Overconfidence is often the product of ability, ignorance, hard work or perhaps some combination of the three. After Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s recent comments to Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, some said he was showing those signs.
Morant talked to Rooks about his admiration for Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan during a sit-down interview, but when she asked him what would happen if he played against the Hall-of-Famer in his era, the brash young point guard said he’d “cook” the all-time great.
Take a look at the segment:
As you might imagine, the response raised some eyebrows on an otherwise quiet day of NBA news. Some of the reactions to Morant’s comments are as entertaining as the Grizzlies guards’ words. Fox’s Undisputed’s Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless had some interesting comments in response to Morant’s comments.
Could Morant Beat Jordan in a One-on-One?
It sounded as if Morant was referring to a one-on-one situation when he said he’d “cook” Jordan, and that’s likely a tough concept to believe for a few reasons.
First, one-on-one is usually a game that favors a bigger man. Jordan at 6’6″ 215 pounds in his prime compared to Morant at 6’3″ 170 pounds would be a mismatch that favors His Airness. Stylistically, Jordan’s back-to-the-basket game allows him to score a bit easier than Morant who is more of a pure slasher whose jump shot is still developing.
Imagining Morant stopping Jordan’s pull-up and fadeaway jump shot in a one-on-one is difficult. That said, while Morant’s claims may be a bit far-fetched, there are a few factors that should be considered before the world comes down too hard on the young star.
Morant isn’t the First Young Star to Think He Could Beat Jordan in a One-on-One?
Confidence is often the deciding factor between talented players who go from good to great. Elite athletes have to have the audacity to believe they are the best in the world at what they do, and Morant is not the first player to take this approach.
A very young Kobe Bryant told Jordan that I’d “kick your ass in a one-on-one.”
Some might argue that Bryant had more right saying something like this than Morant, but remember, Kobe was even younger than Ja at this point. I’m sure Jordan felt the same way about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
This is the mentality of most of the best players in the world, and quite frankly, most fans wouldn’t have the stars of their teams look at themselves any differently. If Bulls fans could sprinkle a little bit of that moxie on top of Patrick Williams’ head, there might not be much worry about their own young star’s maturation.
Patrick Williams Development is the Key to the Bulls Offseason
Most fans are talking about the Bulls’ deals to bring in Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic as well as the trades and signings that weren’t made. While adding more shooting and depth at forward are still things Chicago could consider adding, the team may already have the best possible upgrade to their roster on the team already.
Williams has the ability to turn into a legit 15-17 point-per-game player who can shoot upwards of 40% from three-point range, guard top offensive players, provide weak side help on defense as well as attack at finish at the rim.
If Williams can blossom into the player Chicago believes he can be this year, the Bulls will be an exponentially better team than some expect. Morant’s more immediate task might be figuring out how to cook the 2022-23 Bulls.