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Grizzlies’ Tyus Jones looking to be a leader for young core

Tyus Jones

Tyus Jones may very well be a more effective player than Ja Morant this season. But with the Memphis Grizzlies in the earliest stages of a suddenly-promising rebuilding process, it’s safe to say the No. 2 pick’s playing time will be prioritized regardless. The best way to help young, talented players commit fewer mistakes, many believe, is allowing them the freedom to make them in the first place. It’s not like Memphis has a realistic chance at the playoffs in a deep, wide-open Western Conference, either.

Just because Jones is almost sure to back up Morant, though, doesn’t mean he’ll be shying away from leadership. In fact, the four-year pro is relishing the chance to be a veteran mentor of sorts to the young Grizzlies.

“Just being myself, just playing my game, being the leader that I am,” Jones said, per Jace Frederick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We’re extremely young, so they want me to come in and lead by example, be a pro’s pro, someone who is going to take care of the ball, someone is going to make sure we’re doing what we should be as a locker room, someone who expands my role and continues to try to get better each and every year.”

Memphis, led by first-year coach Taylor Jenkins, boasts one of the most exciting young cores in basketball with Morant, First Team All-Rookie selection Jaren Jackson Jr., and electric first-round pick Brandon Clarke.

Jones signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Grizzlies in free agency. He averaged career-highs of 6.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who selected him in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.