The Memphis Grizzlies wasted no time after securing the second pick in the NBA Draft lottery, by reportedly telling “interested parties” they intend on selecting Murray State phenom, Ja Morant.
Morant was hyped up throughout the college basketball season but didn’t fully put the nation on notice until the NCAA tournament where he recorded a triple-double in his first game and had a solid performance following that. He’s widely regarded as the second-best player up for the draft and in all reality, Morant will serve as Mike Conley’s successor.
The Grizzlies were supposed to draft eighth in the draft but luckily moved up to second. Although they were one spot away from being Zion Williamson-eligible, Ja Morant may be a perfect fit for a Memphis franchise that has gotten used to having a strong point guard presence. However, Morant is a different style point guard than Conely. He’s really a split between Russell Westbrook and Allen Iverson if you’re into comparisons.
With his skill-set being more comparable to Westbrook and Iverson, that leads one to think that he’d be fine playing shooting guard, alongside Conely, whose productivity seems to be hitting a decline in his 11th season.
Morant has the speed and explosiveness of Westbrook, with the agility and shooting ability of Iverson. When his time comes, he’ll fall right into place as Memphis’ next big name at point guard. The fact that he’ll be Conely’s apprentice for presumably a couple of years will that up nicely for him, as long as he’s patient.
Morant’s signature season was his second at Murray State where he averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 rebounds in 36.6 minutes per game. He’s a 36.3 percent 3-point shooter, shot 81.3 percent from the free throw line, and hit 49.9 percent of his field goals. The 6-foot-3 guard led his team to a big win over Marquette in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
This pick is a match made in heaven for both sides. Morant will serve as security for Memphis as Conely starts to decline from being a starter. The Grizzlies can eventually hand Morant the keys. Meanwhile, Morant can learn, add some more polish to his game, possibly bulk up a little bit and take a franchise over when he’s older, more mature and more prepared than he is now.
Memphis knows what they are doing and I like it.