Are Ja Morant, Memphis Contenders For 2022 NBA Finals?

Ja Morant continued his magical season with a career-best performance Monday, scoring 52 points with several highlight-reel plays in the Memphis Grizzlies’ 118-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

With the NBA’s third-best record, the Grizzlies are making the case to be viewed as contenders to make a run to the 2022 NBA Finals. The betting odds suggest that the Grizzlies aren’t on the same level as the league’s best teams, despite what the regular-season standings might indicate.

Eight teams currently have better championship odds than Memphis at DraftKings Sportsbook. With +2500 odds to win the title, the Grizzlies are right behind the Boston Celtics (+2200) and Utah Jazz (+1700).

The Grizzlies are only a game behind the Golden State Warriors in the West standings. The Warriors trail the Phoenix Suns by six games for the No. 1 seed in the West. Memphis has a better record than any team in the East. 


The Suns are favored with +380 odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals. They are followed by the Warriors (+450), Brooklyn Nets (+475), Philadelphia 76ers (+700) and Milwaukee Bucks (+750). The Miami Heat (+1000) are the East’s No. 1 seed with 21 games left. 

Injuries for the Suns and Warriors could improve the Grizzlies’ chances of making a deep playoff run. Golden State is 14-10 since Draymond Green suffered a back injury, and it’s unknown when the Defensive Player of the Year candidate will return. Chris Paul could miss the remainder of the regular season for Phoenix with a thumb injury.

Morant is a legitimate MVP candidate in just his fourth NBA season out of little-known Murray State. The point guard is averaging 27.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. 

Morant also has a solid supporting cast. Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are all averaging at least 16.5 points per game for Memphis. The Grizzlies rank eighth in defensive efficiency.

Memphis is 23-11 against teams that are above .500.

The teams with better odds than the Grizzlies have more established postseason pedigrees. The Grizzlies reached the playoffs for the first time in four years last season, but only won a single playoff game. 

The Suns made it to Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals after an 11-year playoff drought.

Ja Morant LeBron James Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant guarding Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James during a regular season game. Photo: Getty Images/Justin Ford

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