He has gone berserk early in the 2021-22 season with three strong performances.
Morant is averaging 35 points, eight assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.33 steals per night through three games.
Ja Morant has 105 points through 3 games this season. That is already the most by any Grizzlies player through 4 games.
Morant & the Grizzlies take on the Trail Blazers in the 2nd game of Wednesday's NBA doubleheader on ESPN at 10 ET. pic.twitter.com/fjpxi3hIRh
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 27, 2021
If he keeps up this production, he can unseat Nikola Jokic as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Morant is playing with a chip on his shoulder, even if he’s already one of the league’s superstars.
Maybe he’s still mad after going second overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Stepping Out Of Zion’s Shadow
The Grizzlies had an easy decision: draft the player the New Orleans Pelicans won’t take.
However, Zion Williamson got the most attention because of his game highlights in high school and at Duke University.
It’s not that Morant was an inferior talent to Williamson coming out of Murray State.
Still, Morant fell to Memphis and proved that the Pelicans made the wrong decision.
Ja Morant’s 1st week highlights looks like an end of the year mixtape 🥷
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 25, 2021
He played 67 games during his rookie season and averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game.
In contrast, Williamson played in only 24 games but scored 22.5 points per contest.
Morant won Rookie of the Year honors via unanimous vote, but some argue that he won because Williamson did not play enough games due to injury.
Three years into their pro basketball careers, Morant is building a better resume.
MORANT. IMPOSSIBLE. pic.twitter.com/fss4Fg3HEv
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 25, 2021
He already led the Grizzlies to the playoffs and is showing tremendous improvement from that experience.
Morant opened the season with 37 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two blocks against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Three days later, his 28 points helped Memphis defeat the Los Angeles Clippers.
failure builds character.
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) October 25, 2021
They lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, but Morant was sensational with 40 points, 10 assists, and three steals.
In contrast, there’s still no definite timeline for Williamson’s return after foot surgery.
Why Is Morant Having Early Success?
Jonas Valanciunas’ departure helped Morant increase his production.
Last season, he finished 26 percent of the Grizzlies’ plays via either a field goal attempt, a free throw, or a turnover.
This year, that number increased to 35 percent because of Steven Adams’ limited offensive prowess compared to Valanciunas.
Ja Morant this season:
37 Points – 6 Assists – 58% FG
28 Points – 8 Assists – 52% FG
40 Points – 10 Assists – 62% FG
Taking another leap. 😤🔥 pic.twitter.com/TNPZpikFIz
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 25, 2021
Factor in the assists he makes, and Memphis’ offense revolves primarily around Morant.
That increased usage elevates his scoring average and his overall importance to the Grizzlies.
Likewise, he traded most of his medium-range jumpers for drives to the basket, increasing his production.
Can Morant Keep Up The Pace?
While his start is impressive, it’s a long NBA regular season, and maintaining this level of performance can be exhausting.
Over their next five games, the Grizzlies will be facing the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and the Denver Nuggets twice.
They may get a break against Denver if Jokic misses some games due to injury.
JA MORANT ARE YOU KIDDING 🤯 pic.twitter.com/xHoLc5r1EZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 21, 2021
However, the Warriors and the Heat are having solid starts to their season.
But barring any injury, Morant will continue to get the lion’s share of possessions and opportunities for the Grizzlies.
Having more chances will always help him put up huge numbers every game to boost his odds for MVP.NEXT: Ja Morant Has Impressive Start In First 3 Games Of Season