Following the 2020-2021 NBA season, Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies had come off of being the 8th seed in the NBA Playoffs, as they lost to the number 1 seeded Utah Jazz 4-1. And heading into the offseason, the Grizzlies hadn’t made any significant moves that would make them contenders.
But with the emergence of Ja Morant in just his third year, the Grizzlies reached heights that no one saw coming into the season. The Grizzlies finished as the 2nd seed in the Western Conference with a record of 56-26. And today, Morant adds to his hardware collection as he wins the 2021-2022 NBA Most Improved Player award.
Morant is the first player in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player in a career in just his third year in the league.
Many fans voiced their frustration online after hearing that Morant was a finalist for the award. Some fans believed that players such as fellow Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane or Warriors guard Jordan Poole deserved the honor among others.
Regardless of what the fans think, Morant showcased his play all year, becoming a superstar in the process. Last year, Morant averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds. But Morant took his scoring to the next level, averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds in 57 games played this year.
Say what you want about Ja Morant, but he will continue to be a superstar in this league going forward.
Morant received his award at practice on Monday. Take a look at this as a teammate and candidate for Most Improved Desmond Bane presents him with the award:
As far as the rest of the voting, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray was the runner-up for the award, finishing with 183 points, followed by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland in third with 178 points. Warriors guard Jordan Poole and Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane round out the top five for voting.
Here are the full voting results following Ja Morant:
After winning the award, Morant showed love to teammate Desmond Bane in the running for the award. Morant even gave him the award, showing how much he appreciates his running mate in the backcourt all year long.
The Memphis Grizzlies will look to continue their success on the season, as they currently are tied 2-2 in a series against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening round of the playoffs.