Grizzlies Have Second-Longest Playoff Odds Ahead of Ja Morant’s Return

Grizzlies Have Second-Longest Playoff Odds Ahead of Ja Morant’s Return article feature image

Ja Morant returns from his 25-game suspension on Tuesday, and not a moment too soon for the struggling Grizzlies. Memphis was expected to struggle without Morant during the early portion of the year, but not to this extent — their 6-19 record is the fourth-worst in the league.

The Grizzlies have been hit hard by injuries as they waited for Morant to return. They knew they’d be without Brandon Clarke after he tore his Achilles toward the end of the 2023 campaign. Additionally, Steven Adams had season-ending knee surgery after appearing in two preseason games, while Marcus Smart — who was acquired in a blockbuster deal this offseason from the Celtics — has been out for over a month with a foot injury.

The Grizzlies desperately need Morant. He’s a game-changer, as Memphis went 40-21 last year with him in the fold. The point guard averaged 26.2 points and a career-high 8.1 assists as he was named an All-Star for the second straight season.

So, can Morant lead the Grizzlies to an unlikely playoff berth, or did Memphis dig itself too big of a hole?

Oddsmakers believe it’s the latter. The Grizzlies opened the year with the seventh-best odds to win the NBA title (+2400) but are now +20000 at DraftKings. Their playoff hopes are quite grim, too. The Grizzlies have the second-longest odds in the West to make the playoffs at FanDuel (+1300), ahead of only the Utah Jazz, and are +750 to make the play-in tournament.

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