Ja Morant & Desmond Bane Backcourt Duo Putting League On Notice | Memphis Grizzlies Are Legit

The Memphis Grizzlies made a surprise visit to the playoffs last season. Led by Ja Morant, the Grizzlies are looking to surprise again. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Memphis Grizzlies surprised everyone last season when they upset the Golden State Warriors in the play-in game and pushed the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

They are still feeding off of that postseason success and are currently the No. 4 seed in the West at 25-14. The Grizz even have road wins against the top three seeds in the Western Conference (Warriors, Suns and Jazz).

Ja Morant and Desmond Bane comprise a Memphis backcourt that’s been putting the league on notice.

Bane’s Shooting Ability Complements Morant’s Creative Downhill Driving Ability

Last season, the chemistry between Morant and Bane wasn’t there, as Bane was finding his way as a rookie. Morant’s backcourt mate was Dillon Brooks, who’s a very good on-ball defender and slasher at times. But his shooting isn’t good enough to provide the spacing needed to allow the dynamic Morant to flourish.

Bane was drafted out of TCU for his knockdown shooting and basketball IQ. His strengths complement Morant’s, which in turn has made them one of the league’s best backcourt duos.

For starters, they’re the first backcourt in Grizzlies history to score 30 points in the same game.

Morant was the No. 2 overall pick in 2019 and he won NBA Rookie of the Year in 2020. He was also named NBA All-Rookie First Team that season. Bane came off the bench for the bulk of his 2020-21 season, but was still named NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

Head Coach Taylor Jenkins Deserves Credit For The Switch To Bane With Morant

Taylor Jenkins did a masterful job getting the most out of his young, upstart squad. With stretch 4 Jaren Jackson Jr. returning from injury late in the season and still not quite himself, Rooks turned to Morant and Brooks as the catalysts for the late-season run. Brooks, however, has never fully committed to playing disciplined basketball on both ends. He has the propensity to take bad shots on offense and pick up senseless fouls.

That lack of discipline doesn’t work with Jenkins, who’s a disciple of Gregg Popovich (Spurs) and Mike Budenholzer (Bucks), two of the more disciplined coaches in the league.

Jenkins is a rising star as a head coach, and for his efforts he was recently named Western Conference Coach of the Month for December.

He led the Grizz to a 12-4 record last month. The team also has a league-high 14 wins versus teams with winning records this season.

Morant And Bane Are An Upgraded Version Of Mike Conley Jr. and Tony Allen

The  Memphis Grizzlies were led for years by the “Grit and Grind” culture with hardnosed players like Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley Jr. and Tony Allen. They often used their toughness to challenge more talented teams, with Conley Jr. and Allen battling some of the premier guard tandems in the league nightly. But with Conley Jr. and Allen being somewhat limited offensively it was usually never enough.

But Morant and Bane are capable of running with the Warriors duo of Steph Curry and Jordan Poole. They’ve shown an ability to raise their level of play when facing the top-tier backcourt duos.

When Morant was out with an ankle injury the Grizz showed that they are more than a one-man show, as Bane carried much of the weight in Ja’s abscence.

Together, Morant and Bane have led Memphis to a league-leading nine double-digit come-from-behind victories this season.

Ja Morant Is A Superstar: He Should Mentioned Be In The MVP Race And All-NBA Teams

The former Murray State Racer is a budding superstar who doesn’t get enough recognition for his play. The athletic point guard is averaging 25.1 points, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds on 48.9 percent shooting despite missing 12 games.

He’s always been one who could attack the rim with the best of them, but it’s his improved three-point shooting that has taken his game to another level. His first two seasons he shot it from deep at 31.5 percent. That percentage has ballooned to 40 percent this season, elevating Morant’s efectiveness as a player and the fortunes of the team.


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