Ja Morant believes he deserves to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award over Zion Williamson.
Morant was selected second overall by the Grizzlies in the 2019 NBA Draft, after Williamson went first to the Pelicans.
Williamson, who played just one season of college basketball at Duke before declaring for the draft, was the heavy favorite for Rookie of the Year honors going into the season, but then he suffered a torn meniscus in October, delaying his professional debut until January.
He has been spectacular since returning from injury, averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game. Williamson has shot 58.9 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) March 2, 2020
Morant, though, has the advantage of playing 59 games to Williamson’s 19 this season, in which he has averaged 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds. He has shot 49.1 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.
His performances had helped to place Memphis in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference when the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on Bleacher Report’s “Take it There with Taylor Rooks,” Morant was asked if he felt like it should even be a close race for the award.
He replied: “Nah, I feel like I’ve done enough. I deserve it.
“I feel like my play this year proved all that. Had a great season so far. This corona stopped that short a little bit.”
Ja Morant of the @memgrizz had a +42 plus/minus in tonight’s win over the Knicks.
That’s the best +/- by a rookie since Mehmet Okur was +46 for the Pistons on January 31, 2003 at Boston.#GrindCity
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) January 30, 2020
The prevailing sentiment among NBA players appears to be toward an eventual resumption of the 2019-20 season rather than ending it prematurely.
Asked if he had spoken to anybody who feels the opposite, Morant said: “I haven’t talked to anybody who hasn’t wanted to play.
“I’m sure everybody wants to, except for teams probably not in the playoffs.”
Author: Nicholas Mcgee