Southwest Notes: Morant, Wall, Mavericks, Pelicans

Grizzlies star Ja Morant expressed confidence that he’s a top-five point guard in the league, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Morant listed Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook as the best point guards beside himself.

The 22-year-old also conveyed a belief that his Grizzlies can take another step forward after earning a playoff spot in last season’s play-in tournament.

“I feel like we can compete with the top teams in this league,” he explained. “We all have that mindset, and this chip on our shoulder we go out and play with each and every night.

“Now, it’s continuing to buy in and keep gelling as a team and getting better with chemistry. Having more guys step up and talk who’ve been in the game for a while to help the young guys come along. Our goal this year is to continue to be better in all areas and better than we were last year.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division tonight:

  • Kelly Iko and Danny Leroux of The Athletic discuss a number of topics related to the Rockets, including the ongoing John Wall situation. Wall and Houston mutually agreed to find the 31-year-old a trade earlier this month, though it’ll be a difficult task due to his $44.3MM salary and $47.4MM player option for 2022/23.
  • Dwain Price of previews the Mavericks‘ training camp, which is set to start on Tuesday. Led by Luka Doncic, Dallas is viewed by league observers as quietly one of the most dangerous teams entering the season. “I think we’re going to be a team that’s going to play hard, that’s going to be unselfish, and I think everyone will be accountable and I think it’ll be fun,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s a Jason Kidd-coached team is a team that’s going to be accountable, will have fun out there and will play hard and be unselfish.”
  • In his latest mailbag for The Athletic, William Guillory examined several Pelicans-related subjects, including potential rotations, the idea of trading Josh Hart, and more. New Orleans is coming off a season where it went just 31-41.
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