Ja Morant NBA Draft Preview
Ja Morant exploded onto the scene as this season progressed with his eye-popping stat lines and fantastic finishes above the rim. Morant has skyrocketed up NBA teams’ draft boards and it’s being reported that the Memphis Grizzlies have zeroed in on him with the number two pick in the NBA Draft.
Morant’s ascension to the number one point guard spot in the NBA Draft is incredible. Coming out of high school, 247 sports didn’t have him rated in their composite rankings. 247 sports also reported just one offer for Morant, from Murray State. As a freshman, Morant was a good player. He averaged 12.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 46 percent from the field. As good as he was as a freshman, no one was talking about him as an early entrant into the NBA Draft. His sophomore season proved otherwise. Morant was incredible as a sophomore. His per game averages jumped to 24.5 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, and 10 assists per game. He also improved his shooting to 50 percent from the floor. Morant led the Racers to a first-round upset over Marquette before getting ousted in the round of 32 by Florida State.
Morant Draft Positives
Ja Morant is a bouncy athlete with a high motor. He displays outstanding court vision and makes everyone around him better. Morant has good size and length for the point guard position at 6’3”. However, he needs to add a little muscle as he only weighs 175 pounds. Morant displays excellent ball handling and has a great first step which allows him to take defenders off the dribble. His defense is solid as well. His quickness and length allow him to be a pest in passing lanes and it showed as he averaged 1.8 steals per game this past season.
While Morant improved his three-point shooting from 30.7 percent to 36.3 percent from his freshman to sophomore seasons, he needs to show more consistency with his jump shot. Although Morant had the ball in his hands the majority of the time, he needs to show that he can limit turnovers. As a sophomore, he averaged 5.2 turnovers per game. The biggest question mark for Morant is his level of competition. The Murray State Racers play in a poor conference. However, he may have put that question to rest a bit with his showing in the NCAA Tournament. Against Marquette and Florida State, Morant averaged 22.5 points per game, 10 assists per game, and 8 rebounds per game.
Ja Morant is Russell Westbrook 2.0. Both are ball dominant, uber-athletic point guards, who distribute the basketball very well. Both are a little turnover prone and both have questionable jump shots. Just like Westbrook, Morant is a very good rebounding point guard with a high motor.
Round 1, Pick 2
Update: Morant to undergo knee surgery. Read more…