Posts Tagged ‘Ja Morant’

Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant is signing a five-year, $193-million designated rookie maximum extension that could be worth up to $231 million, his agent told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Morant will earn the full amount of his contract should he make one of the league’s three All-NBA teams.

The former Rookie of the Year dazzled in a breakout 2021-22 campaign, averaging 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists en route to his first All-Star appearance and a spot on the All-NBA second team.

The Grizzlies advanced to the second round of the playoffs this season after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves in a six-game series. Morant averaged 38.3 points in three contests against the Golden State Warriors before suffering an injury and watching the eventual NBA champions eliminate his team in Game 6.

The 22-year-old guard’s show-stopping athleticism and highlight-reel ability have already made him one of the faces of the NBA.

The ongoing saga between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies continues to play itself out on social media.

After Klay Thompson called out Memphis big man Jaren Jackson Jr. following Golden State’s NBA Finals victory Thursday, a fan tweeted that a Warriors-Grizzlies Christmas Day matchup in San Francisco was a near-shoo-in. Memphis star Ja Morant responded, saying he wants that game at home.

Warriors forward Draymond Green then retweeted Morant, saying, “The champs play at home.”

Morant agreed to travel to San Francisco for the potential matchup, saying the league needs to “book (that) shit.”

The Grizzlies pushed the Warriors in a six-game series in the Western Conference semifinals despite Morant missing time with injury. Golden State went on to complete its quest for a fourth championship in the last eight seasons.

Stephen Curry praised his star counterpart Ja Morant after the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies with a 110-96 win in Game 6 at Chase Center.

“His numbers are crazy. The sky’s the limit,” Curry said, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz.

Morant, who missed the Grizzlies’ last three postseason contests because of a bone bruise in his knee, averaged an eye-popping 38.3 points, 8.3 assists, and 6.7 rebounds in the first three games of the series. The Murray State product scored efficiently, converting 50.6% of his field-goal attempts while knocking down 43.3% of his 10 3-point tries per game.

Curry said the Grizzlies will remain a legitimate playoff threat with a talent like Morant leading the charge.

“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,” Curry said. “So definitely an amazing matchup, fun, entertaining, high-level basketball, all the antics and pettiness and all that stuff, I love all of it.”

Morant helped the Grizzlies reach the playoffs in two consecutive seasons after missing out as a rookie in the 2019-20 campaign.

Golden State will face either the Phoenix Suns or Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.

Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 2021-22 season, the league announced Monday.

Morant claimed 38 first-place votes, barely beating out San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray for the accolade. Only 51 of the 100 ballots included Morant, which led to the close result.

The high-flying guard is the first winner in Grizzlies franchise history. He’s also the first player ever to win the Most Improved and Rookie of the Year awards after picking up the latter title in 2019-20.

In just his third NBA season, the former second overall pick went from a promising young player to a full-fledged superstar, bumping his scoring total from 19.1 points per game last season to 27.4 this campaign. He rounded out his stat line with 5.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per contest.

Morant’s performance pushed the Grizzlies from a play-in team in 2020-21 to the NBA’s second-best record at 56-26. The No. 2 seed is currently tied 2-2 in the first round against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant will be re-evaluated in two weeks as he deals with a tweaked knee, head coach Taylor Jenkins said, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The injury has sidelined Morant for Memphis’ last two games.

Morant went down with the knee issue in the second half of Friday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks and was considered day-to-day until Thursday’s update.

The Grizzlies are 15-2 this season when their All-Star guard is sidelined and have won their last five contests without him.

Despite his team’s strong record when he sits, there’s no denying the value the third-year pro provides the 50-23 Grizzlies. Morant is averaging 27.6 points – the seventh-best mark in the NBA – plus 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

Memphis has just nine games remaining before the playoffs, where it will likely need Morant in order to put together a deep run.

Kevin Durant believes Ja Morant is well on his way to building a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

With Wednesday’s matchup against Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies looming, the Brooklyn Nets star took time following Monday’s win over the Utah Jazz to praise his upcoming opponent.

“When you got a future Hall of Famer at the head of the snake, it just makes everybody better,” Durant said of Morant, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

When asked to pinpoint what exactly makes Morant a special player, Durant likened his style of play to multiple all-time greats.

“I think the greatest players in our game can transform into anybody at any given point. And I think Ja’s on the way to that,” Durant said.

“When he’s playing, I see like two or three, four different Hall of Famers in his game. From (Allen) Iverson, to he might make a (Michael) Jordan-like layup, or he might run down the court like a (Russell) Westbrook or a (Derrick Rose). And his float game is up there with some of the best that’s ever played.”

