Ja Morant’s Rebrand: Don’t Count on It

Ja Morant has not skipped a beat since his return to the Memphis Grizzlies lineup. The city of Memphis couldn’t be happier. Without Morant, the Grizzlies’ holes were glaring. Since his activation, Memphis is 4-0. Morant was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Wins over the Pacers, Hawks, and Pelicans exemplify the impact his dribble and drive game has on Memphis’ win total. Morant’s presence has improved Memphis’ output by 10 points per 100 possessions. Defenses retreat quickly when Morant handles the rock in the halfcourt. In the span of a week, he put Tyrese Haliburton in his place, placed Trae Young in a blender and then dispatched the Pelicans twice. Morant’s pantomiming a gun is the most controversial gesture since Gilbert Arenas mocked a gun showdown. Unfortunately, Morant’s gunplay has distracted from his virtuoso abilities. For an athlete with so many opportunities available to him, you’d hope he find something else to celebrate. Outside the paint, Morant’s stroke is still a major work in progress. Eventually, the Grizzlies will have to find that extra gear, whether it’s through trades, free agency, or Morant making a leap by becoming a consistent floor spacing lead guard. For now, Memphis is just giddy about having their franchise player back.