It’s been a long and winding road for Jerryd Bayless since entering the league with much fanfare in 2008. Bayless was selected 11th overall in that draft after only one year at the University of Arizona in which he led the team with 19.7 points per game.
After his rights were immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, Bayless didn’t start a single game in his rookie season and only averaged 12 minutes per game off the bench. In his sophomore season his minutes and scoring increased a bit, but he failed to catch on and was traded to the New Orleans Hornets in 2010; a trade that lasted just 11 games before he was sent to the Toronto Raptors.
Up north, he started to show some of that promise he displayed at Arizona, as he shot over 42 percent in both seasons, while increasing his scoring, rebounding and assist numbers. However, the Raptors did not re-sign him, so as an unrestricted free agent, Bayless landed with the Memphis Grizzlies this season.
For much of the year, he was stuck on the bench behind Mike Conley and a few other guards. Over the last two weeks, however, a few events have opened a window for Bayless. First, the Grizz sent guards Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with center Marreese Speights in a salary dump, which immediately moved Bayless into a bigger role with the team.
A few days after that trade, Mike Conley hurt his ankle, which forced Bayless into the starting lineup and has allowed him to put up staggering fantasy basketball numbers recently.
On Tuesday, Bayless doled out nine assists while grabbing five boards and dropping 21 points on 8-15 shooting. Combine that with his previous three games, and he has scored 56 points with 14 rebounds and 22 assists in the past four games. Now, Conley is expected to return as soon as Thursday, so Bayless likely will be back on the bench. However, he has done enough to earn some more playing time at either the point or as a two-guard behind Tony Allen, and it looks like he could be the first guard off the bench for the Grizzlies moving forward.
Bayless should certainly see around 20 minutes per game and is worth adding in most fantasy formats for those in need of a boost in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals.