The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, Morant went from a no-star recruit to the Grizzlies’ apparent savior. Morant greatly impressed in his first season, and the expectations are understandably extremely high for the coming year.
Morant isn’t running from those lofty goals, though. In fact, Morant and the Grizzlies have a plan in place for him to dominate the league as a second-year player.
Ja Morant won Rookie of the Year last year
The second overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Ja Morant didn’t need long to take the NBA by storm.
Morant averaged 17.8 points on 47.7% shooting from the field — and 33.5% from three-point range — in 76 games as a rookie. He added 3.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 0.9 steals in replacing Mike Conley, who the Grizzlies traded to Utah in the summer of 2019.
Morant’s rookie highlights included two triple-doubles, a 30-point game, a five-steal outing, and an eye-popping 14-assist night.
Memphis went 34-39 in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign. Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers defeated the Grizzlies in a play-in game to reach the postseason.
Morant is primed for a big 2020-21 season
Ja Morant enters his second NBA season with tremendous expectations on his plate for a reason.
Morant quickly adjusted to the league as a rookie and showcased skills that could quickly make him one of the game’s best players. The Grizzlies have placed their future in Morant’s hands, and he appears willing to accept such lofty goals.
The Grizzlies’ official website recently posted an interview that Morant did with the Associated Press. Morant made it clear that he is eager to show that his rookie brilliance wasn’t a fluke.
“Attacking the season and proving everybody wrong is my number one goal.”
Memphis opens its season on Wednesday, December 23, against DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs.
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies have a plan for him to dominate
Ja Morant isn’t the only one hoping that he takes a massive jump forward in his second season.
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said Morant is motivated to become a better player. Jenkins shared a list of action items the two have discussed Morant trying to achieve this coming year.
“How can he be a better decision maker, shooter, leader on the offensive end? How can he be the leader of our defensive unit? And being the first line of attack, how can he [be] a better pick-and-roll defender, activity, rebounder to start our break. It’s holistic. I think he embraces that challenge. That’s how he’s built.”
If the Memphis Grizzlies hope to reach the postseason next spring, they will need Morant to accomplish most, if not all, of those goals.
Jenkins is clearly confident in his young point guard, though, and that should reassure Grizzlies fans. Memphis has a bright future with Morant at point guard and growing into his own, both on the court and as a person.