Ja Morant's Spill Sparks Interesting Debate
Grizzlies Rookie Ja Morant took a hard fall late in the second quarter of the Grizzlies 126-114 road loss to the Pacers. He landed on a cameraman's knee that was sitting on the baseline while attempting to break his fall. Morant would later return to the game after the unexpected injury, but the situation would lead to an interesting debate.
A tweet from Trevor Magnoti of Fansided on Twitter, caused a buzz when he compared the overall risk of serious injury in relation to the jumping and landing mechanics of Ja Morant to the weight issues with Zion Williamson. Morant has been known for heart-stopping attempts at the rim so far this season that has admittedly stressed many including the fans, coaching staff and teammates. Do I agree with Magnoti, that Ja's mechanics are cause for concern? Yes. But I will share why I think that Williamson's situation is a much more pressing issue.
Morant was a human highlight reel in college at Murray St. If he wasn't dunking on you - he was dunking over you. Morant has since then reigned in his thirst for the wow play as you see him finish with a layup more than a dunk. There are still moments went Morant headhunts but you can tell that he has made an effort to dial it back. Morant also has a game where his vertical athleticism is crucial but not to the point where he still won't be able to do "Ja things" if he didn't attempt to dunk as much. He has a high basketball IQ, elite-level ball handling, and extraordinary vision that allows him to be a great player regardless.
Williamson on the other end presents a different issue. At 6'6" and 285 pounds, Zion is something that the league has never seen. The amount of force that he places on his knees for a simple rebound or block attempt can be damaging especially considering that Zion has had a history of injuries dating back to AAU. Athletic finishes ARE Zion Williamson's game and there isn't much that he can do to adjust the pressure, wear and tear that he is placing on his body except for losing weight - and even that might not be enough considering that damage has already been done to his knees.
In a perfect world, both players who go back to their AAU days as teammates, will make the necessary changes to protect their bodies but at this point, I am much more inclined to worry about Williamson who is yet to play a game this season while suffering what is already a serious injury as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus. I'm pretty confident that Morant will continue to make changes to protect his body but I'm sure that Grizzlies fans are willing to endure a few heart flutters in exchange for the excitement that he brings to the court.