Last year, the Memphis Grizzlies won the Southeast Division and finished as the No. 2 overall seed in the Western Conference.
Then they lost point guard Ja Morant to a 25-game suspension to start the season, following a second social media post that included a firearm.
So, Morant, Brooks and Adams — that’s three starters from last season’s team. None are in the lineup today.
Given that, it’s not necessarily a big surprise that the Grizzlies (3-13) are off to a miserable start. Some suspect they may not be able to bounce back even when Morant returns.
Either way, Memphis has to keep fighting through their struggles, power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. indicated.
“Be a grown man about it, be a professional about it and bring positivity to everyone around you,” Jackson told Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Right now, the Grizzlies are leaning on Jackson and shooting guard Desmond Bane, and those two have indeed delivered. All they need now is for at least one other guy (or perhaps two or three) to step forward on a regular basis.
“Obviously, we’re leaning on (Jackson and Bane) two a lot,” coach Taylor Jenkins said, via Iko. “They’re having to carry a big load. We gotta play fast, and when we’re not playing fast, we get stuck in having to play first gear, slow basketball. We gotta have more kick aheads, play fast so we don’t have possessions where we’re leaning on stagnant actions.”
Not everyone in the NBA can have a banner year. Some teams just aren’t going to be good, at least for stretches. Someone’s gotta lose, right?
The Grizzlies could get it turned around once Morant returns — who knows? But for now, they just have to keep plugging along as best they can. No less than Jackson said as much.