And with that pick, a new era in Memphis Grizzlies basketball is officially underway.
The 19 year-old Morant, who will be 20 at the start of the season, has been linked with the Grizzlies almost immediately after Memphis moved up to the #2 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. Now, Ja comes to the Grizzlies and figures to pair nicely alongside big man Jaren Jackson Jr., hopefully for the next decade.
In 36.8 minutes played per game last season, Morant averaged 24.5 points on nearly 50% shooting, 10 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game. He was the Murray State Racers - without him, they do not make the NCAA Tournament and win an upset game in the first round against Marquette. He’s a remarkable passer, an explosive finisher at the rim, and he has a skill set that should both compliment Jaren and make those around him that much better. Beyond the floor, he has a story and personality that fits Memphis extremely well. It appears to be a hell of a marriage.
Real Hooper.— Ball Don't Stop (@balldontstop) June 19, 2019
This is why @igotgame_12 is the best prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft. Ja grew up playing outdoors in a backyard court his parents saved up to build. Before the court was built, he played on the dirt. This dude is going to be a dog in the league.
Morant is not a perfect prospect. He needs to protect the ball better, and he probably will have a bit of a learning curve going from Murray State to the NBA. He also needs to develop as a defender, and add muscle to his frame.
But for new Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins and the Grizzlies, adding an elite talent like Morant will make the growing pains worth while. This was the correct selection at #2, and Grizzlies fans should be rejoicing wherever they are.
Memphis, of course, is not done yet. They will be adding another young player at #23 overall after Wednesday’s Mike Conley trade, and there’s more room for moves now than there was before the departure of Mike. But make no mistake, this will be Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.’s team...and watching them grow together will make the coming rebuild much easier to swallow.