Ja Morant, the second-overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, has won the league’s Rookie of the Year Award.
The NBA has now fully entered the second-round of the playoffs. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the league has been announcing their award winners of the 2019-20 season from inside the Walt Disney World bubble. Recently, Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors won Coach of the Year, while Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans won the Most Improved Player of the Year.
On Thursday, the NBA announced the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year winner, and the honor didn’t go to Ingram’s Pelicans teammate Zion Williamson. The award goes to Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant.
Morant received 99-of-100 first-place votes (498 points) to take home the trophy. Kendrick Nunn finished second with 204 points and Williamson took third place with 140 points.
Morant’s full-season helps him clinch NBA Rookie of the Year
Entering the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, the buzz understandably surrounded Williamson, the star of the Duke Blue Devils. Every lottery-eligible team was hoping and praying they could secure his services. However, the winner of the second-overall pick would earn the rights to select Morant, the guard out of Murray State. While the Pelicans received Williamson, the Grizzlies were more than happy to receive pick number two.
Morant was the star of the entire 2019 draft class. Through 67 games this season, Morant averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds, while shooting 47.7-percent from the field and 33.5-percent from the three-point line. Additionally, Morant had two triple-doubles this season, while also leading the team to the Western Conference play-in round against the Portland Trail Blazers, where he played his final four games in the Orlando, Fla. bubble with a broken thumb.
Who knows how this contest would have gone if Williamson had not gone under the knife for knee surgery at the start of the season. But, that’s simply a hypothetical. Morant was amazing this rookie season and deserving of the award.