The Memphis Grizzlies entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex bubble site eighth in the Western Conference standings and three-and-a-half games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, but Memphis still has plenty of work ahead to qualify for the playoff tournament.
Under the NBA resumption protocols, Memphis must hold a lead of at least four-and-a-half games over the club/clubs in ninth to avoid a play-in game or games for the conference's final postseason berth.
Memphis star guard and uncrowned NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant criticized the process during an appearance on ESPN's "The Jump" that aired Thursday.
"I just feel like it's an extra chip," Morant said during the interview. "You know — more fuel to the fire, more motivation for us."
While Morant thinks that it's unfair finishing eighth may not be good enough to earn a playoff berth, the 20-year-old added all Memphis can do is win and control the club's postseason destiny.
"But, you know, we can't control that," he said. "Only thing we can control is how, you know, we go out and attack each of these games before that decision is made."
Memphis plays Portland on Friday and New Orleans next Monday.