3 reasons why the Memphis Grizzlies are an elite NBA team in 2021-22

Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Memphis Grizzlies
Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies have had a really strange season. After a 9-10 start which included a win against the best team in the NBA and a loss against the worst team in the NBA, Ja Morant was injured, creating a sure setback for this squad.

But as I’ve said so many times already, this team has not taken a step back at all — in fact, they actually look better now. In fact, Memphis has now won nine of their last ten games, moving them to 18-11 on the year. The only team with as good of a record in that stretch is the Utah Jazz. So what has changed?

At some point, the Grizzlies took the next step toward being one of the Western Conference’s elite teams — there are only five squads in the league with a better record than Memphis. Today, I’m giving you three reasons why and how they inexplicably took this next step.

Reason No. 1: The Memphis Grizzlies have not been turning the ball over frequently

Just as a precursor, I don’t think Ja Morant’s absence is the reason why Memphis is winning. That said, it does have its perks at times and this is one of them.

One of the Grizzlies’ early-season struggles came in the turnover department. While Ja Morant is one of the league’s better passers, his high-octane playstyle tends to cause him to turn the ball over semi-frequently.

Morant is in the top 20 in the league in turnovers per game. Though, for what it’s worth, that list also holds other impact players like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Luka Doncic, who occupy the top three spots.

With Tyus Jones in the game as the team’s starting point guard, the Grizzlies’ turnovers per game number has actually risen. That said, this team isn’t giving away the same amount of unforced turnovers as they were in the past.