The NBA’s youngest superstar resides in Memphis. Ja Morant has quickly become a sensation for the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s only been in the league for three years, but that’s all he needed to take it by storm, combining fiery competitiveness with amazing athletic feats to exhilarate Memphis’ fanbase. Here’s a look at Morant’s history, current production, and future outlook:
Morant’s career has been predicated on making the best of his situation and proving doubters wrong. Though Morant fielded a strong prep career at Crestwood High School in Sumter, South Carolina, leaving as the school’s all-time top scorer and earning All-State honors twice, he wasn’t ranked by any of the major recruiting services. With his only big-time offer coming from his home-state team, the South Carolina Gamecocks, Morant signed with Murray State and quickly became a standout for the Racers. In two seasons there, he averaged 18.7 points and 8.2 assists per game, showing major improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
As a sophomore, Morant became the first player in men’s college basketball to average at least 20 points and 10 assists in one season. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and a first-team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association after leading the nation in assists, capping off a historic two-year college career.
The Grizzlies selected Morant with the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Just as he did with Murray State, he made an early impact in Memphis, being named NBA Rookie of the Year and to the NBA All-Rookie First Team after averaging 17.8 points and 7.3 assists-per-game in the regular season. During his second season, Morant helped lead the Grizzlies to their first playoff appearance in four seasons, continuing the improvement trend he’s shown throughout his entire career. And it foreshadowed the heights he and his team would reach this past season.
Morant kicked off his third NBA season in style, scoring 37 points in the Grizzlies’ season-opening win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was just the beginning of what would be a dominant regular season for Morant and Memphis. On his way to NBA Most Improved Player honors, Morant averaged 27.4 points per game and helped the Grizzlies win their first-ever Southwest Division Title. He also earned his first All-Star award. Morant totaled 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Minnesota Timberwolves in a Game 3 playoff matchup, marking the first-ever postseason triple-double in Memphis franchise history. In Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors, he scored 47 points to tie a series the Warriors would eventually win. “It’s not just the plays,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. ‘” It’s just the force that he plays with, the spirit that he plays with. It’s infectious. I’ve said it since day one. Like, you know he’s going to be built for moments like this, and this is super impressive.”
Morant missed the second half of the series due to a bone bruise in his knee, leading to questions over whether or not the outcome may have been different if he had been on the court. Either way, he’s already made an impression on the league’s other superstars. “His numbers are crazy,” Warriors star Steph Curry said of Morant, according to ESPN. “The sky’s the limit. Like I said, they are going to be around for a long time, fighting for Western Conference prowess. So we’ll enjoy this and keep moving toward our goal, but you have to understand that they are going to be around for the long haul and he’s a problem.
“So definitely an amazing matchup, fun, entertaining, high-level basketball, all the antics and pettiness, and all that stuff, I love all of it.”
Outlook For Morant And Sports In Tennessee
In recent years, Tennessee has been a great state for sports fans. Not only with successful teams but in the launch of mobile sports betting in the state just a couple of years ago. Top sports betting apps in Tennessee mean that Grizzlies fans can bet on Morant and the team on apps like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. It’s also possible for new bettors to wager on Morant’s future by signing up and claiming offers with the Caesars Sportsbook promo code, bonus offers, and loyalty program.
There’s no question Morant is the future of not only Memphis but the NBA as a whole. The Grizzlies hope to keep him around as long as possible, and that appears to be what Morant wants, too. “I’m definitely happy to be here. Memphis is my home,” Morant said, according to The Associated Press. “If your (question) is: Do I want to be in Memphis? Hell, yeah.” And money seems to be no problem for the Grizzlies in making sure their young superstar stays in town.
“We’re not going to have any issues paying anyone who we want to pay,” Grizzlies General Manager/Vice President of Basketball Operations Zach Kleiman said, per The Associated Press. “There’s never going to be an issue with retention here.” The Grizzlies will want to continue to build around Morant, as he’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent with the potential to become one of the league’s greatest players. With a mixture of leadership despite his youth and extreme talent in scoring and playmaking, Morant is already one of the NBA’s top players. There’s no doubt his future outlook is brighter than ever.