Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant has to regain the trust of the Grizzlies

Ja Morant, Mempjis Grizzlies (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Ja Morant, Mempjis Grizzlies (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Ja Morant will have to regain the trust of the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Ja Morant will have a lot to prove when he returns to the court this season but it’ll have nothing to do with his performance in games. Morant’s legal trouble off the court and the 25-game suspension it warranted has hung like a black cloud over the Grizzlies organization for much of the offseason.

It was brought to the forefront again when an ESPN article chronicled the 18 months that led to Morant’s “downfall.”

It tells of incidents both public and private involving Morant and others in his circle displaying problematic behavior. It even went as far as to mention Morant’s father, Tee Morant, as a “driving force” for the behavior.

Despite the article mentioning Grizzlies staff members and insiders being weary of his rapidly changing behavior, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins met with the team and Morant separately to address the article and to ensure that it wasn’t going to be something the team was distracted by.

"“I want him to know he’s got 100% support from us and his teammates. We’re not going to pay much time at all. We got a lot of stuff to work on,” according to Damichael Cole of Commercial Appeal."

Morant will be allowed to travel and practice with the team during his suspension, so he’ll have the opportunity to show the organization his growth as a person and that they can still rely on him as their franchise player.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies will have to find a way to compete in a tough Western Conference without him. If history is any indication, they’ll probably be just fine. According to StatMuse, the Grizzlies are 37-24 in games he hasn’t played since drafting him in 2019.

This season could likely determine the future of both Morant and the Grizzlies. If his behavior starts to outweigh the benefit he brings as a basketball player, Morant could potentially find himself not only on his way out of the Grizzlies but of the league itself.

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The Grizzlies have made some personnel changes including bringing in veterans Marcus Smart and Derrick Rose to mitigate the effects of Morant’s absence to start the season and hopefully help guide the young star as he attempts to repair his image.