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Draft Profile: Ja Morant

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Ja Morant is quite possibly the undisputed 2nd pick in this upcoming 2019 NBA draft and will most likely be heading to Memphis to join the rebuilding Grizzlies.

Ja Morant, Murray State

6’3, 175 lb

Sophomore Year Stats: 24.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 10.0 APG/ 49% FG, 36% 3P

I see multiple comparisons to Russell Westbrook and while there are various similarities I believe Morant is a better prospect than Westbrook was in college. Coming into this year there was quite the buzz about Morant and once I started watching his game I could not believe his basketball IQ. He has a great feel for defenses and did a great job at tearing up every defensive scheme he faced. By great margins, he is the most explosive guard in the draft that I have seen with lightning speed. Morant has a tight dribble and keeps the ball on a string which is what elevates his game to the next level. With the combination of explosiveness and handles, Ja becomes an instant threat you need to keep in front of you and you must always have a man waiting for him at the rim. He is a great finisher overall whether it be at the rim with an acrobatic layup or punishing defenders for trying to jump the ball. Though he is not one of the better shooters in this draft do not be discouraged because his form needs a bit of retouching for better results. However, he can create his own shot whether it is in an ISO situation or off the dribble he can put the ball in the basket effectively. One of the most central aspects of his game is his rebounding. Morant is simply the best rebounding guard in this upcoming draft, he chases rebounds with a sense of urgency and provides many offensive rebounds with second-chance points. Another one of his most special talents on offense is his passing ability. Hitting shooters in stride so they just have to land and set their feet for the shot is an essential skill for NBA guards, and he has it in spades. He’s able to get the ball exactly when and where his teammates need it. Morant was basically the entire team of Murray State as he carried the squad and often times was getting doubled which made it easy for him to get his teammates involved.

While not being a complete defensive liability I do believe there is a lot of work he can put into his defensive game. With his speed, Ja can sometimes be quicker than his opponents and can be a real threat in passing lanes which then turn into the fast break and that there is the best game.  This all helps improve his draft stock as he describes himself as being a “point-god”. I can see a smooth transition into the league for Morant and the Grizzlies will have a great piece to build around. He has shown he can be the leader of the team and even got a triple-double against Marquette. His ability to work in the half court and run any speed of an offense is truly incredible. Morant has also been the biggest threat in transition in the entire draft as he can accelerate down the court and use his explosiveness to get to the hole. With Memphis reportedly looking to deal veteran guard Mike Conley, they will definitely make some room for the new guard.

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