The question wasn’t if Ja Morant would win NBA Rookie of the Year. It was if he would become just the sixth unanimous winner in league history.
He wasn’t unanimous, but the Murray State product was a runaway winner, receiving 99 first place votes and becoming the second player in franchise history to be named the league’s top rookie.
He was one vote shy of winning unanimously.New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick, claimed the other first place vote.
Morant, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, follows the footsteps of Pau Gasol, who won it in 2001-02. Just like Gasol helped usher in the Grizzlies’ first era in Memphis, Morant did the same for this current era.
The Grizzlies were projected to win 27½ games before the season and finished with 34 while contending for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Although they lost a play-in game to the Portland Trail Blazers, Morant scored a career-high 35 points to cap one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history.
He led all qualified rookies in points (17.8), assists (7.3), double-doubles (15) and triple-doubles (two). He set franchise rookie records for assists per game,…