A good season for the Memphis Grizzlies has turned out to be a rough few weeks for the team. Stephen Adams, a key part of the team, has been out with a knee injury since late January. The NBA team has struggled with rebounding and Adams’ veteran presence. The team also lost one of their backup big men in Brandon Clarke, who tore his Achilles earlier this month. The biggest story surrounding the Memphis Grizzlies is Ja Morant.
In the span of a week, multiple stories came out about Ja’s off-the-court actions dating back to the 2022 offseason. Reports came out about the young Grizzlies star punching and threatening a teen with a gun over back in the summer. In an Instagram Live video last week, Morant was seen in a club waving a gun around, something that created an instant buzz. Morant would issue an apology over the weekend as he was suspended for two games but will take more time away from the team. Although he is currently serving a few-game suspension away from the team, he could still be punished by the league.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement bans players from possessing firearms or any other deadly weapons when present at any NBA facility or NBA business-related places, such as a plane. The most notable firearms situation in the league was back in 2010 when Gilbert Arenas was suspended for 50 games after having lockers in the Washington Wizards’ locker room. While the suspension is not automatic, a significant suspension could be given to Morant following an investigation from Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA. During this stretch, Memphis also lost forward Dillon Brooks for a game due to having gotten his 16th technical foul of the season. There is still a month left in the season, so it is possible he could get receive more technical fouls and suspensions before they reset in the playoffs.
Currently, on a three-game losing streak, the Grizzlies have a decent, but tough schedule for their remaining 18 games. Memphis has two games against the Golden State Warriors and three games against the Dallas Mavericks in the next two weeks alone. Memphis also has games against the Clippers and Bucks. Currently sitting at 38-26, third in the East, Memphis is in a dangerous spot this late in the season. It’s an absolutely stacked Western Conference this season, only four wins separate the second seed from the eighth seed. With their next four games against Golden State, Dallas twice, and Miami, a Morant-less Grizzlies could lose those games and land in the play-in.
For a team that has surprised many over the last two seasons, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the team and what direction they will go. Memphis has been called young and immature, even before the recent actions of Grizzlies players. While the Grizzlies have been one of the stronger teams when at full health, they are in the final stretch of the season missing their star in Morant and other key players as well. There is no telling how the end of the Grizzlies’ season will go, but for a team with championship aspirations, a championship run is looking less likely day after day.
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