Los Angeles-A Memphis Grizzlies The season, marred by multiple controversies over the face of the franchise, ended much earlier than expected and in an embarrassing manner on Friday night when the Grizzlies were eliminated in a first-round streak that ended in a 125-85 loss Los Angeles Lakers in the game 6.
After the most one-sided postseason loss in All-Star Point Guard franchise history Yes Morant took responsibility for the Grizzlies’ disappointing season with the Western Conference No. 2 and acknowledged his off-court troubles negatively impacted the team.
“I just have to be better at my decision making,” said Morant, who finished with 10 points in 3-of-16 shooting in the blowout loss. “That’s pretty much it. Out-of-court issues have affected us quite a bit as an organization. Only [need] more discipline.”
Morant, 23, was banned for eight games in March for league-damaging behavior after showing a pistol during an early morning Instagram Live session at a strip club near Denver. In a statement announcing the suspension, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver urged Morant to act in a manner that was “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
The NBA also investigated allegations of Indiana Pacers from a post-game confrontation with Morant’s staff following the Grizzlies’ home win on January 29. Members of the Pacers’ tour party said a red laser, which they believed was from a gun, was pointed at them from an SUV that Morant was in and I was riding. The NBA released a statement confirming there was a confrontation, but the league “was unable to confirm that an individual threatened others with a weapon.”
Vomte Pack, Morant’s childhood best friend, who entered the court during the game while arguing with Indiana players, was banned from the FedExForum for a year.
The season also saw reports of two incidents from the summer being investigated by the Memphis Police Department: allegations that Morant and Pack assaulted a high school boy during a pickup game in Morant’s backyard, and a confrontation in which a A police mall security guard said he felt threatened when Morant and several other men arrived after his mother felt disrespected by a shoe store employee.
When asked what he will learn from this season, Morant again mentioned his pattern of poor off-game decisions.
“I feel like I’m more off the pitch and on the pitch – just being disciplined from both sides,” Morant said. “Making better decisions off the pitch. Being locked in even more on the pitch. As the leader of this team, it pretty much starts with me. So no matter how I attack in any situation, I know my boys will follow. That’s got it I just have to get better in this area.”
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said he “wouldn’t use distractions or anything like that as an excuse,” but he called the early playoff elimination a “defining” moment for the Grizzlies, especially for their young core of Morant, power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and shooting guard Desmond Bane.
“I think we have a great culture, and your culture is being tested,” Jenkins said. “I mean there will be opportunities that will show how strong you are, how together you are, how resilient you are, how disciplined you are. And then you really build something day by day to ultimately try to win a championship. It doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing will be a straight line.
“In my opinion, this is probably the moment that will be the ultimate wake-up call. Are we really going to understand that it’s the pre-season and the off-season, the pre-season? It’s what you do at work. “Off the pitch – sure, there are things that we need to control and just embrace together. How are we going to support each other with all those things? This is a journey that you go through from the start of the season to the end of the season, and it’s not meant to be easy, none of that So are we going to take it lightly and take it for granted or are we going to take a really hard look in the mirror?