Entering Wednesday’s Nets-Grizzlies meeting, Morant is averaging a career-best 27.6 points on 49.3% shooting, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals across 56 starts. The Murray State product seems to drop highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis, too, which has helped cement him as one of the league’s most exciting young talents.

Morant’s Grizzlies sit second in the Western Conference at 49-23 with 10 regular-season games remaining. Memphis is likely to face either the Denver Nuggets or Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, a win on Wednesday would go a long way in helping Durant and the Nets potentially improve their postseason positioning. Brooklyn (38-34) is currently two games behind the Toronto Raptors (40-32) for the East’s seventh seed and just three back of the sixth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers (41-31).

Desmond Bane not only believes that teammate Ja Morant deserves his first All-Star selection, but he also considers the Memphis Grizzlies floor general among the top players at his position.

“He’s special,” Bane told reporters Monday after the Grizzlies’ 118-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “People debate whether or not he should be an All-Star, but … I don’t think it’s any question he’s an All-Star. The real conversation is, ‘Is he the best point guard in the league?'”

Morant’s career season has propelled Memphis to a 24-14 start. The third-year guard is averaging personal bests in scoring (25.1 points per game), field-goal percentage (49.2%), 3-point percentage (40.4%), rebounds (5.7), and steals (1.4). He ranks second in the Association with 13.4 points per game off drives and ninth in assist percentage (35.5).

Morant has built a solid case to represent the Western Conference at next month’s All-Star Game in Cleveland. However, the former No. 2 overall pick insists he isn’t focusing too much on that.

“Everybody who knows me, including my teammates, people throughout the organization, know I’m a very humble guy, but that I’m also confident,” Morant said.

“So I’m gonna let my teammates continue to talk for me. I’m just gonna go out there and do what I can on the floor to help prove their case right even more.”

The Memphis Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday, but Ja Morant‘s father still has a rooting interest.

Tee Morant was in attendance for the Grizzlies’ season-ending Game 5 loss after Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith provided him and his party of five with free tickets, lodging, and car service. It was a show of goodwill after three fans at Utah’s Vivint Arena directed racist and vulgar remarks at members of the Morant family during last week’s Game 2 matchup.

The gesture wasn’t lost on Tee, who expressed his gratitude – and support – to Jazz star Donovan Mitchell following the contest.

“Hey yo, I’m going for y’all right now,” Tee told Mitchell, courtesy of ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “Why? Y’all didn’t have to do that. Y’all didn’t have to show love to us like that.

“This is what I’m saying: When shit goes bad, and then you reach out, that’s how you bridge the gap. Most people don’t realize that. That’s why I appreciate you, and that’s why I hope the Jazz win the championship.”

Mitchell was moved by Tee’s remarks, calling them “the ultimate sign of respect.”

Numerous fan-related incidents have marred the opening round of the NBA playoffs, and Mitchell is happy the Jazz were proactive in addressing the issue.

“With the way we handled it as an organization, that in itself shows that we can do this,” Mitchell told MacMahon. “We’re not going to let people’s ignorant comments, people throwing popcorn, people spitting (tarnish the NBA).

“The NBA as a whole – each individual team and as a league – are finding ways to show that we stand for what is right and not letting these fans who get out of control deter us from this sport that we love and everything that we enjoy.”

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant is expected to be out for three-to-five weeks after an MRI revealed a Grade 2 ankle sprain, the team announced.

Morant suffered the injury during the second quarter of Monday’s contest against the Brooklyn Nets. The 21-year-old fell awkwardly on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot‘s foot after attempting to block his shot.

Upon landing, the Grizzlies guard immediately appeared in considerable discomfort and was later taken to the locker room in a wheelchair.

Despite his early exit, the Grizzlies held on to defeat the Nets, 116-111. However, the team will have to navigate not just Morant’s injury but also the absence of rising forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who has yet to play this season while recovering from a torn meniscus.

The Grizzlies are also without Justise Winslow because of a hip issue, and De’Anthony Melton missed Monday’s game in accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Morant is averaging 26.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.3 rebounds over three games this season.

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant wasn’t pleased after finishing one vote shy of unanimously winning the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Shortly after the league’s announcement, Morant vowed to use that as motivation.

Morant learned on Saturday who cast the lone first-place vote for New Orleans Pelicans phenom Zion Williamson, and he asked the media member for an explanation.

Morant averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 assists, and 3.9 boards en route to earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie first team. The No. 2 overall pick led the Grizzlies to a berth in the Western Conference play-in game, in which they fell short against the Portland Trail Blazers.