Southwest Notes: Morant, Porter, Pelicans, James, Chriss

While there has been some debate this season about whether Grizzlies guard Ja Morant will make his first All-Star team, teammate Desmond Bane believes the answer to that question is obvious. In Bane’s view, Morant should be the subject of another discussion, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes.

“People debate whether or not he should be an All-Star, but I think we should be debating whether he’s the best point guard in the league,” Bane said. “I don’t think it’s any question he’s an All-Star. The real conversation is, ‘Is he the best point guard in the league?'”

While it may be premature to place Morant above the likes of Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, he matches up favorably with the Western Conference’s star point guards this season — and he looks like a good bet to join them on this year’s All-Star team. In 27 games (32.5 MPG), Morant is averaging a career-high 25.1 PPG on .489/.400/.772 shooting while also contributing 6.7 APG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.4 SPG.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. said on Tuesday that he apologized both “to the group” and “individually” following the locker-room incident that resulted in him being suspended for Monday’s game, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I think just as a man and as a human, that’s the right thing to do,” Porter said. “Even if you feel like you’re in the right, there’s ways to approach things in situations, and I felt as a man, I didn’t approach it the right way. So I apologize. I feel like that’s just something you need to do as a principled thing.” Porter added that he still feels supported by the organization.
  • The Pelicans don’t plan to re-sign Justin James, whose 10-day contract expired overnight, sources tell Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). With the team getting healthier, there wasn’t an immediate need to retain James, Lopez explains.
  • Marquese Chriss, currently on his second 10-day contract with the Mavericks, would love to remain in Dallas beyond the expiration of his current deal on January 9, writes Dwain Price of However, even if he isn’t retained, the big man is happy to be back in action after losing nearly an entire season due to a broken leg. “Being able to be back on the court, I’m just thankful for that,” Chriss said. “And I’m just trying to make the most out of the opportunity that I can. Hopefully it’s here (in Dallas).”
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