Atopic that gets discussed often by NBA purists these days is who Ja Morant‘s game is comparable to.
The easiest comparisons that come to mind are Damian Lillard, Russell Westbook and Derrick Rose.
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I asked Morant’s dad, Tee Morant if the Rose and Westbrook comparisons are fair. “The dude is just different man,” Tee Morant tells me.
“This is a first of firsts. I mean, he’s just different, right? I see Westbrook, I see A.I., I see D-Rose, I see Rondo – I see so many pros in this kid, right? Hey, I see Magic in the cerebral part; the John Stocktons, I see that, you know? Jason Kidd. I see all that in him, right? But that’s just because he puts in the time. He puts in the work. So I mean, it’s no knock but I think all of them all Hall of Famers.”
Million Dollar Question: Who did Ja Morant grow up watching on tape? “Man, we watched tapes of everybody,” Tee Morant told me.
“But I mean, the energy and all that with Westbrook brought to the game, that’s what he feel in love with, right? But I mean, everybody that contributed to the NBA and how special they were in the NBA, we watched them… A.I. the Penny Hardaways; we watched everybody.”
Ja Morant is playing stellar basketball in the bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This season’s Rookie of the Year hopeful is leading his Memphis Grizzlies into play-in tournament Saturday afternoon after notching his second triple double of the season Thursday afternoon against the Milwaukee Bucks.
This season, Morant is averaging 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game for a Memphis Grizzlies team that sits at 34-39 in the NBA’s Western Conference standings.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has also played a solid role with the Grizzlies. Unfortunately, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2018 draft out of Michigan State, tore his meniscus in his left knee after landing awkwardly after making contact with an opponent while contesting a shot.
Jackson Jr. was second in scoring for the Grizzlies after averaging 17.4 points per game this season.
Despite the loss, Grizzlies big man, Jonas Valanciunas likes their upside. “Jaren and Ja are some great young guys,” Valanciunas told me.
“They’re working hard, their work ethic is good, they’re in here every night shooting you know, getting their skills better, getting their IQ level better, what else can you expect? They’re really getting better. I don’t know what to say [laughs]. I’ve been asked so many times about Ja [Morant] and I say he’s a phenomenal young gentleman. Which is good.”