The Memphis Grizzlies 2021 – 22 season has been going incredibly well so far. On the surface, their success can be traced to Ja Morant. The third-year guard has been having one hell of a season, after all; an argument can be made for him to crack some MVP ballots. However, lost in Morant's excellence is the team excelling even without him.
There's no better proof of that than the Grizzlies' performance against the Indiana Pacers. In the first quarter alone, Memphis made an absurd ten three-pointers, setting a franchise record in the process. Wow. (via NBA on ESPN)
The Grizzlies made 🔟 3-pointers in just the first quarter 😳 pic.twitter.com/wNDeai77uJ
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 25, 2022
The Grizzlies doing well without their star isn't a one-off thing either. When Ja Morant missed significant time earlier due to an injury, Memphis held their own and then some. It's helped them get an insane 15-2 record when their All-Star is unavailable to play, which is one of the best in NBA history. That is a great sign of a well-run team, one that doesn't solely rely on their star player.
Why are the Grizzlies so good even without Ja Morant? Well, a few players come to mind. Desmond Bane has been an amazing number two option that fills in nicely for Ja when he's out. Steven Adams has been a great team veteran and a solid presence in the interior. Jaren Jackson Jr. has also flown under the radar as a quietly solid big for them.
The Grizzlies also benefit from playing under a good coach in Taylor Jenkins. The three-year Memphis coach has done an awesome job in keeping his team engaged even when their star is out. Piloting this team to the second team in the Western Conference has made him earn more than a few Coach of the Year votes.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Morant is replaceable on this team. Far from it, actually: Ja turns the Grizzlies from a solid team to a true title contender. His ability to change the game with his fearless drives cannot be matched easily by anyone else. As the team takes it slow on Morant's potential injury, fans are looking forward to a potentially deep playoff run.