25. Memphis Grizzlies
It didn't take long for it to become abundantly clear that this was going to be a lost season for the Memphis Grizzlies. Losing Ja Morant for the first 25 games of the season was not an ideal circumstance for the Grizzlies to be walking into. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies did themselves no favors by managing the situation until reinforcements arrived. So when Morant did make his return to the lineup, it was almost as if the Grizzlies had to play near-perfect basketball in order to climb out of the early-season hole.
As you would expect, that’s not exactly what happened. While there were some bright spots in the few games that Morant played this season for Memphis, it became clear that the Grizzlies were too banged up from an injury standpoint to expect them to emerge as a contender in the West. After suffering a shoulder injury, Morant was shut down for the remainder of the season.
At that point, the Grizzlies, pretty much waived, the white flag on their playoff chances. Nevertheless, heading into the second half of the season, this is still a team that is going to be competitive. You can take the stars off their lineup, but the competitive spirit is still going to fight back. Equipped with a likely top-10 pick heading into the offseason, it’ll be interesting to see what the next steps are for this franchise as they continue to look to build around Morant.