MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters during Grizzlies Media Day the Jonas Valanciunas trade opened up opportunities for other players to really step up, like Jaren Jackson Jr.
According to Jackson’s teammates, he is the cornerstone of the team, a key element for a winning season for the Grizzlies.
“It speaks for itself that Jaren is so important to what we can do,” said Jenkins. “I obviously got a taste of that my first season here, just getting him back healthy was the biggest goal last season.”
Ja Morant, who spent a great part of the summer training with Jaren, said the power forward is “A centerpiece for us, you know a big piece for us … Jaren is special, he’s one of a kind player. He does so much on the floor.”
“Super excited, obviously a special talent, can play inside and out and I think he’s going to be reason why we have success this year,” said guard Desmond Bane.
Jackson responded saying, “To hear that from them it means a lot. I hold myself to a high standard and I know they hold me to one too. We’re going to put it together.”
The Grizzlies veteran believes after his recent injury, he focused more on his body. Now he’s working solely on basketball.
“What I’m going to be able to do on the floor, I know if I put my mind to it what I can achieve,” said Jackson. “I know what my teammates hold me to. But the fun part of it is back for me. The fun, the joy of just being able to go out there and shoot at random in the nighttime.”
With a healthy Jaren, Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman said he wouldn’t put a cap on this team’s potential, they’re bought in and ready to work.