Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has indeed been the brightest neophyte of the 2019-20 NBA regular season campaign.
The 20-year-old Murray State product seems to be a lock for the Rookie of the Year plum this season after notching remarkable averages of 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists on 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 36.7 percent from downtown in 59 games.
The youth-laden Grizzlies were expected to be in a rebuilding phase entering the season and drafting the Murray State product 2nd overall during the 2019 NBA Draft was part of the long plan. Morant’s brilliance, however, has sped up the process as the Grizz compiled a 32-33 record (8th in the West) prior to the league suspension due to the pandemic.
One look at Morant’s game shows vast similarities with one-time MVP Russell Westbrook. Apart from being the same size, Morant also possesses the unworldly athleticism and bravado of the Houston Rockets springy point guard.
Ja Morant Jersey is indeed a special talent on his own, but fans can’t help but compare him to some of the greatest to ever play the point guard position. Here are three legendary superstars who eerily resemble Morant’s game.
Right off the bat when he first made headlines as a scrawny guard for the Racers, Morant has already been pegged as the next Allen Iverson Jersey.
Those comparisons couldn’t have been more accurate when he entered the pros, as the youngster went to work early — much like how AI stole headlines in his rookie year in 1996.
The defining trait that Morant and Iverson have in common is their utter fearlessness when attacking the cup.
Iverson, who was named league MVP in 2001, blitzed through the paint with reckless abandon. It didn’t matter that bigger and more athletic bigs were waiting for him inside. He absorbed every contact and produced results one way or another. The same goes for Morant, who has already compiled several Iverson-like highlights in such a short amount of time in the league.
Like Iverson, Morant also has a deep bag of ball-handling tricks and has already served up defenders with plenty of ankle breakers.
The 6-foot-3 speedster also carries an unapologetic attitude like “The Answer”. Morant even took shots at AI’s former Sixers teammate Andre Iguodala for his refusal to suit for Memphis this season.
Iverson, of course, went on to have a legendary career and Morant will have to work his butt off to reach that same level of success. In retrospect, Morant is taller than AI and plays a bit more above the rim.
The 11-time All-Star went on to win ROY in 1997 with averages of 23.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 2.1 steals. Those numbers are indeed superior than Morant’s rookie year so far, but it’s not hard to envision Ja becoming the same type of player in years to come.
To be fair, Morant is indeed more athletic than Zeke was ever known for. But although they played generations apart, it seems that Morant somehow inherited the grit and no-nonsense approach of the Detroit Pistons legend.
Thomas carried a menacing attitude needed to command the Bad Boy Pistons during their rein in the ‘80s. Morant has only been a pro for 59 games, yet he has already shown that competitive fire that made Thomas the legend that he is.
The bold rookie has already taken command of the upstart Grizzlies squad this year, thanks in large part to displaying the same take no prisoners mentality that Thomas had.
Skills wise, Thomas is by far the better shooter and more tactical facilitator when he first entered the league in 1981. Morant obviously has all the time in the world to continue improving on those aspects.
Only time will tell if Morant will also one day become an NBA champion like Thomas.
B-Diddy’s career may not be considered as legendary as the ones Iverson and Thomas had. But as far as raw athleticism goes at the point guard position, Morant’s nuclear hops is reminiscent of Davis’ during his heyday.
Davis also approached the game with reckless intent and tried to put NBA bigs in posters as much as he can. Sound familiar?
The 6-foot-3 Davis has an impressive list of victims on his resume, including elite defenders like Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko. Morant, on the other hand, is already padding up his. His enraged dunk attempt over Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love still has fans buzzing, even though he failed to complete the highlight.
In hindsight, Morant’s Grizzlies team could also soon be in the same predicament as Davis and the “We Believe” Warriors in 2006-07. If Memphis does, in fact, sneak into the postseason, Morant could take a page out of Davis’ book when the eight-seeded Warriors stunned the number one seed Dallas Mavericks squad in the first round.