Ja Morant Continues To Make Case For “Most Improved Player”

Ja Morant, Grizzlies, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Memphis Grizzlies have had a rough start to the 2021-22 NBA season, but they have picked up some impressive wins early on and have now won three of their last four games after defeating the Utah Jazz 119-118 on Monday night. 

Jaren Jackson Jr. hit the game-winner three-pointer with 6.7 seconds left in the game, but the man who got them in position to win this game and the guy who seems to be the steam engine for them this year is third-year guard Ja Morant. 

In his first season in the league, Morant won the league’s Rookie of the Year award, and then in his second season last year, Ja Morant took the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs where they lost in five games to the Utah Jazz. Now, this season, Morant is not only looking to take the Grizzlies back to the playoffs, but he is making a strong case to be a first-time All-Star, as well as the early favorite for this year’s Most Improved Player. 

Against the Jazz on Monday night, Morant finished with 32 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists while also having 2 steals on the defensive end of the floor. 

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All 7 of his assists in this game were important, but none more so than his final one of the night that resulted from him driving into the paint, drawing the attention of Mike Conley, Royce O’Neale, and Rudy Gobert, and then as a result of Gobert collapsing in the lane, he left Jaren Jackson Jr. wide-open on the three-point line and on the receiving end of a beautiful jump-pass by Ja Morant. 

Every single game he plays, it seems like Morant is getting better and the young guard continues to stuff the stat sheets for the Memphis Grizzlies.

With 32 points on Monday night, Ja Morant recorded his sixth 30-point game of the season, tying him with four others for second-most 30-point games in the league behind Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Jayson Tatum who all have 7 games with at least 30-points.

Ja Morant has now scored at least 20 points in 7 of his last 8 games and Morant joins Trae Young as the only other player in the league to be averaging at least 25 points and 7.0 assists per game.

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He is the catalyst of the Grizzlies’ offensive attack and while they are just 9-8, Memphis has a real shot to once again make the playoffs because of him. 

Now averaging 25.5 points, 7.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and shooting 47.9% from the floor on the season, Ja Morant seems like the early favorite to win this year’s Most Improved Player award in what seems to be a very packed crowd. 

Five of the last seven recipients of the league’s Most Improved Player award made their first All-Star appearance the same year that they won the award, which could wind up being the case for Morant this year. 

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Now in his third season in the NBA, Ja Morant has not been to the All-Star game yet, but with him ranking ninth in the league in scoring, eleventh in assists per game and fifteenth in steals per game, it is hard to try and say why the young point guard should not be an All-Star this year. 

Being the current betting favorite to win “Most Improved” this season and looking like he is well on his way to the All-Star Game in February, Ja Morant is just living up to his preseason claim of being a Top-5 guard in the league today.

About Brett Siegel 1326 Articles
Brett Siegel joined NBA Analysis Network as a credentialed NBA Insider and Journalist in 2020 after previously working with FanSided covering the Golden State Warriors and Louisville Basketball. For all up-to-date NBA news, stats and info, and any inquiries, be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.

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