Memphis Grizzlies: Why Ja Morant is the most clutch player in the NBA

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies‘ inexplicably inconsistent season continued on Monday night — this time, we saw the great side of this squad. Memphis knocked off the Phoenix Suns, one of the best teams in the league, in a 114-113 nail-biter.

The away win proved that this Grizz team isn’t bad with Ja Morant — in fact, the ceiling of this squad is distinctly higher. That said, fans were critical after a two-game losing streak to kick off his return from injury. Now, I’m guessing they’ll let it slide.

On Monday night, Ja Morant played a key role in the Grizzlies’ close win over the Suns. I’m not referring to his 33-point, 4-assist, 4-rebound stat line, either — I’m talking about the fact that he bounced back from a clutch Devin Booker three-pointer with a driving bucket to put Memphis ahead with less than a second remaining.

Has Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant solidified himself as the league’s most clutch player?

The claim in the headline above may seem like a bold take, but hear me out. For starters, let’s look at Morant’s clutch bucket from Monday night via the Memphis Grizzlies on Twitter.

The degree of difficulty on this shot alone is jarring. Once you come to that realization, however, you realize how much more difficult it becomes when you consider the circumstances. Game on the line, less than a second remaining, one-point deficit. Didn’t matter — Morant hit the bucket.

The beauty of this play is that everything Morant did was perfect. He saw a slightly confused Suns defense struggle to switch and drove to the bucket, giving him an opportunity that quickly closed up. But he held onto the ball in the air, waited for defenders to fly by, and released the ball just before landing on the ground.

Morant’s bucket came just seconds after a go-ahead three-pointer from Devin Booker that looked like it may have sealed the game. On Monday night, he out-clutched Booker and the Phoenix Suns.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen more come up big in the clutch, either. In fact, unlike some superstars who hog the ball in clutch time, Morant seems to know when to hold onto it and when to dish it out, which is why the Grizzlies are one of the best teams in the league in close-game situations.

In the context of the league, Morant is fifth in the NBA in clutch points per game with 4.3 points per contest. In these games, the Grizzlies are 7-4 on the year.

5 New Years resolutions for the Memphis Grizzlies. dark. Next

We saw clutch Morant multiple times in the NBA Playoffs and NBA Play-In Tournament last year. In 2021, we’ll likely see late-season clutch Morant again.