By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Memphis Grizzlies knew that they would have something special in Ja Morant. Little did they know that they were drafting a superstar.
Morant was named the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year. He received 99 out of the possible 100 first-place votes for the award.
Kendrick Nunn, who spent the 2018-19 season in the G-League after going undrafted, was the second-place finisher. The Miami Heat made 67 starts in his first season in the league.
Zion Williamson, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, finished third. He showed glimpses of being a star in the league after missing much of the season due to an injury.
“I need to figure out who was that person who didn’t pick me first,” Morant said in a conference call. “I want to shoot a direct message to them and thank them for motivating me even more to do more, be better and do whatever I can to help my team win basketball games. If anybody know who that is, let me know.”
Morant claimed that he wanted to win this award on draft night. He was the No. 2 pick, behind Williamson, by the Grizzlies.
“And I told them I was going to do whatever I can and work to get it,” he said. “But I also told them it wasn’t my main focus. My main focus was to try to be better at the end of the season than I was at the beginning of the season.”
The 21-year-old Dalzell, South Carolina native appeared in 67 games with the Grizzlies, including 67 starts. He averaged 17.8 points in 31 minutes per game.
Morant also had 3.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game, as well.