Is Ja Morant’s return to the Grizzlies being rushed? | Ball Don’t Lie

The Memphis point guard will not play on Monday, despite being eligible to return from his 8-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the league. Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill is joined by HBO’s Bomani Jones on the inaugural episode of “Good Word with Goodwill” on the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast to discuss the Memphis point guard’s return to the court — while he is eligible to play at any time, is it already too soon? Subscribe to Ball Don't Lie on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

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VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, Bo, you've touched on this stuff before. But I'm very curious as we get into this, the Ja Morant situation for, I'm sure everybody knows, the eight-game suspension. He did the interview with Jalen Rose from ESPN a couple of days ago. If you're hearing this Monday, he's not playing on Monday, even though he's eligible to come back, recalled on the return-to-conditioning plan that the Memphis Grizzlies called it.

Bo, my question, just in general, with what we've heard about Ja, it feels like eight games, not necessarily from a punitive standpoint, but just eight games in two weeks, does it feel like-- because you were one of the people who said, I'm not sure if he's coming back and playing this year. Does it feel like that part of this is being a bit rushed?

BOMANI JONES: Look, man. That dude said he went and learned some breathing exercises, and he got this all under control. What? Like, that was my thing as I was sitting there listening. I was like, you got this all figured out in a week? Teach me your ways, right?

Like, whenever people talk about their problems in the terms that they were using it to talk about his problems, so basically, all you needed was a week off of work? That was it, and you got to the bottom of everything? But you know, did you really get to the bottom of it, though?


And I ask that because the Grizzlies are now deciding that they're not gonna stay in any city after any road games. And I'm like, what are we doing here? Like, none of this appears to make sense to me. What are we doing here?

So if he's good, I hope that he's good. It just doesn't seem like this is something that you fix in the way that they describe fixing it for him, because, I mean, from what I can tell in the playoffs, pressure, you know what I'm saying?


BOMANI JONES: Pressure. That's what's coming up. Like, if the pressure of whatever it was then was doing it to you, it just seemed like a lot to expect all that change. That's the part that left me confused.


I thought they should have made a long play and just been like, yo, go get yourself right, because the one thing about them is they can't win in the playoffs without him. I don't know how much they can win in the playoffs with him. But I know this. They win in the regular season without him. Like, they become a different type of team, but that means the same thing--

VINCENT GOODWILL: They're winning now in the regular season without him.

BOMANI JONES: Well, the same thing happened last year, didn't it?

VINCENT GOODWILL: Yeah. They were 18 and 2 without him. I think they won five out of their last six recently.


BOMANI JONES: Yeah. Yeah. And I don't have an explanation for it. Like, I don't watch them closely enough to tell you why they do that. But they can win games in the regular season without him, right? It does feel rushed. But I mean, they know more than I do, right? Like, I got to lean back on that. Maybe they know something I don't, because this all sounds a little kooky to me.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, it sounds like, let's split the baby. Let's figure out a way that we can get you some help while also get you back to this money while also looking at a wide-open Western Conference and saying, Ja, if you get through this, we can actually play until June, maybe if you get yourself right. And Bo, I don't feel like that's the case.