By Shambreon Richardson, Special to TSDMemphis.com
It’s been a rollercoaster for Grizzlies fans over the past two weeks. First the team announced Taylor Jenkins as the new head coach. And then, on back-to-back days, news of the trade of Grizzlies icon Mike Conley Jr. to the Utah Jazz broke Wednesday, followed by the Grizzlies selecting Ja Morant with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday.
It was a lot to take in, but Grizzlies fans are both grateful for the past with Conley and giddy for the future with Morant.
“I’m excited about Ja Morant!” said Vernon Wilson, mortgage agent at Thursday’s draft party at FedExForum. “I think he’s gonna hold his weight with the rest of the guards in the West. Now he’s gonna have some competition because he’s a little bit smaller than what people realize but with his athleticism and jump shot I believe he will be able to hold his own. At first, I was on the RJ Barrette bandwagon because he’s bigger but I think we made a good decision with Ja.I may even get a jersey.”
Wilson wasn’t the only one hoping Morant will bulk up.
“I just hope they take him to Beale Street and get some weight on him because he’s gonna have some real trouble guarding these players in the NBA. ASAP,” said Gavin Staples, salesman.
Highlight reels are made to make players look good. As Morant’s played on the jumbotron, fans oohed and aahed at his deft passing and high-flying dunks.
“His highlights looked faked, how he takes the ball to the hole,” said Grizz fan Michael Wood. “Every time they showed a clip, we bet money that someone was speeding his highlights up. It’s amazing, those are some of the best highlights I have seen in my life. I think they’re gonna be a great team.”
And if Johnni Robinson is any indication, Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. will put butts in seats.
“That was the only pick the Grizzlies could’ve made,” said Robinson, a St. Jude employee. “If he comes in with the same energy he had with Murray State….I mean I know we ain’t going to the championship with him (yet), but mane as long as he keeps that excitement, you’ll see me at every game.”