Ja Morant and Grizzlies’ first-round playoff exit shifts to what’s next – ‘Culture’s going to get tested’

The Memphis Grizzlies suffered their most lopsided defeat in postseason history in Game 6 of their series against the Los Angeles Lakers, leading to early substitution for four starters, including Ja Morant, who had a difficult season both on and off the court. Morant’s suspension in March for conduct detrimental to the league – he dangled a handgun during an Instagram Live session from a strip club and had been involved in past gun-related incidents – emerged as a major storyline. Coach Taylor Jenkins noted that while the Grizzlies had faced their fair share of adversity, they still had a way to go in terms of maturity.
For the Grizzlies to develop into a contender, they will need to revamp their culture and support their young core of talented players, including Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, and Morant, who is considered to be one of the league’s most popular figures. Jenkins suggested that success requires discipline, resilience, and preparation, and that the team must make the right choices off the court to foster an environment in which they can ultimately “try to win a championship.” There remain questions about Dillon Brooks, who will enter free agency this summer and may not factor into Memphis’s future plans.
The Grizzlies’ humbling exit from the playoffs underscores the need for the franchise to build a mature, responsible team culture focused on accountability and driven by a desire to win. While the Grizzlies’ season had moments of promise, the team struggled under the weight of expectations and were ultimately unprepared to face the Lakers. To become a championship-calibre team, Memphis will need to emphasize discipline and maintain a talented, committed core of young players focused on improving both on and off the court.

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