USA Today via Reuters

Ja Morant’s return helped the struggling Memphis Grizzles turn the tables. Morant returned after a 25-game suspension for displaying a firearm on social media. Other charges included threatening the head of the security and assaulting a teenager. But his genius came on full display as he clinched victory from the jaws of defeat in the game’s final moments against the Pelicans.

Grizzlies have been doing well since then, before he suffered a torn labrum in practice sessions. He will undergo a season-ending shoulder surgery. As his fans are upset over the issue, Kenyon Martin tried to give a sneak peek beneath the surface.

Did the Grizzlies want Ja Morant to be out?

Former Nets veteran Kenyon Martin reappeared on Gil’s Arena, where the participants spoke about various issues.  Ja Morant’s injury too was a part of the discussion. The participants had a hearty laugh as they commented upon “Damn Dawg” that Morant wrote after the news of his injury broke.

Martin, during the discussion, came up with a theory that the media was creating hype around the injury and that Morant’s ouster could be a deliberate attempt by the Grizzlies. He shared that the Grizzlies wanted to finish at the bottom of the conference and did not want to get into a Play-In tournament. He wanted to reason that the Grizzlies wanted to have their hands on lottery picks to have top drafts in their team. Morant’s performances would have robbed them of the draft picks and hence his ouster.

Kenyon said, “I just came up with a wild-ass theory when you were reading that. Yeah, probably it is an injury there, probably not as bad as the media is making it seem. They using the big words and people got to go get the f*****g dictionary. I’ll take a top-three pick this year. Top four pick this year, somebody to go with him.”

The theory seemed to fit the facts. Grizzlies had a poor 6-19 record before Morant returned. After his comeback, Grizzlies climbed to 13-23 and turned things around for his team. The ouster of Morant may help the team, but it will help other players as well.

Martin seems to think that the Grizzlies are tanking for better draft picks next season. And after the NBA laid down strict rules on load management, an extended injury layoff may be the only way to ensure that Ja stays out.

How Ja Morant’s injury will affect Grizzlies

The participants in the discussion laughed that Morant was out for 25 games without pay and that he would be out for 50 games with pay. Morant gets to enjoy his time but his presence on the hardwood has been a backbone for the Grizzlies. He has played for 5 seasons in 257 games and averaged 22.5 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. The former MVP bagged 25.1 points and 8.1 assists on average this season.

With his absence, Derrick Rose and Marcus Smart will get increased roles. Marcus Smart paired well with Desmond Bane as the Grizzlies faced the Dallas Mavericks. Marcus Smart scored 23 points as the Grizzlies won with 120-103 on the scoreboard. Earlier too in Morant’s absence Rose and Smart got increased roles in the team.