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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2. Grizzlies still need more reliable off-ball shot-makers

Though the previously mentioned takeaway about how Morant makes things much easier for his team and teammates certainly has its positive spins, it ironically also has its downsides and we saw it on full display during the first half of action.

As was expected considering it was his first lick of NBA action in 235 days, the point guard seemingly came out of the gates a bit sluggish during his return game Wednesday night, as he had a rather inefficient first half of play that saw him put up just 7 points on a lackluster 3-of-8 shooting from the field and dished out 3 assists compared to 2 turnovers.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Grizzlies also struggled to find a rhythm during this stretch, as the team shot just 38.1 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from distance despite receiving ample quality looks, many of which being open kick-out attempts, while trailing by 19 (41-60) heading into the break.

Fortunately for them, the team started to get hot during the third and then in the crucial fourth quarter, although it took a heroic surge by Morant to help get them there, as explained in the previous slide.

Had Memphis been able to cash in on a few more of their 42 first-half shots, a bevy of which were catch-and-shoot attempts, perhaps they wouldn't have had to be as reliant on a history-making second half from Morant down the stretch as they were.

Be it in the form of the return of veteran sniper Luke Kennard or a trade for another trusty scorer, as it had been evident early on in the season, even with their centerpiece back in the mix the Grizzlies desperately need more shot-makers within their rotation.