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.
18 thoughts on “Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Bane, Green, Konchar”
There’s nothing wrong with being confident, but Ja is just a bit ridiculous acting like the Grizz have no competition in the West. He’s ignoring that the Grizz are just 9-8 vs the West (7th in the conf), while being 11-3 vs the East.
Let’s see where they stand in April.
Yes very true, but he’s sort of right. I wouldn’t want to face the Grizzlies in the West.
I hope as a warrior fan someone else can knock them out because the Grizzlies could have very easily taken out the Warriors last year. Griz are for real especially with Jaron Jackson Jr back.
Warriors beat the Grizzlies last year without going 7 games. Warriors were better than grizzlies by far.
Playoffs are all about match ups and so far they have had a very easy schedule. That may be their down fall since their last 20 games of the season is tough and if not rested a tired team do not play well.
Ja was injured during the series and missed the last two games or else it’s very likely Memphis beats them
Except the Grizzlies had a better record without Ja last season.
It’s not looking very promising for the Warriors and us fans. Long way to go, but in this season of parity they’ve been anything but consistent, now tied for 20th in the league, 11th in the West and just 7-14 vs .500 or better teams. Clearly the 5 bench players they lost meant more to the team than anyone would have predicted.
If I had to guess, I’d say Ja’s high wire act will be hard to sustain without the injury bug biting again. Hopefully it happens early so he’s back to 100% for the playoffs.
I am just going by how the schedule has played out so far. Some teams has had a very easy schedule while the warriors played most of their tough road games early in the season. Warriors biggest problem is staying healthy. They need the team 100% to go on a deep run. Donte is a big piece of the second unit.
All 5 of the bench players they had last season were productive and ranged from decent to phenomenal defensively.
JaMychal has been a disappointment, same for Wiseman. JP has had a slow start and the refs are picking on him. Hoping to see those things improve as the season continues.
JP is reminding me very much of another D’Lo. Offense is good but his defense is terrible.
JaMychal is just inconsistent in his play while Wiseman reaction time on defense needs to improve.
many people blame 2nd team but I blame the ball handling of no PG when Curry is off the court. JP is not a ball handler but a SG. Donte is the only bench player that can handle the ball.
Poole avgs more ast per 100 possessions than Donte, as does Ty Jerome.
It’s the lack of Wiggins plus the poor 2nd team’s defense that’s killing them.
Why would he say anything different? His only other thinking option was to say, at this point, all of the teams in the West concern him. Anything other than those two responses, I’d question his intelligence. Of course it was a dumb question (asking him to distinguish amongst his competition), so a terse no comment would suffice too.
You’re right he actually answered it perfectly. How would Larry Bird answer the same question back in the ’80s?
“We’re not worried about anyone but our own team. If we play the right way we’ll win.” Done.
LOL. Yep, likely adding something nasty. Of course, Bird would have told the players on the other teams something similar prior to tip off without even being asked.
I like the confidence but they (Memphis) are pretty abysmal in the half court offense. That’s going to be the majority of what happens in the playoffs
Ahh, that’s a great point you make. But I’m thinking that changes with Jaren Jackson Jr back in the lineup.
He’s terrific in the half court and can score one-on-one against his guy or kick it out to a shooter when double teamed.
But to your point, the only shooter right now in the starting lineup is Bane, the other guys are so so.
The Grizzlies as a team are middle of the pack in both FG% and 3 pt FG%. What sets them apart is their team physicality on defense, especially since they foul constantly so the refs let a lotof fouls go uncalled, and they’re #1 in rpg and #2 in Orpg.
That’s going to translate into wins.
Yup, and a lot of wins..
Memphis is good against the West. I said as much in my summer write ups. They are setting up the west for a dynastic run with a decided old school mentality of going in swinging on the east and taking their best shots.
They are right on course as of this time.