Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Ja Morant is swiftly distinguishing himself as one of those bankable A-list players, demonstrating that he can be a candidate for the 2022 Most Valuable Player award.
Morant’s climb up
His preparation began in 2009 when Morant was 10 years-old, his father Tee Morant built a basketball court in their backyard so that he could be trained. That’s when Morant’s all-time focus and end-goal became basketball.
When high school came around, Morant stood at 5 foot 7 inches, which can be considered undersized for high school basketball players. Morant’s father then decided to intensify Morant’s training, something that paid off because, after that, Morant’s jumping skills increased significantly.
In the summer of 2014, Morant at just 14 years old, took his game to the next level by slamming an electric dunk. Yet, for the remainder of high school, Morant was relatively unknown.
Morant did not attract much attention while attending Crestwood High School. Before his senior year, he was not ranked by any sports networks and had only two scholarship offers.
The summer before his senior year, Morant was worried that he would not be able to reach his basketball dream. He attended a 2-day tournament in South Carolina with the hopes of being noticed after all.
Luckily, Murray State recruiter James Kane went to the right place, at the right time. Originally, Kane was there recruiting another player in the main gym when he got hungry and was somehow led to the auxiliary gym where Morant was playing.
“Just a few minutes of watching Ja, I just knew he was special,” Kane said. “I called my boss right away and said, you got to come up here and see this kid.”
In September of 2016, Morant committed to play D1 college basketball at Murray State where he grew to his height of 6 foot 3 inches. His freshman year, after leading the team to the NCAA tournament, Morant was named team captain going into his sophomore year.
Two years later playing against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Morant made sure that people started knowing his name. Scoring a total of 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, Morant said his phone was blowing up that night after the game.
“It was at the time when nobody really knew me honestly, but after that game, it was different,” Morant said.
The 2019 NCAA tournament then came along and with thousands of people watching, Morant showed off dominant performances and helped lead Murray State against the five-seed Marquette.
Then two weeks later, Morant, with the support of his family, decided to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. Morant was the #2 pick at the draft and committed to play for the Memphis Grizzlies where he currently continues to take part in.
Could Morant be the NBA’s 2022 MVP?
Morant has been tremendous this 2021-22 season, helping the Memphis Grizzlies stand in third place in the Western Conference. The dynamic point guard has averaged 25.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. Basketball fanatics can not stop talking about him.
After some chants about Morant possibly receiving this year’s Most Improved Player award, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors stated unequivocally that Morant should instead be considered for the MVP award.
“When I say hell no about the MIP conversation – Ja, in my opinion, has already passed that,” Green said. “Let’s talk about the MVP conversation. That’s the category that I personally feel like Ja Morant needs to be mentioned more in. He’s playing at an MVP-level, All-Star starter, all of those things he is at that level.”
Another big name in basketball expressed similar thoughts. Former NBA player Magic Johnson is also convinced that Morant deserves MVP recognition.
After the Lakers vs. Grizzlies game on January 9, Johnson tweeted out, “last night I watched two guys that should be considered in the MVP race, Lakers’ LeBron James and Grizzlies’ guard Ja Morant.”
According to popular sports betting publications, Morant currently stands top five in the latest NBA MVP odds behind Stepehn Curry,” Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid.