Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant raised eyebrows earlier this week when he was asked by ESPN’s Malika Andrews in an NBA Today interview (video link) which teams around the league had caught his eye as opponents Memphis will have to “run through” to win a title. After Morant named the Celtics and fell silent, Andrews observed that he didn’t mention any Western Conference teams.
“Nah,” Morant said. “I’m fine in the West.”
Speaking to reporters later in the week, Morant didn’t back off those comments at all, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. In fact, while the All-NBA guard identified the Bucks as another team he might add to his list, he doubled down on his feelings about his Western rivals.
“Honestly, I don’t care about anybody else feedback but ours,” Morant said. “That’s how we feel. That’s how confident we are in our abilities and where we think we stand in the Western Conference.”
Here’s more out of Memphis:
- Although the Suns were missing leading scorer Devin Booker, Memphis’ 25-blowout win over Phoenix on Friday showed just how good the Grizzlies can be when they’re at full strength, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. Desmond Bane was only 4-of-13 from the floor in his return from a toe injury, but he “played decisively and looked fluid in his movements,” according to Cole. The starting five of Morant, Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Steven Adams had a plus-44.8 net rating in its first 11 minutes together this season.
- During ESPN’s broadcast of Friday’s game in Phoenix, Danny Green said he’s aiming to return from his ACL tear before February’s All-Star break, according to Evan Barnes of The Commercial Appeal. Green added that he did some 1-on-1 work on Friday for the first time during his recovery. “The knee is going smoothly,” the 35-year-old swingman said. “We’re in a good pace and hopefully you’ll see me before the break. That’s the target right now.”
- Based on the current construction of the Grizzlies’ roster, Cole believes a healthy Green would likely take John Konchar‘s rotation minutes (Twitter link).
- The Grizzlies will be in action on Christmas Day for the first time in franchise history. Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explores what it means for the team to finally be considered one of the NBA’s marquee attractions.