Grizzlies’ Ja Morant Is NBA Rookie of the Year, Says NBA Analyst


Getty Ja Morant against the Miami Heat.

During the broadcast of the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors matchup earlier this week on ESPN, Fab Five member and NBA analyst Jalen Rose offered high praise for Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant.

Rose went as far as selecting Morant as his pick for the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

“Ja Morant is an exciting young basketball player, terrific athlete, great passer, and even telling guys, who are four inches taller him, they are too small,” said Rose. “Yes, there is your rookie of the year right there.”

This season, Morant is averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game for the Grizzlies through 12 games. The former Murray State star is stepping in as the replacement for long-time point guard Mike Conley in Memphis, who was traded in the offseason to the Utah Jazz.

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NBA Analyst Agrees With Ja Morant as NBA Rookie of the Year

Before the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors game on Saturday night, I spoke with Fox Sports Southwest NBA Analyst Cedric Ceballos about Rose’s comments on Morant.

“So far so good. I mean [R.J.] Barrett can pull it out because he has more attention in New York City if he turns the switch right now, said Ceballos. “But, JA has been playing well, I don’t know why they sat him because of load management. He has been playing well, his numbers are good, he is finishing games.”

Ceballos went on to praise Chicago Bulls rookie Coby White as well, offering him a comp to second-year guard Trae Young.

“The young fella with the Bulls [Coby White] showing some flashes doing what Trae Young did last year with Hawks – started off slow and finished strong. It has only been 10 games, and Trae started off slow, but when Trae figured things out, he was unbelievable,” Ceballos concluded.

Grizzlies Coach Taylor Jenkins Explains Why Morant’s Minutes Were Limited

On November 3, 2019, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal asked Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins why Morant only played 24 minutes in a competitive game against the Phoenix Suns.

“For lack of a better phrase, we kind of want to put some money in the bank moving forward with him,” Jenkins said.

“I’ve always been a big believer, you start playing in the mid-30s (minutes per game) you kind of wear down,” Jenkins said. “Our rookies, including him, have never played 82 games in a season.”

Jazz Point Guard Mike Conley on Ja Morant

After a 107-106 loss to the Grizzlies on Friday night, Mike Conley was interviewed by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. He asked about the conversation he and Morant had after the game.

“I just told him, ‘I love your game. Just keep working. You’re a special player. You’re going to be here a long time,'” Conley told MacMahon. “He’s a talent, man. He’s really talented, with the finishes and the things he was doing at the end of the game. And he’s poised. He’s not turning the ball over. He’s making plays in traffic and doing the right things in big moments. That’s special from a 20-year-old that’s played only 10 games. He’s got some fire in him too.”

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