Memphis Grizzlies: 4 rival teams to keep an eye on in 2021-22

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies have seen year-over-year incremental improvement ever since the arrival of Ja Morant. The team hopes, with its roster full of new faces, to continue its development of young talent and prepare for the next era of Grizzlies basketball once Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson, Jr. are signed to long-term extensions.

The NBA stats department recently pointed out that the Grizzlies are the only team in the NBA to see three straight seasons of improved winning percentage.

In the season before Morant’s arrival (2018-19), the Memphis Grizzlies finished with a record of 33-49 — missing the playoffs for the second season in a row.

In Ja Morant’s rookie season (2019-20), the Grizzlies finished 34-39, making it to the inaugural play-in game in “The Bubble.”

Last season (2020-21), the Grizzlies finished 38-34, playing in two play-in games and earning a trip to the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

The Memphis Grizzlies will look to improve their streak of improvement in 2021-22

Can the Memphis Grizzlies make it four straight seasons of improvement? Will the Grizzlies be able to make it to a third-straight play-in game? The answers to these questions will rest largely on the shoulders of Ja Morant and co., but some of it will depend on how teams on the playoff fringe fare in the regular season.

These are the four teams you can expect the Memphis Grizzlies to be jockeying for position late in the season.