Taylor Jenkins believes Grizzlies have lacked maturity amid playoff series with Lakers

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

In the opinion of Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, his team’s lack of maturity has played a part in why the Grizzlies find themselves on the verge of their season coming to an end.

Prior to the Grizzlies’ overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, Joe Vardon of The Athletic offered Jenkins’s thoughts about the Grizzlies’ struggles with maturity

“We’re far from where we need to be from a maturity standpoint,” Jenkins said. “This is all experience that you can only gain from. So, nothing’s gonna change overnight, but when we wear it, and we understand the struggles we’re going through individually, collectively, on, off the court and all that stuff, and we sit down and we honestly talk about it, and we face it, you’re hopefully gonna turn the corner for sure.”

That lack of maturity is one of the reasons why the Grizzlies are trailing the Lakers, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series, with the series now headed back to Memphis.

During the course of the 2022-23 regular season, the Grizzlies managed to finish 51-31 in the NBA’s tough Western Conference. That accomplishment was marred somewhat by multiple off-the-court controversies related to guard Ja Morant.

Yet, the clearest example connected to maturity in this series has been the questionable behavior of Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks.

Brooks has spent far too much time trying the get under the skin of the Lakers’ 20-year veteran LeBron James. Delivering trash talk to the 38-year-old James by calling him “old” was an ill-advised remark, as was Brooks’ below-the-belt hit on James during Game 3 on Saturday night.

Comments like the ones Brooks made, as well as other jabs, have been delivered to James for the past two decades. Close watchers of the game have known for years that James is fueled by such remarks and usually makes the offender pay dearly.

James did just that on Monday night by delivering a huge performance with 22 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists. He also sent the game into overtime with a basket with just 0.8 seconds left in regulation.

In contrast, Brooks only managed 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. He then reinforced his coach’s maturity concerns by declining to speak to the media for the second straight game.

All season long, the Lakers have tried to get healthy enough to make a playoff run. That trip to the postseason wasn’t even guaranteed, but the team now finds itself one game away from advancing to the second round.

For Memphis, winning three straight games is required to avoid seeing their season end. If that fails, then Brooks and Morant may have to try to start growing up.

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Brad is a freelance writer for LakersDaily.com, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.