The Memphis Grizzlies certainly opened some eyes in 2021-22, finishing as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a 56-26 record. While they did lose in the second round of the NBA Playoffs to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors, there is every reason to believe the Grizz would’ve actually taken out the Dubs in that series if Ja Morant didn’t get hurt.
The Grizzlies are one of the youngest teams in the Association but with Ja leading the way, this team truly believes they are capable of beating anyone in the league. Confidence is key and Taylor Jenkins’ squad has no shortage of it. Memphis did lose a couple of rotational players like De’Anthony Melton and Kyle Anderson, but the organization also grabbed two intriguing talents in the draft, taking David Roddy and Jake LaRavia.
Without further ado, here are 3 way too early bold predictions for the Grizzlies in the 2022-23 campaign.
Grizzlies bold predictions for 2022-23 season
3. Grizzlies will make the West Finals
Bold? I mean, kind of. But in all seriousness, the Grizzlies were only a couple of wins away from making the Western Conference Finals a few months ago. Memphis is clearly going to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Morant continues to get better each and every year and after his All-Star season, he expects even bigger things from the former No. 2 overall pick.
Jaren Jackson Jr is set to be out until possibly December due to injury. However, he should be back by the time the new year rolls around. JJJ is a key piece to this team and is one of the most versatile bigs in the game. Desmond Bane is an absolute sniper from deep and he’s only going to improve even more in Year 3. Tyus Jones re-upped with the Grizzlies and truly is the perfect backup PG to Ja, bringing scoring and playmaking to the table. Then you can’t forget a player like Dillon Brooks, who plays hard-nosed basketball every single night.
Memphis is a fundamentally sound team on both ends of the floor and already has some playoff experience under their belt. This group firmly believes they’re better than the Warriors who took them out in the conference semifinals. Yes, the West will be better next season. The Nuggets will get Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray back. The Clippers have their star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George together again plus some very solid rotational players around them.
But, Morant is a dog and he proved in the postseason he’s up for the task of leading the Grizzlies to their goal of a title. I’m not going to say at this point they will get to the Finals, but an appearance in the Western Conference Finals should be very possible.
2. Desmond Bane will make his first All-Star Team
Bane has been a solid player for the Grizzlies ever since they nabbed him in the 2020 draft out of TCU. The guard took a massive jump in his sophomore season, going from 9.8 points per night to 18.2 while also collecting 4.4 rebounds per contest. Bane also took 6.9 triples as opposed to just four in his rookie campaign, draining them at a 43% clip. He’s a top-3 three-point shooter in the NBA and considering the significant leap Bane took last season, all signs point to him surpassing that 20 points per game mark in 2022-23.
He’s a big part of the offense and has one of the highest usage rates on the Grizzlies behind Morant. There is no question Bane will make it rain again and it’ll result in him getting the call to the All-Star Game. Ja won’t be the only one getting the honor this time around.
1. Ja Morant will finish top-3 in MVP voting
Again, this isn’t totally out in left field. Ja just posted averages of 27.4 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds last campaign en route to making the ASG. He put his talent on full display each and every night but it wasn’t enough to seriously be in the conversation for MVP. Nikola Jokic ultimately won it for the second year in a row, while Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo finished second and third, respectively. Ja finished in seventh with minimal votes.
There are so many good players in the league and to say Ja could actually win MVP is very bold at this moment in time. That being said, he is truly an electrifying talent who is the full package offensively. Ja is also one of the most popular players on social media in the league. Fans and the media love him. Morant improved his numbers in a big way in 2021-22, scoring more than eight points per outing compared to Year 2. The Grizzlies guard will continue to elevate his game from him. Ja finishing top three in MVP voting is a serious possibility.