Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant became the second player in franchise history to be awarded the NBA Rookie of the Year award. The former Murray State Racer earned 99 out of 100 possible first-place votes after finishing the season with 17.8 points, 7.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Morant was the leader of a young Memphis Grizzlies team that came up just short of earning a playoff spot this season despite being predicted to be among the league’s worst teams before the season started.
Teammate Brandon Clarke finished in fourth place overall after averaging 12.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He received six second-place votes and 32 third-place votes.
“I’m pretty sure that everybody knows that I’m a very humble guy,” Morant said. “But I’m also confident. I need to figure out who was that person who didn’t pick me first and I want to shoot a direct message to them and thank them for motivating me even more to do more on the floor and be better. To do more whatever I can to help my team win basketball games. If anybody knows who that is, let me know."
Morant said he told his family and friends on draft night that his goal was to win the Rookie of the Year, though he admitted that is “everyone’s goal.”
“I also told them that it wasn’t my main focus,” Morant said. “My main focus was to be better at the end of the season than I was at the beginning of the season and just push my team to the playoffs, get wins and to win a championship.”