Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far.
Since October, he has been dominating the league and has led his squad to 2nd place in the West. His performance has been so impressive, that ex-76ers coach Larry brown felt compared to compare him to Philadelphia basketball legend, Allen Iverson.
Here's what he said:
“I watched him [in college] but I couldn’t predict this,’’ Brown told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He reminds me so much of Allen [Iverson] athletically the way he pays. Fearless. That whole [Grizzlies] team they have a great camaraderie. They all seem to love each other. He’s so special.
“The things Ja does, I remember sitting on the bench in Philly, looking at staff and seeing Allen do something and we all laughed because we never seen anyone doing anything like that. I get the same feeling watching Ja play. And a lot of our kids go to their games.’’
With the Zion Williamson hype dominating the 2019 draft class, Ja Morant flew under the radar as the 2nd overall pick, going to a Grizzlies team that had no concrete direction at the time.
Over two years later, Ja Morant finds himself in the MVP conversation as Zion Williamson hangs on the verge of missing the entire season.
It's an impressive and inspiring rise for the young point guard, and coach Brown isn't the only one who has taken notice.
“You should’ve seen this little kid’s face when I said ‘Yo man, you’re the best player in the league. He was like ‘huh?’ and I’m not playing with you bro, you’re the best–for real. I promise you’re the best,” Shaq said of Morant. “Ja is good, Penny was like that, Kobe was like that. This kid, it will definitely be his league in a few years.”
Needless to say, there are still some doubts when it comes to what Morant can do in the postseason. This is his first year not playing as an underdog, and the expectations couldn't be higher.
But with folks comparing him to Allen Iverson and other basketball greats, it seems unlikely he won't rise to the occasion and deliver an excellent performance for his team when needed.