3 players most to blame for the Grizzlies’ disappointing 0-6 start

The Memphis Grizzlies are the worst team in the NBA right now. How?
Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies
Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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2. Xavier Tillman Sr.

It's difficult to overstate the impact of Steven Adams' absence. He is absolutely integral to the Grizzlies' success on both ends. Defensively, he provides essential support and physicality in the paint. He also finishes possessions with his omnipotence on the glass. Offensively, Adams is an underrated passing presence who frees up his guards with thundering screens. Oh, and there's the rebounding again. He's the best offensive rebounder in the league.

Xavier Tillman replaced Adams in the starting five to open the season. The Grizzlies benched him for Friday's loss to Portland, instead riding with David Roddy next to JJJ. Either way, there's not a great option. Tillman is supposed to provide some level of stability as a defender and rebounder, but he has not. At 6-foot-8, he still leaves Memphis at a size disadvantage most nights.

The real problem, however, has been Tillman's truly terrible offensive output. He has long been a useful, versatile five for the Grizzlies. He's a clever passer who can run DHOs and operate as a passing hub in the high post, a la Adams. He also hits a few stray 3s and occasionally pops as a face-up scorer.

But, it hasn't really happened for him this season. He's struggling as a rim finisher and even more outside the paint (.368/.235/.444). The Grizzlies don't have a great interior scoring presence at the moment. Bismack Biyombo can jump and toss his weight around, but he's best cast as a third-string big with a few fouls to give — not a season savior who needs to play 20+ minutes in the middle.

Jackson is not a natural five, but right now, the Grizzlies' options are extremely limited. The eventual return of Aldama and Clarke will solve a lot of issues, but Memphis' complete lack of reliable frontcourt play has been disappointing. Tillman should be better than this.