Austin Rivers: Grizzlies Rookie Ja Morant Has 'Superstar Ability'

Michael Shapiro

Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant earned plenty of praise from the Rockets following Memphis' 121-110 win on Tuesday, highlighted by comments from Houston guard Austin Rivers. 

"[Morant] has superstar ability. He's special," Rivers told the media at the FedExForum in Memphis. "Memphis got one, man. They got a good one. He's got a team that's playing well. They beat us, they're in the playoffs right now. It's unbelievable. He's the biggest reason."

Morant torched Houston throughout Tuesday's contest, finishing the night with 26 points on 10-11 from the field. The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft scored in the lane seemingly at will against the Rockets, but perhaps more impressive was his perimeter prowess. Morant took advantage of sagging Houston defenders en route to a trio of threes, including a smooth step-back over James Harden with just over two minutes remaining. Memphis' next decade appears bright with Morant running the show. 

"[Morant] is going to be a great player," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told the media postgame. "Well, he already is."

Morant isn't the lone reason for optimism in Memphis. The phenom point guard is joined by an intriguing core of young pieces, led by 2018 No. 3 pick Jaren Jackson Jr. Rookie forward Brandon Clarke and second-year guard De'Anthony Melton also combined for 26 points in Tuesday's victory. 

The Grizzlies' win on Tuesday dropped the Rockets to 26–13 this season as they hold the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference. Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook is expected to be back in the starting lineup against Portland on Wednesday after sitting out the first game of Houston's back-to-back. 

Tip-off from the Toyota Center on Wednesday is slated for 8:30 p.m. CT.