That Ja Morant even made it to the NBA is a Hollywood story worth pursuing.
Morant’s tale of someone who went from an underrecruited high school player to the Grizzlies’ savior makes the production of his potential bio-pic even more urgent.
He may not yet receive the attention Zion Williamson does, but Morant has definitely made the Memphis Grizzlies feel more confident about their future.
How did Morant, who turned 21 on August 10, go from a no-star recruit to the NBA’s presumptive Rookie of the Year? Let’s look at his story.
Ja Morant has had a stellar rookie season
There were no rookie blues in Ja Morant’s first NBA season. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard showed all year, both before and after the NBA shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, that he is the Grizzlies’ future.
Morant averaged 17.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and a steal per game. He shot an even 48% from the field and drilled 34.5% of his shots from three-point range.
Morant’s arrival turned around a Grizzlies team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2016-17 season. Memphis is 33-38 entering its August 11 matchup with the Boston Celtics.
The Grizzlies have one more regular-season game after that, an August 13 showdown with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The NBA named Morant a finalist for the Rookie of the Year Award. He’ll need to beat out Pelicans star Zion Williamson, who only played 24 of the Pelicans’ 70 games this year, and Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn.
Although Williamson impressed when healthy, Moirant’s constant presence on the floor should make him the easy winner.
Morant, somehow, had no ‘stars’ in high school
Recruiting outlets use a star system to gauge how good players are and can be in the future.
Players are ranked from no-stars — which could mean anything from they shouldn’t play beyond high school to there’s not enough film — to five-stars, who are usually generational talents and future first-round picks.
Ja Morant, somehow, had no stars in high school. South Carolina was the only Power 5 program or high-major school that offered Morant, who attended Crestwood High in Sumter, S.C.
Murray State, where Morant eventually signed, discovered the talented guard at a scouting combine. He signed with the Racers and parlayed his success there into the NBA.
Ja Morant is the Memphis Grizzlies’ savior
Ja Morant revived a Grizzlies franchise that traded stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. each in the 2019 calendar year.
As of now, Memphis still has a chance at making the postseason. Memphis finished play on August 9 with a slim lead over three teams for eighth place in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies have a half-game lead over the Trail Blazers, a full game over the Spurs, and 1.5 games ahead of T.J. Warren and the red-hot Phoenix Suns.
Without Ja Morant, none of that would have been possible. His story from unranked high school prospect to likely Rookie of the Year winner is an inspiring one for athletes all over the world.