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Grizzlies’ Ja Morant named NBA Rookie of the Year

Ja Morant. Photo by GamecockCentral.com (CC BY 2.0)

Ja Morant’s impact on the Memphis Grizzlies, and the NBA in general, has been evident since he first stepped on the court as a rookie.

Now, he has the hardware to prove it.

Morant won the 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year award Thursday, garnering 99 first-place votes from a 100-sportswriter panel. He is just the second Memphis player to earn the award, with Pau Gasol having done so in 2001-02.

“Congratulations to @JaMorant and to the @memgrizz!!” Gasol tweeted Thursday.

Kendrick Nunn of the Miami Heat and Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans finished second and third in the voting, respectively.

Morant averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists this season. He also notched two triple-doubles, the only ones by a rookie.

Arguably Morant’s best performance of the season came against the Portland Trail Blazers in a play-in game. He scored 35 points, his best in a single game, and tallied eight assists.

The Murray State alumnus was also named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month three consecutive times and selected to the NBA Rising Stars game, part of NBA All-Star Weekend.

Morant tweeted a picture of the Eddie Gottlieb Rookie of the Year trophy, along with a smirking emoji, after winning the award.

Other Grizzlies, including Grayson Allen, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke and De’Anthony Melton, tweeted in celebration of Morant.

“WELL DESERVED!” Allen tweeted. “Congrats 12.”

“Left it on the floor every game,” Jackson Jr. tweeted.

“Congratulations to my brotha,” Clarke tweeted.

“Yeah it’s home now,” Melton tweeted.

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