The Memphis Grizzlies led by Ja Morant were knocked out of the playoffs in game 6 of the 1st round against Lakers. Despite Memphis being a serious championship contender this season. They suffered from a number of setbacks, including trading veterans De’Anthony Melton and Kyle Anderson for Cap space, which proved to be a significant loss.
Injuries also took their toll, with Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke missing the entire series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Ja Morant dealing with a hand injury from Game 1, and Luke Kennard being absent for Game 6 due to a shoulder injury. Head coach Taylor Jenkins was slow to adjust to the changing circumstances, and Dillon Brooks famously provoked the Lakers ahead of the first round series.
In the grand scheme of things, the off-court issues that Ja Morant dealt with this season far outweighed all of the team’s other problems. In March, Ja Morant missed nine games after sharing an Instagram Live video of himself with a gun in a nightclub. Over the past year or so, he has faced a number of other legal issues, including allegedly punching a teenager during a pickup game at his home.
After the Grizzlies’ loss in Game 6, Ja Morant admitted that their “off-the-court issues affected us as an organization” and emphasized that the team needed more discipline moving forward, both on and off the court.
“I feel like mine is more off the court and on the court, just being disciplined both sides.” “Off the court, making better decisions. On the court, being locked in even more. Being a leader of this team, it pretty much starts with me. So however I attack any situation, I know my guys will follow. I’ve just got to be better in that area.”Ja Morant
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the younger teams in the NBA. The Grizzlies have a long runway ahead of them despite being knocked out after only six playoff games. They have an opportunity to learn not only from their loss to the more experienced Lakers but also from the earlier mistakes that hampered them.
However, this offseason will still be critical for Memphis. Dillon Brooks, who started the trash-talking war with the Lakers that dominated the narrative surrounding that series, will be a free agent and may not return. The team explored deals for upgrades at his position at the trade deadline, and whether or not they find one, they’ll also have to address the injuries they dealt with in their front court.
Building a championship team is rarely easy, on the court or off it. Memphis hasn’t found the right formula yet. But the first step in fixing any problem is addressing it. Ja Morant acknowledged that “off-the-court issues affected us as an organization,” and now it’s up to him and the rest of the team to right the ship this summer.
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