The Grizzlies, who were one of the strongest teams in the West last season, nowadays are sunk at the bottom of their conference after a 2-9 start of the current campaign. Despite not counting on Ja Morant yet, they possess newcomer Marcus Smart, acquired over the summer from the Celtics, who is doing his best to lead the squad.
In a recent interview, the 29-year-old admitted to feeling a bit frustrated, but isn’t too worried as he’s convinced the team will overcome their early struggles. “Control what you can control,” he said this week. “Coming in, we knew we would be at a little bit of a disadvantage. Then things started spiraling for us. That’s life. It’s never going to be perfect. Things happen. You just have to figure it out and find a way.
“For us, there are going to be ups and there are going to be downs. We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low on them. So we control what we can control – that’s coming in here every day and working with what we’ve got.”
WHAT A PLAY BY MARCUS SMART 😤 pic.twitter.com/Hpm66ACbqz
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 12, 2023
Memphis’ two victories have come against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Portland Trail Blazers, while Marcus is averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists so far this campaign while shooting 42.9% from the field, 29.5% from range and 81.0% from the free-throw line.
According to the former Boston player, he never grew accustomed to losing games. “It’s been hard, especially when you’re not used to losing and with this team,” Smart expressed. “Last year, they were the No. 2 seed and were used to winning. There weren’t many games that they lost. So it’s about understanding that it’s okay that you’re losing and that you can still have fun and be happy.
“Things are going to be okay. For this team, it’s huge to be able to have fun and play even when things aren’t going well. When we have the right mindset, things starts to go right.”
Currently, the Grizzlies are competing without Morant, Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke and Derrick Rose. As Marcus just injured his ankle against the Lakers, the team hopes he can return as soon as possible.
Coach Taylor Jenkins says Ja Morant is ‘pushing every button possible’ to be ready for his return
We can’t help but think that Memphis could surely use the talents of Ja Morant, but unfortunately they must still wait until mid-December for his return.
As the young star’s 25-game suspension is set to end next month, he’s doing everything possible to be ready for when the time comes. The two-time All-Star can’t even be in the arena when his teammates are playing games, but he sure spends time around his squad the rest of the time.
“He’s fully involved in practices, film sessions, individual workouts, team dinners, the social things that they’re doing in the hotel room after games,” coach Taylor Jenkins said before Sunday’s game against the Clippers.
His coach is convinced he’s grown a lot ever since the last incident. “He’s got a great positive attitude throughout this,” Jenkins expressed. “I know it can be frustrating for him, the team not having him around. We understand the circumstances.”