Sixers Star Praises Ja Morant’s Ahead of Matchup With Grizzlies

Ja Morant, Sixers

Getty Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies controls the ball during the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 27, 2022 in New York City.

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the midst of a road trip that includes some Western Conference foes they do not regularly face off with. They will soon be tested by facing off with the Memphis Grizzlies who sit in 4th place in the Western Conference with a record of 12-9. You cannot get far when discussing the Grizzlies without bringing up Ja Morant. The all-star guard is averaging 28.2 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.3 rebounds while connecting at a career-high three-point rate. Joel Embiid was asked about the star guard ahead of the matchup and was not shy with his praise.

As Embiid put it, “He’s hard to guard. Especially when he’s coming downhill, attacking the rim. You don’t know what he’s gonna do because he’s so quick, he’s got so much bounce, he can dunk on you, he’s got a great floater, this year he’s shooting the ball well from three. So it’s gonna be a tough matchup.”

Will Morant Cause Issues For the Sixers?

While Morant tends to cause issues for just about every team, the Sixers may have an especially difficult time matching up. They have struggled against hyper-athletic guards in the past and Morant just about headlines this pack of players. His quick burst and elite bounce allow him to navigate into the paint at will and he has done a terrific job using this to springboard the rest of his game.

The Sixers remain shorthanded at guard with James Harden’s return looming and Tyrese Maxey still on the injury report. While Maxey has drawn some comparison to Morant for their pace in the past, neither he nor Harden likely would have been much help in matching up with Morant. Both impressive offensive weapons have their struggles on the defensive end for different reasons which is something to keep an eye on as the team returns to full strength.

The most likely matchup for Morant will be his former teammate De’Anthony Melton who has a better chance than most to neutralize the superstar. Melton also possesses impressive athleticism along with a 6’8″ wingspan and currently is tied for second in the NBA in deflections per game. He has done an impressive job stepping into the starting role amid the slew of injuries, but this may be his toughest task thus far.

Could De’Anthony Melton Have a Revenge Game?

It was only a few months ago that the Grizzlies elected to trade Melton to the Sixers in exchange for Danny Green and the 23rd overall pick in the draft. Melton has played a key role all season and especially stepped up during this shorthanded stretch. Over the past seven games, he has averaged 14.7 points, 3.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.4 steals per game.

Melton has received an expanded role since coming to Philadelphia as he is playing a career-high 28.1 minutes per game. Embiid also mentioned the 24-year-old following his discussion on Morant and stated there could be a revenge game in store. As the Sixers superstar put it, “I’m excited for De’Anthony (Melton) to be back. I’m expecting him to score 40 against them to show them they made a mistake trading him away. So it’s gonna be fun.”

It will be exciting to see how Melton looks against his former team and a strong performance will be necessary for the Sixers’ success. He has played a crucial role for the team so far this season and exceeded expectations to start the year. It will be a fun homecoming for Melton and hopefully, he and the Sixers will get their revenge on his former team.

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