Ja Morant recently sat down with Malika Andrews of ESPN to discuss the Memphis Grizzlies’ place in the Western Conference hierarchy.
Memphis (19-11) is second in the West behind the Nuggets, who have a similar record. Morant is averaging 27.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game on 45.4 percent shooting from the field and 34.6 percent beyond the arc. Morant has done a lot of heavy lifting, with Desmond Bane still missing in action because of a sprained big toe he suffered in November.
That said, Morant is confident in Memphis’ place within the NBA hierarchy. The 2022 All-Star told Andrews that he believes the Boston Celtics (22-9) are the team to beat and the main team the Grizzlies will have to run through in order to win a championship. When the NBA Today host asked about the Western Conference, Morant said, “I’m fine in the West.”
The strong words come a season after the Grizzlies finished second in the West and lost a six-game second-round series to the eventual champion Warriors. The Southwest Division winners gave the Warriors a run for their money, but a Morant knee injury and the championship DNA of the Warriors were too much for the Grizzlies.
Through it all, the ’22 playoff run was marked by plenty of jaw-jacking, hard-nosed defense, and remarkable shotmaking from a Grizzlies team looking to burst through the championship scene. Memphis will look to exorcise those demons this season and make it to the Conference Finals and possibly beyond, with the Warriors facing some trouble with their win-and-develop-now approach to the season.