At the start of the season, Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies were confident they would come out at the top of the Western Conference, but it all changed, especially after the NBA trade deadline reached its conclusion.
In a previous interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, the all-star point guard boldly claimed that no team, except the Boston Celtics, posed any threat to them. They were “fine” in the West, he said.
Malika Andrews: "Who do you look at around the league as you're studying and say, 'We're gonna have to run through them?'"
Ja Morant: "The Celtics"
"No one in the West?"
"Nah, I'm fine in the West."pic.twitter.com/2iYrc4AxIG
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 21, 2022
He also doubled down on his remark. Morant was confident that the Celtics would be their “biggest test.”
Even if he was asked numerous times, the young all-star asserted them as the “top dog” in the West, shrugging off the NBA ‘21-’22 champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Ja Morant was asked about his “I’m fine in the west” comments at shootaround.
Ja: “And I’m standing on that. I stamp it,” he said.
Reporter: What about the Suns?
Ja: “They are in the Western Conference, right? I said I was fine in the Western Conference.”
— Drew Hill (@DrewHill_DM) December 23, 2022
With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving going to the West, can Morant still be “chill?”
Well, it was up to New Orleans Pelicans guard and NBPA president CJ McCollum to throw some diss at Morant.
This all because @JaMorant said he was good in the West 😂😂😂
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 9, 2023
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies stood as the No. 2 seed in the West, 33-21. But after losing eight of their ten games, they are now two games ahead of the Sacramento Kings (31-23). Their rivals in the conference are also preparing, and the names Durant and Irving are all the rave.
Durant averages 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists this season. His previous teammate, Irving, is performing in a 27-5.1-5.3 night in, night out.
Both are expected to disrupt the balance in the West, especially with the season reaching its final leg before playoffs begin.
The Suns (30-27) have become a much bigger threat, thanks to the addition of Durant. With Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the No. 6 in the West have formed a superteam of their own.
Paul will make the plays with his 8.7 per game assists, while Booker runs the offense with an average of 26.8 points.
They also have a reliable DeAndre Ayton in the five. He can both score and crash the boards.
Over at Dallas (31-26), Luka Doncic got some help from Irving. Before Uncle Drew switched teams, it was Luka carrying his team to the fourth seed of the Western Conference. The Grizzlies will be in trouble once they face the Mavs on March 11.
They can no longer disregard the Los Angeles Clippers as well. Kawhi Leonard is playing again, helping Paul George in scoring. Moreso, Eric Gordon has joined the Clippers, which will be an evident danger to the Grizzlies come playoff time.
Don’t Forget the Warriors
Although Stephen Curry will be missing a few weeks due to a leg injury, the Warriors are still terrifying. Jordan Poole is improving incredibly, while Jonathan Kuminga is getting better at shooting the three-ball.
Klay Thompson, on the other hand, finally got his rhythm back. In his last two outputs, against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, he contributed 42 and 32 points, respectively.
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies lost to the Warriors in their last two meetings. Even if they called the Dubs core “old” and claimed they are “confident” in the West, they still cannot defeat the West’s No. 9th seed.
What do you think OKBET players? Should Morant and the Grizzlies chill and believe that the Celtics are the only threat? Or should they start worrying about the other teams?