A season that ended with the Memphis Grizzlies growing beyond the expectations of most but short of where the players wanted to end up has yielded to early post-season reflections.
Making an appearance at the obligatory team exit interviews, rising-star point guard Ja Morant was direct.
“I just look for finding areas I can be better at,” he said. “For me, I am never satisfied. I try to work on everything.”
Team-wise, the Grizzlies “just need to continue to grow with each other,” he said. “We have been playing together for the last two years. You see what the difference a year can make.”
That meant going from not making the playoffs to battling through a new play-in tournament to getting into the playoffs and forcing the No. 1-seeded Utah Jazz awake with a game one victory in the opener of the best-of-seven series.
And while the Grizzlies were eliminated four games to one, they clearly earned respect throughout the league and from observers – professionals and water-cooler pundits.
“TV games,” said Morant, “I felt like that allowed for people to see us, to see how we play. We had a lot of games on TV at the end of the season. They were able to see how talented we are. We opened a lot of eyes.”
Morant turned in monster-level games against the Jazz, with some openly saying he would be even more of a terror to defend with an improve shot from three-point territory.
“I was always confident,” Morant said of his long-range shooting. “It is not a very important thing for me. I am going to continue to get better in all areas of my game.
“I honestly don’t care about what outsiders say about my game. We will see next season.”