Memphis guard Ja Morant was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in December. Morant is the first player in franchise history to be honored with back-to-back Rookie of the Month awards. The South Carolina native previously was honored for October and November, making December a trifecta.
According to the Grizzlies, “The second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Morant led all qualifying rookies in December in scoring average (15.5 points) and assists per game (6.5) and posted shooting percentages of 48.5 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range and 83.7 percent from the free-throw line. Memphis posted a 7–4 record in Morant’s 11 December appearances (all starts).”
We all remember when he posterized Aron Bynes and nearly ended Kevin Love’s professional playing career by jumping over his head. Check out these:
JA MORANT ALMOST SUBMITTED A LATE ENTRY FOR DUNK OF THE DECADE 😳 pic.twitter.com/rtTw6kt0Rp— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 21, 2019
More December highlights:
Here's what Morant and Coach Jenkins had to say about this back to back honor:
if you rooting for me, I LOVE YOU 💕🤝— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) January 2, 2020
The Murray State alum leads all rookies in scoring and assists per game this season, with 17.4 points and 6.5 assists. Morant also ranked 10th in All-Star voting among Western Conference guards in fan voting returns in the NBA All-Star Voting presented by Google.
Morant’s playing style has attracted national attention from sportswriters and casual fans. To my knowledge, I don’t believe a Grizzlie player has garnered this type of attention nationally. Morant already has name recognition. When he makes a ridiculous pass, break ankles, make defenders look lost, almost dunks and posterizes opponents, he trends on social media.
Here’s what Pete Pranica, Grizzlies play-by-play announcer had to say about the first-year guard on Twitter:
The fact that Ja made the top 10 in All Star balloting means that his appeal is far beyond just Memphis. I get asked about him on the road all the time. He has the "it" factor and star potential that crosses geographical boundaries.— Pete Pranica (@PetePranica) January 2, 2020
Morant is a special talent and almost everyone knows it. The future looks bright for Morant, and for the Grizzlies.