Ja Morant’s expected return will once again change the West playoff dynamic

NBA Memphis Grizzlies Ja Morant (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Memphis Grizzlies Ja Morant (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Now that Ja Morant has an expected return window, we explore how it will once again change the dynamic in the Western Conference playoffs.

Whether you agree with it or not, it appears that reinforcements are on the way from the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies find themselves in a race to the finish for the second seed in the Western Conference with the Sacramento Kings, of all teams. But it appears Ja Morant will be back for the final stretch of the season

The NBA has officially suspended Morant for eight games but is expected to return sooner rather than later for the Grizzlies. There was an initial thought that Morant could end up missing the remainder of the regular season, but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

When will Ja Morant return for the Memphis Grizzlies?

Morant is officially eligible to return on March 20 because he’s already been away from the team for six games. That means there are only two games left on his suspension. But the expectation, at least from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, is that he won’t return until he is able to ramp up his workouts. He hasn’t played basketball since he’s been away from the team and a ramp-up could take some time.

You’d have to assume that he will want at least a couple of practices before he makes his return to the Grizzlies lineup. If so, you’d have to imagine that he would return either March 22 or March 24. Both of those dates are home games against the Houston Rockets. That would give Morant a soft return and a chance to at the very least, get his feet wet and slowly get back into the swing of things for the Grizzlies.

Now that it’s almost assumed that Morant will be back with the Grizzlies before the end of the regular season, it clearly will change the dynamic in the West once again heading into the playoffs.

The big question for the Grizzlies is whether or not they’ll be able to pick up where they left off before Morant was sent away from the team. But not only that; the Grizzlies must be able to figure out how to get back in rhythm as a team. Even before Morant’s suspension from the team, the Grizzlies were struggling.

In fact, since January 20, the Grizzlies are just 10-14. They have struggled for more than 20 games now and that has to be somewhat of a concern with the playoffs just around the corner.

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From a basketball standpoint, the return of Morant is a win for both basketball and Grizzlies fans. You just have to hope Morant has learned from this entire experience. At this point, that’s difficult to tell. No matter what he says in an interview. He’ll have to prove it with his actions moving forward.