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FutureStarrThe Grizzlies' Ja Morant Is Out For The Season
Ja Morant has been an outstanding performer this season, averaging 27 points and 6.7 assists per game. He's widely expected to take home the NBA's Most Improved Player award.
He's one of the premier pick-and-roll players in the league, averaging 1.88 points per possession on 5-on-5 roll men with 20% or more usage. Additionally, his chemistry with Desmond Bane and Brandon Clarke is unparalleled.
Ja Morant is expected to miss at least two games due to the investigation into a gun video he posted on Instagram. Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said there's no timetable for when Morant will return, but he expects him back this season.
On Saturday, The NBA took notice of a social media post that attracted over one million views. They are investigating this incident as it could be an attempt to intimidate others or commit criminal offenses.
Although the Grizzlies have yet to provide an exact timeline for when Morant will play again, the team intends to be patient and give him time to recover from his injury. It's possible that Morant could be a game-time decision for Sunday's matchup against Sacramento Kings due to his current knee soreness and minor thigh bruise sustained during last week's win against the Lakers.
Morant has been involved in a string of off-court incidents dating back to last summer that have led to police reports but no arrests. These included an altercation with a mall security guard after his mother called out him for disputing with an employee at Finish Line store within the mall, according to a police report.
It's worth noting that Morant's recent behavior mirrors that of another Memphis Grizzlies player who was banned from the team for one year after being accused of shining a laser on members of Indiana Pacers' traveling party after their Jan. 29 home win against them at FedExForum.
The league is also investigating an incident that took place in Memphis earlier this season, when a member of the Grizzlies' traveling party was confronted by someone with a red laser pointer. A police report states that it all started with verbal exchanges when someone driving by in a slow-moving SUV pulled up alongside them.
The NBA has taken several steps to ensure players are accountable for their actions while on the road, such as holding player meetings and conducting training sessions with them. Furthermore, it collaborated with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund on public service announcements about how to prevent violence at clubs and other public settings.
Tyus Jones can offer the Grizzlies a lot, but his role will be severely limited if Ja Morant doesn't return. With no estimated return date yet, it's difficult to know how long Morant will be out for.
Even with Morant missing, Tyus Jones is still playing an integral role off the bench. On Sunday against the Clippers, he filled in for Morant and scored 25 points in 20 minutes while adding three rebounds and 12 assists.
Fantasy managers looking for help from their point guards if Morant is out again this season could find streaming options in Hector Alvarez. He's averaging 10.4 points, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals when playing behind Morant this season; plus, he can shoot the three-ball well too!
Jones hasn't exactly made a splash when it comes to shooting, but the 26-year-old remains a reliable value pick up in deep leagues. His averages may not be particularly impressive, but he does boast a career high in assists and could become an extremely valuable fantasy player with Ja Morant out.
Tyus Jones has consistently demonstrated his skill at scoring and handling the ball well in the middle of the floor this season, making him a key factor for Memphis to post impressive offensive numbers when Morant is absent. His floater game has been especially crucial this year.
The Grizzlies do not know the timeline for Morant's return, but it is evident that they must get him healthy quickly. In the meantime, Tyus Jones will step in admirably and remain an important part of their offense in case Morant can't play again.
Tyus hasn't had an especially impressive shooting season, but he is still averaging career highs in points and assists this year when coming off the bench. He's particularly effective during the first quarter of games this year and should continue to be an invaluable player when Ja Morant is out for any extended period of time.
Though his absence might not be a major setback for Memphis, it still comes as an immense blow. With Ja Morant, Tyus Jones and Deandre Ayton making up their dynamic backcourt in the Western Conference, the absence of one of the league's most promising young players cannot be overlooked.
It's encouraging that the Grizzlies have an experienced coach in Taylor Jenkins and a deep roster capable of carrying them without their star point guard. But what's even more crucial is how well this team has fared without him thus far this season.
Since Morant's absence in January, the Grizzlies have won six straight games - an NBA record streak for a team without its starting point guard in a season. Their shooting has also reached new heights while Desmond Bane and Jonas Valanciunas have made significant contributions too.
This team has yet to lose a game without their star player this year, an impressive feat considering the Grizzlies have had to cope with numerous injuries. These include Dillon Brooks (one game suspension), Brandon Clarke (season-ending Achilles injury) and Steven Adams (knee).
Ja Morant being out, the Grizzlies still have a chance to advance to the next round of playoffs with victory over Golden State Warriors in Game 4 on Monday night. But with how dominant this series has been so far, a victory might not be enough to send it back to Memphis.
But the Grizzlies haven't let that get them down as they continue to play with confidence and determination even without Morant. It's a testament to Taylor Jenkins' coaching skill set and how well this young team is constructed, which has reinvigorated fans after years of gritty Grit 'n Grind.
If they can get Morant back healthy and playing his usual self, the Grizzlies will be among the favorites to win their first NBA title in franchise history. That would be an incredible accomplishment given how far this team has come under current leader and vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman's guidance.
Every week in the NBA, there are numerous noteworthy events that affect fantasy teams. From injuries and lineup changes to players on 10-day deals playing well or off-court drama, there's always something to worry about.
One of the biggest worries with Ja Morant's injury is that it could set the stage for a more severe suspension. While Morant only serves an unofficial two-game ban, his actions are too extreme not to have some kind of repercussions if the league takes further consideration.
NBA insider Marc Stein confirmed that the league is investigating certain elements of the incident. Additionally, police in Glendale, Colorado have begun an investigation into what transpired.
Even though Morant has already missed a few games this season, he remains an important element of the Grizzlies' offense. This season he is averaging 26.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
He leads the team in shooting percentage (48.6%) and can be a threat at the rim, making him an invaluable asset to teams that rely on point guards as key players for success. Without him, it could be especially challenging for those teams that depend on point guards to make all the difference.
Without Morant, the Grizzlies have struggled in two games without him but have still managed to come out on top. Additionally, they are 20-5 this season without him in the lineup.
On Tuesday afternoon, coach Taylor Jenkins gave reporters no update on when Morant might return. He expressed that their goal is for Morant to feel his best and said they will wait and see how he performs before making a final decision.
Although it's uncertain when Morant will return, his absence is a significant blow for their NBA playoff chances. They are currently involved in a three-game series against the Golden State Warriors and need both games to advance.
With Morant gone, the Grizzlies must rely more on Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane to fill his spot in the lineup. While both possess similar skillsets, neither player is as explosive in the paint as Morant is.