LA Clippers fans along with the rest of the NBA world received terrible news Monday evening when it was announced that Ja Morant will miss the rest of the 2023-24 season after suffering a shoulder injury. NBA insider Shams Charania first reported the news.
According to the Memphis Grizzlies' press release on the matter, Morant injured his shoulder during a training session this past Saturday. Following the session, he was dealing with continued discomfort and later discovered he required surgery that would ultimately end his season.
This is of course a massive blow to the Grizzlies and their playoff hopes, but it is also sure to have a significant effect on many teams across the Western Conference. While we would never celebrate injury to any player, the reality is that Morant's absence will likely eliminate the Grizzlies from the playoff race.
Morant's injury will likely make the Grizzlies a lottery team
With Memphis now an extremely unlikely candidate to make a push for the playoffs in the West, the Clippers will have one less opponent to beat out for a playoff spot. Of course, LA was already nine spots ahead of the Grizzlies in the standings, but now there is likely no concern at all for Memphis catching up.
The Grizz were 6-3 in the nine games Ja was able to play this season. Adjusted for a full 82-game NBA season makes that a 54-win pace. But even if they had kept that pace up for the remainder of the season, Memphis would have finished below that win threshold due to their slow start.
The Clippers also still had two more dates with the Grizzlies on their schedule, both on the road. Without Ja Morant in the lineup, those games will become much more winnable and should give LA two more wins to help keep them toward the top of the Western Conference standings.