with +170 odds to win the Southwest Division. They narrowly edge out the Dallas Mavericks (+190 odds) and the New Orleans Pelicans (+200 odds). The Houston Rockets (+3500) and the San Antonio Spurs (+5500) are considered long shots.
Despite the hype surrounding the Spurs’ number one pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama, they currently have the lowest odds to win the Southwest Division.