Ja Morant has been named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) December 3, 2019
While the month of November did not end in ideal fashion for the Grizzlies or Ja Morant, his efforts throughout the month have earned him what hopefully be the first of many awards in what should be a special rookie season. Per Omari Sankofa of the Athletic, Morant was named the NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month. In November, Morant led all rookies with 19.0 PPG and 6.8 APG in 13 contests. He was third with 1.2 steals per game, and shot 44.6% from the field and 40.6% from beyond the arc.
Brandon Clarke was also an official candidate for the award as well after his stellar play as one of the breakout surprises of this rookie class.
As Sankofa notes, this the first time a Grizzlies rookie has won the Rookie of the Month award since Nick Calathes in February of 2014. Morant is now the seventh Grizzlies rookie to win the Rookie of the Month award since the franchise moved to Memphis. Previous winners included Calathes, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Drew Gooden, Shane Battier, and Pau Gasol. This is the 10th overall time a Grizzlies rookie has won the award, as Gasol won the award three times during the 2001-2002 season and Mayo won the award twice in the 2008-2009 season.
Of course, the bigger prize for Morant is the Rookie of the Year award. If his health can cooperate, and he can quickly return to his level of play in November, winning the Rookie of the Month award in the first full month of the season is a significant step. Since the NBA started awarding Rookie of the Month awards for both conferences during the 2001-2002 season, 15 of the 18 Rookie of the Year award winners also won the first Rookie of the Month award handed out that season. Morant is striving to join Gasol as the only Grizzlies rookies to ever win Rookie of the Year.