4. Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are off to a disastrous start to the season, but this is ultimately a team with eyes on the playoffs. They aren’t going to start selling off players if the season continues to go south. Instead, they are going to ask what they are missing in pursuit of a title, and the answer will likely come down to size.
A Grizzlies franchise that once founded its identity on playing big has ended up with a roster where their best players are all small. Their planned starting lineup when Ja Morant returns from his suspension includes Morant, Marcus Smart and Desmond Bane, three guards. Jaren Jackson Jr. has struggled to play center, so they are either shoehorning a center into that lineup or going even smaller by moving Jackson to the 5 and adding another forward, a player chosen from among their shaky stable of Zhaire Williams, Santi Aldama, David Roddy and Jake LaRavia.
The Grizzlies have been searching for a forward capable of defending opposing forwards and spacing the floor, and Andrew Wiggins does fit that bill perfectly. He doesn’t help their rebounding woes, but otherwise, he could be the defensive answer and fit in perfectly on offense.
The problem for Memphis is that they don’t really have a path to adding a player like Wiggins unless they move someone in their core (or unless a tanking team is open to taking back Steven Adams’ expiring deal). That’s why moving Desmond Bane may be the best option, allowing them to get bigger and recoup draft assets sent out in the Marcus Smart trade.
Bane signed a rookie extension this past summer, so the money on a deal would be tricky and might mean this couldn’t happen until next summer. With that being said, the size of the Grizzlies and their poor start could speak to a structural deficiency that a player like Wiggins could address.