Garrett Temple can do more than just play defense

Aug 24, 2018 | by Eric Spyropoulos, SB Nation

For the most part, the Grizzlies were universally praised for their offseason acquisition of Garrett Temple, as the veteran wing can provide more defense to “Grit & Grind 2.0”. With Memphis seemingly all in on returning to the playoffs in the upcoming season, adding a player like Temple for the cost of two young, inconsistent players in Ben McLemore and Deyonta Davis looked like an easy decision (though we’ll have to see what that 2021 second round pick amounts to).

Those folks are right about Temple’s contributions on the defensive end. Temple has the size and defensive awareness to be a positive contributor on that end of the floor, and the numbers show just that. Temple has consistently improved his team’s defense throughout his career.

During the 2015-16 season with the Washington Wizards (in which Temple played the most minutes in a season of his career), the team’s defense was 4.9 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor. Temple even improved the Sacramento Kings’ defense by 1.1 points per 100 possessions this past season, and that is a hard feat (sorry Kings fans).

However, Temple shouldn’t just be thought of for his defense. Yes, he will be another welcome addition to a team relying on top-notch defense on a nightly basis in hopes of making it back to the playoffs, but Temple is much more than a quality wing defender.

In fact, Temple is a more dynamic offensive player than he is given credit for. His presence in the Grizzlies offense will not only improve floor-spacing, but will also add an additional playmaker to any lineup, further diversifying the team’s offensive attack.

When it comes to Temple’s offense, people will simply note that he is an above-average shooter, making him a capable off-ball player and floor spacer. Yes, Temple did have a career year from beyond the arc last season, hitting 39.2 percent of his 3.5 3-point attempts per game. Temple’s progression as a shooter shouldn’t be overlooked. As recently as 2013-14, Temple was barely attempting 3-pointers (he attempted 29 for the entire season), knocking down just 20.7 percent of such shots.

Now? He’s quickly considered a quality shooter, making him a 3 & D wing at a time in which such players have more value than ever before.

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