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Jaren Jackson Jr. should be in the 2022-23 DPOY conversation

Jaren Jackson Jr

Jaren Jackson Jr
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Jaren Jackson Jr. should be in the 2022-23 DPOY conversation

In case you have forgotten, I am one of the biggest pushers of Memphis Grizzlies propaganda on this site — might be the only. Regardless, I am here not to spread propaganda, but actual facts. Jaren Jackson Jr. is playing some of the best defensive basketball of anyone in the NBA. If he is not already right now, you have to have him on your Defensive Player of the Year conversations.

The Block Panther

As of writing this post, the Grizzlies are fresh off a 128-103 win against the Atlanta Hawks. Both teams were missing multiple starters, but fans were still treated to a show. Trip (what I will call Jackson for the remainder of this post) scored 15 points, secured seven rebounds and sent back eight shots. Yes, you read that correctly, eight blocks on the night.

Trip missed the first few weeks of the season after surgery to fix a stress fracture in his foot. Before he came back, the Grizzlies bounced back and forth between a below average and horrible defensive team. Since Trip’s return on Nov. 15, the Grizzlies have clawed their way into the top-5 in defensive efficiency. This is not a coincidence.

Over the short amount of games Trip has been back, he is averaging 3.6 blocks per game. That is the best in the league and his average before the stats updated after his 8-block game.

It’s not just the stats, but the psychological effect it has on players, too. Would you want to challenge a man averaging almost four blocks a game who will embarrass you by sending your weak layup into the third row?

Ja Morant is a superstar. Desmond Bane is an elite shooter. Both are needed if Memphis ever hopes to win a championship. But Trip is the linchpin that can make or break a championship run. The elevation of his game is what can take Memphis over the top. A 6-foot-11 big who can score in the post, shoot the 3-ball, and is quick enough and has good handles to drive by his man on the perimeter.

If you have not yet, you need to be paying attention to what Jaren Jackson Jr. is doing. He is already one of the best defenders in the league and I would put him up against many of the others you can name. He needs to be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.

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