Scouts who have watched the Grizzlies play in the bubble are unanimous in saying that while Memphis has a bright future, its late-game execution issues should be expected of such a young team. After entering Orlando with a 3½-game lead for the No. 8 playoff seed in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies have suffered three tough losses while dropping each fourth quarter. “They shouldn’t have lost either of those [first two], and found ways to do it by being a disaster at the end of the game,” one scout said. “It isn’t super shocking when you watch those two games that the team with Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan won.”

Storyline: Jaren Jackson Jr Injury
More important than any single play, though, was that for the first time in three games, the No. 1 overall pick with planet-shifting size and skill, was able to be on the court when the game ended. And even more crucial than that, for the first time at Disney the Pelicans won, beating the Memphis Grizzlies, 109-99. The confluence of events may have re-lit a fire under their once fading playoff hopes. “It felt great to do that,” Williamson said. “My competitive spirit was turned on. I was just happy the training staff and my team trusted me to be able to close the game out.”
“That’s my brother,” Morant said of Zion. “I know a lot of people —no disrespect or don’t take it personal —but media people try to make it a battle against us, or try to turn us against each other.” No we don’t. Anyway… “Like I say every time, it’s not going to happen,” Morant continued. “But being from South Carolina, both me and Zi, we don’t see this often. Go one and two in the draft, both be from South Carolina and be able to play AAU together, and now to be out on an NBA floor together, it’s crazy.”

Storyline: Social Justice Messages
Now with the NBA restarting, Morant says he thinks it’s unfair that the padding the Grizzlies built between themselves and the closest playoff contenders in the West could prove irrelevant. “But, you know, we can’t control that,” Morant said in an interview on ESPN’s The Jump that aired Thursday. “Only thing we can control is how, you know, we go out and attack each of these games before that decision is made.”
1 week ago via ESPN
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Earlier this month, the league said the eight seeding games would not count toward postseason awards, essentially ending the campaigns for awards, including rookie of the year, which Morant had been a resounding favorite to win over the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, who missed much of the season after undergoing surgery on his knee. “It definitely feels good,” Morant said. “As of now, I can’t say that’s my main focus. You know, I have some games to play, try to make the playoffs. But just where I came from, what I’ve done to get here, the things I went through, definitely an honor. I’m blessed.”
1 week ago via ESPN
As he began his media availability Thursday, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins opened by calling the late Rep. John Lewis an icon and a hero. With the NBA resuming its season Thursday night in Florida, Jenkins didn’t want it to overshadow the legacy of Lewis, who died this month from pancreatic cancer. So for two minutes, he read a statement from Lewis on the importance of protecting the right to vote.
“The Brennan Center released a report that shows that voting law changes across the nation will make it significantly harder for more than 5 million voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This should not be happening,” Jenkins read. “Today, we should be making it easy, simple and convenient to vote. Instead, legislators around the nation are creating barriers and making it more difficult for citizens to vote. There’s not just one law, but many types of laws that are disenfranchising millions of voters.”

Justise Winslow out for season restart

The Memphis Grizzlies today provided the following medical update on Grizzlies forward Justise Winslow: During Monday’s practice, Justise Winslow fell after absorbing contact during an intra-squad scrimmage. Medical evaluation revealed a hip injury, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Winslow is expected to make a full recovery.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 110 more rumors
Randolph has followed his former club closely to see where the franchise would head as it rebuilt from the Grit and Grind era. Few might have predicted the Grizzlies would have a chance to make the playoffs at this point, as the NBA reboots in Orlando late this month. Randolph likes what he sees, though. “The future is bright for these young Grizzlies,” he says. “I think as an organization, we’re headed in the right direction. “The sky is the limit for Ja. I just love his leadership. The thing he’s accomplished already, being a franchise player, leading this team as a rookie.” Randolph laughs again, thinking of the effect Morant has had on the franchise, beyond his court vision, beyond his electrifying dunks: “Half the gym be Murray State fans.”
Morant also gained 12 pounds of muscle during the shutdown, according to his former Murray State coaches, with whom he still constantly checks in. Not that it’s all basketball, all the time. Morant, who became a father last August and is an active Instagrammer of photos of his daughter, now has more than hoops to talk about with his old coaches. They talk about first smiles. Cleaning up. Diapers. Giggles. First teeth. Crawls. Staying up all night. He joked with the coaches recently about how they all manage to get some sleep. “We’re watching him becoming a man in front of our eyes,” Long says.
When Ja Morant was a little boy, his father, Tee, personally put him through what he called “TTG camp” in their backyard in South Carolina. It stood for Train To Go. Tee Morant wanted his son to work hard and be ready to show people he was built for every obstacle. Pops recently brought the TTG camp back, using their suburban Memphis, Tennessee, home to get the Memphis Grizzlies’ rookie sensation prepared and stronger for the resumption of the NBA season, which begins on July 30. “They locked in,” Tee Morant told The Undefeated. “Of course, he was ready to get back out there. It was killing him on the inside. But the whole process helped him out a whole lot. It felt like he got an offseason. He did take advantage of the time off. Got stronger. Studied the game more. It was really good and efficient. It wasn’t just like he was laid up eating snacks.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
After training was completed for the day, TTG camp gave way to swimming in the backyard pool, competitive Uno card games and trivia sessions on the sitcom Martin. (Ja Morant said that he brought videos of Martin with him to Orlando.) “They have Martin playing cards,” Johnson said. “They have episodes of the show. Who did Sheneneh go on the date with? What kind of car did Martin drive? … Whoever gets them wrong has to do five pushups.” So, who was the best at Martin trivia? “Jamie, his mom, was the best,” Johnson said. “She was on it.”
Vogel was also asked who he would vote for Coach of the Year, if he couldn’t vote for himself, and crossed lines on the Lakers-Boston Celtics rivalry to cast his ballot. “I think so many people have done great jobs,” he said. “Obviously coach Bud (Mike Budenholzer) and coach (Nick) Nurse out east, doing what they’ve done has been very impressive,” Vogel said. “‘Billy the Kid’ (Billy Donovan) in OKC — with a team that didn’t necessarily have high expectations — has done a great job. Taylor Jenkins has done a great job in Memphis. But why don’t I give it to my former Indiana buddy Brad Stevens for doing a great job losing Kyrie Irving and a few others? Al Horford changing the whole identity of their team and having a great season. I would probably vote for Brad.”