3 things Grizzlies learned from Ja Morant's return vs. Pelicans

Dec 19, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, center, is mobbed by
Dec 19, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, center, is mobbed by / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
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Tuesday evening, Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant made his long-awaited return to the hardwood after serving out a 25-game league-issued suspension to kick off 2023-24.

Squaring off against the surging New Orleans Pelicans, Taylor Jenkins' ball club found themselves coming in amid a grueling five-game losing streak while sporting the second-worst record in the Western Conference standings at 6-18.

Despite this dichotomy, the Morant-led Grizzlies more so resembled the club that won 52 games just last year rather than the cellar dwellers they currently register in as this season, and, in the end, climbed out of a 19-point halftime hole and claimed a truly historic 115-113 win over NOLA.

Grizzlies learned a lot following Ja Morant's return game vs. Pelicans

Wednesday's outing easily served as the most exciting game of the campaign for the Grizzlies and provided a glimpse at what this team both could be and what they still need with Morant back in the fold.

With this in mind, here are a few things Memphis should have learned from their latest showing against the Pelicans.

3. Ja Morant makes on-court life astronomically easier for Grizzlies

Though it may not be anything new for the Grizzlies considering he's been doing it essentially since joining the team back in 2019, one of the main things the franchise "relearned" from Morant's season debut is how his presence alone makes things much easier for his on-court cohorts.

Particularly evident during his astounding second-half surge when he dropped 27 of his 34 total points on the night, the attention the point guard draws from an opposing team's defense makes open looks for teammates far more frequent while his passing abilities help create clean scoring opportunities for all around him.

During this aforementioned time frame when Morant went scorched earth, Memphis saw four of their 10 utilized players shoot 80 percent or better from the field while all five who logged over 11 minutes played shot 56 percent or better, with many of their makes in the second half coming off Morant-induced looks (assists, screens, double teams, etc.).

On the night as a whole, on top of his historic scoring performance, the point guard managed to dish out eight assists and swiped away two steals on help defense efforts, showing that not only makes life easier for his team on the offensive side of the ball but on the less glamorous side as well.