Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant is the start of an exciting new era

NBA Memphis Grizzlies Ja Morant (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
NBA Memphis Grizzlies Ja Morant (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images) /

The old guard is out and a new beginning awaits the Memphis Grizzlies but with Ja Morant now leading the way the future is already here

Once Mike Conley was traded to the Utah Jazz the “grit and grind” era officially came to a close in Memphis. This era of Memphis Grizzlies basketball brought some nice success for the city, however, they were never able to get over the hump in the Western Conference.

The 2019-20 season not only brings a new beginning but also new energy for the organization. Ja Morant was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and with him comes a new face of the franchise. Power forward Brandon Clarke was also acquired later in the draft who will provide a solid contributor for the team, giving Memphis a strong young core to build around along with last year’s first-round pick Jaren Jackson Jr.

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Morant led Murray State to a solid run in the 2019 NCAA tournament this past season, which is impressive considering the Racers are a smaller program. Morant made the most of this chance to prove he could go against anyone in the country, and succeed.

He was easily the best playmaker in the draft equipped with Russell Westbrook-like athleticism. In a draft void of a lot of franchise-changing talent, the Grizzlies could have potentially struck gold.

Brandon Clarke was a solid pickup as well. The Gonzaga product is an athletic freak who plays with tremendous energy. His shot-blocking and rebounding will fit well with what the Grizzlies are building and his ability to run the floor will be a perfect fit with Morant.

This year’s draft class, along with young players the Grizzlies have on the roster, gives Memphis the chance to be one of the most exciting teams in the league this season. They may need some time and experience to become a playoff threat, however, this team will be fun to watch as they grow together.

Re-signing Jonas Valanciunas was a great move for this franchise moving forward as he brings a solid big man presence who is still young enough to fit in with the new culture of this young team. One of the best moves the Grizzlies made this offseason, however, was actually the moving of Chandler Parsons and his contract. Talented youth and cap space are key to building a contender for years to come.

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The front office has done an excellent job at the beginning of this rebuilding effort. Can they keep the positive momentum going? Only time will tell but one thing is for sure. They will be fun to watch as they try.