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#pounditSunday, April 21, 2024

Ja Morant responds to perceived disrespect from ESPN

Ja Morant looks ahead

Feb 12, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) during the second half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Ja Morant is getting something else to stew over during his 25-game suspension.

The Memphis Grizzlies star Morant tumbled significantly in ESPN’s annual NBA player rankings. After clocking in at No. 9 on ESPN’s list prior to last season, Morant slid all the way down to No. 35 in this year’s edition. That now places Morant below players like Lauri Markkanen, Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, and his own Grizzlies teammate Jaren Jackson Jr.

The multi-time All-Star Morant responded to the perceived disrespect in a tweet on Wednesday.

“no Uturns,” Morant wrote (essentially telling ESPN to stand by their ranking of him all throughout the season and not to backtrack on it).

A decent-sized drop in the rankings was to be expected for Morant after his off-court troubles put a damper on his 2022-23 campaign, which ultimately ended with the Grizzlies being upset by a No. 7 seed in the first round. But Morant’s individual production (26.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game) was still elite. There probably aren’t even 15 players in the NBA with more impressive numbers than that, much less 34.

At the end of the day though, Morant is his own worst enemy and will have to ensure that his personal life no longer interferes with his responsibilities on the basketball court. While the Grizzlies did bring in some veterans who might be able to help him, Morant is the only one standing in his own way from proving ESPN (and the rest of the world) wrong.

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