Shortly after being eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Ja Morant once again finds himself in hot water after brandishing a firearm in an Instagram Live video.
Earlier in the season, Morant was recorded in a club holding a gun. While Morant was not in the club this time, rather a friend’s vehicle, he likely will end up facing an even harsher suspension. Last time, he was suspended for eight games and took a short stint in rehab before returning to the team. After the Grizzlies’ season concluded, their head coach was quoted as saying, “We’re far from where we need to be from a maturity standpoint”, and it would appear he hit the nail right on the head.
Shortly after the video surfaced, Morant was quickly suspended from Grizzlies team activities indefinitely. While this was likely done by Memphis so they would not lose their star point guard for a lengthy stretch of the 2023-24 regular season, the league will still bring the hammer down on him. Many believed that the Grizzlies and the league rushed Morant back to the floor in his first suspension and that he did not learn anything from his punishment. With Morant doing the exact same thing not even three months after his eight-game suspension, it does appear as if this kind of thing will not change unless he faces real consequences.
There is a strong chance that Morant could end up facing a suspension upwards of twenty games. Once again, this will not have an enormous impact on Morant or the Grizzlies. As we have seen in this year’s playoffs, it does not matter where a team finishes in the regular season as long as they can claw their way into postseason play. Both the Lakers and the Miami Heat were able to make it out of the play-in tournament and advance all the way to their respective conference finals.
Without Morant on the floor, the Grizzlies more than likely will still fair well. In the past two seasons when he was not able to play, the Grizzlies have a combined record of 33-17, going 21-7 in 2022 and 12-10 in 2023 without their star player. With the team still likely to keep their head’s above water and be in playoff contention without the young guard, the suspension may only result in him coming into the season a fourth of the way through with a fresh set of legs ready to catapult his team up in the Western Conference standings.
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