The Grizzlies seem to believe that confidence is contagious.
After an October win over the Sacramento Kings, the rookie Jake LaRavia was chosen for the postgame interview on the team’s local broadcast after he scored a career high 13 points. Jones joined in the interview and sang. “Shoot the ball, Rook!” Jackson patted LaRavia’s head as LaRavia spoke. Adams arrived a few seconds later and hugged LaRavia around his shoulders before leading the group in a cheer — a version of the Spanish word for “yes” — made famous by the soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
“When you see Ja do that, when you see Jaren do that, when you see Des do that, when you see Dillon do that, everyone else kind of gravitates toward that,” Jenkins said. “And goes, hey, wow, that’s kind of who I am so this actually makes sense with this group.”
Although their energy is still high from last season’s, they are working hard to be fully fit for the next run at the playoffs. Jackson will be able to recover from his foot injury within the next few months. Danny Green, 35, whom the Grizzlies acquired in a summer trade with Philadelphia, has not played yet because he’s recovering from a knee injury.
The Grizzlies were tied with Portland for the second-best record in the Western Conference entering Sunday’s games. They have fumed about each loss as if it counted for more than just one of the season’s 82 games.
Months remain until they’ll have another chance to attack the playoffs, so they aren’t talking about that much, right now.
They have spoken about it. Bane and Morant discussed winning a Memphis championship together. Morant signed a five year extension in July. Bane is currently under contract for the 2023-24 season, but Bane can be extended next summer.
“Not saying this year or next year — who knows when it comes,” Bane spoke of winning a championship. “But that’s our goal before we move on to our next step in life, whatever that may be.”
He spoke it with the calm confidence of someone who believes that this is just the beginning.