1/15/2020 0 Comments
Can't Get Enough of Ja
Did you know that his real name is Temetrius Jamel Morant? Yeah, I didn't either until I went onto his Basketball-Reference page.
Whatever you want to call him, just make sure you call him a certified hooper.
Before the season started, everyone had big expectations for Ja Morant. Most of us expected him to be one of the top 3 for Rookie of the Year. With Zion Williamson being injured, and RJ Barrett's play not translating to wins, Ja has stood out against his competition.
We do have a couple of guys in Miami who can still make a run. Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro have both played great in their roles.
Nobody expected the Memphis Grizzlies to be good this season, let alone in the playoff race.
The Grizzlies are 13-5 in their last 18 games with Ja on the court, and are currently sitting alone in the 8 seed.
But can Ja sustain this level of play and lead his team to the playoffs in just his first year in the league? Let's look at his numbers.
So what do these numbers tell us? All of his numbers are up, except for points per game. But for a point guard, that's not such a bad thing.
His improvement on efficiency has already translated to victories. Shooting the ball at a high rate from the free throw line is always going to be a plus. Especially for a kid who plays so fast, and isn't afraid to drive to the basket.
The help he's gotten from guys like Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and Dillon Brooks has helped boost his assist numbers. But it's his ability to share the ball that has boosted the confidence of his teammates.
But the thing that stands out the most is his confidence within himself. He's always been a kid who believes in his ability to make any play on the court. And we saw it shine in their most recent game against the Houston Rockets when he went toe to toe with James Harden.
Since we're talking about efficiency, this was one of his most efficient games yet. And one of his most highlight worthy as well.
He was 10/11 from the field, with his only miss coming on a three that was at the end of the shot clock. His 90% field goal percentage was the best he's shot all season, including going 3/3 from the free throw line.
The first clip you see in the video above shows exactly how confident he can be. Harden sags off of him and he drills a deep three in his face. And as he makes his way back to the defensive end he shouts "I'm here! Tell that mother fucker about me!"
And then we see in the final two minutes, Harden again sags off and allows Ja to hit a clutch stepback three to seal the victory. On another play, Harden tries to play up on him and go for the steal and Ja shakes him and sets up Clarke for an alley-oop.
This game encapsulates everything that this kid can be. An efficient scorer who shares the ball and can get the crowd going with his explosive playmaking ability.
The kid is incredible, and he's only going to get better. It'll be interesting to see how long they can ride this winning streak which is currently at six games.
But even if they don't make the playoffs, the Grizzlies still have plenty to be excited about with Ja. The only question they should be asking themselves is, What can't this guy do?
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