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Memphis Grizzlies’ success: Defensive effectivity, the Ja Morant issue and roster depth | NBA Information

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The Memphis Grizzlies are tied atop the Western Convention standings with the Denver Nuggets – a distinction they’ve by no means held earlier than. Now using a nine-game unbeaten run, they possess all of the hallmarks of a staff able to dominating the playoff image. That is how they’ve executed it.

The ‘Ja Morant’ issue

The place to start with a person who can successfully fly? In relation to leaping and dunking, no person does it higher than the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant.

He has been averaging 27.4 factors per recreation, 5.8 rebounds and seven.9 assists, which appears a bit of tame for his skills, however the extra enthralling facet is the pizzazz he brings to proceedings.

None extra so evident than within the Grizzlies’ 130-112 win over the Indiana Pacers, the place Morant dropped a doozy of a dunk over 6ft 9in Jalen Smith. Do not take our phrase for it, simply watch:

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Ja Morant continued his sensational current type with a blinding slam dunk within the third quarter towards Pacers

The truth that the person is 20cm taller than him didn’t faze Morant, it very not often does. The pace and agility at which he manoeuvres the pocket and go lanes is just absurd. Even from simply exterior the paint, the Grizzlies guard is, and continues to be, a terrifying prospect to defend towards.

Jaren Jackson Jr main the defensive cost

It’s laborious to take your eyes off Morant, but it surely is likely to be helpful to take action now and again in any other case you would possibly miss the dear contributions of Jaren Jackson Jr.

Earlier than the 23-year-old was launched to the beginning line-up, there have been considerations over the Grizzlies’ sluggish defensive points. They languished in 18th place when it got here to defensive effectivity and have been conceding swathes of factors regardless of Morant’s monstrous dunking.

Quick-forward two months they usually now rank first, possessing a powerful pair of defenders in JJJ and Dillon Brooks who snuff out the efficiency of even one of the best level guards and energy forwards.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) shoots in front of San Antonio Spurs guard Tre Jones (33), Jan. 11, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn.
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Jaren Jackson Jr has made beneficial contributions for Memphis Grizzlies

It means we get to concurrently watch one of many league’s finest offences and defences unravel and excel in entrance of us, whereas the remainder of the Western Convention makes an attempt to match their relentless requirements.

Spectacular roster depth

You have seen it occur all season, throughout seasons. A staff is on a sizzling, energetic successful streak, after which considered one of their star gamers will get sidelined with damage, successfully derailing their playoff ambitions.

That is what occurs when you’ve got a regimented beginning 5, with no depth to the roster to fill in these gaps. That has not been the case for the Grizzlies this season.

Certainly, they’ve had fillers throughout the opening levels of this yr’s marketing campaign. When Desmond Bane went down with a sprained massive toe, John Konchar stepped into the combo. Rookies David Roddy, Jake LaRavia and Kennedy Chandler have additionally contributed when referred to as upon, as they did alongside their staff’s ninth consecutive win.

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Ja Morant continued his sensational current type with a blinding slam dunk within the third quarter towards Pacers

Tyus Jones has been a very compelling inclusion, having impressed resulting from his consistency and improvement in taking pictures past the arch.

All of which is a roundabout method of claiming that the groups with essentially the most depth normally discover themselves among the many title contenders, and this Memphis staff are precisely that.

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