The Memphis Grizzlies find themselves off to their worst start to a campaign since the 2002-03 season, as they are the last winless team in the association with a putrid record of 0-5.
From their surprisingly poor defensive efforts (rank 22 in defensive rating at 113.7) despite rostering the two most recent Defensive Player of the Year award recipients in Marcus Smart and Jaren Jackson Jr. to their horrendous offensive play where they rank eighth-worst in points per game and dead last in offensive rating (102.5), Taylor Jenkins’ club seems to be far removed from their two most recent seasons where they finished with the second-best record out West.
While many factors have aided in their lackluster kick-off to 2023-24, it is widely agreed that the absence of superstar Ja Morant has provided the most significant blow for this team.
Serving out a league-issued suspension following yet another gun-related social media incident back in May, the point guard has been unavailable for all five of their matchups to date and will remain sidelined for the next 20 games as a result.
During the months following the announcement of his penance, Morant has received significant backlash from both fans and media pundits alike. On the latest edition of the Locked on Grizzlies podcast, co-host Joe Mullinax piled on with the justified slandering of the 24-year-old, as he branded the All-Star as the person who’s most to blame for the winless start for the Grizzlies.
Grizzlies absent superstar Ja Morant branded as ‘failure of the season so far’
"“The failure of the season so far is Ja Morant. This is Ja Morant’s fault,” Mullinax said. “He’s the one guy who isn’t there that should be there. Brandon Clarke got injured, Steven Adams go injured, you’ve got guys banged up. They would much rather be playing than have surgery and going through rehab. Ja Morant made choices that led to him not being available to his team. The millions of dollars, the investment of time and treasure that have been put into him, he’s basically a black hole right now, at least in terms of the on-the-court product… I blame Ja Morant [for the 0-5 start] first and foremost.”"
Aside from Morant’s absence, Mullinax and fellow host Demichael Cole would continue their conversation by discussing other contributing factors that have aided in Memphis’ winless start, particularly putting the spotlight on GM Zach Kleiman for opting to “quadruple down on youth” despite their aspirations of being a win-now franchise.
He would also go on to cast some blame upon the team’s front office for possibly not having the guard “be held accountable” for his troubling transgressions throughout his tenure, but ultimately acknowledged that, at the end of the day, he’s “a grown man who needs to make his own decisions” and, unfortunately, said decisions have come back to bite both him and the team.