Giannis Praises Ja Morant's Improvement: 'He's Having an Unbelievable Year'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 19, 2022

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 04: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the game at FedExForum on March 04, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Justin Ford/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was highly complimentary of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant during an NBA All-Star Weekend press conference Saturday in Cleveland.

Giannis lauded Morant's improvement since entering the league and suggested Ja could eventually lead the Grizzlies to a championship:

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on Grizzlies’ Ja Morant: “He’s improved with every single year. He’s having an unbelievable year this year, crazy. I know that he’s a very humble kid. I know he works extremely hard. Why not? Why can’t he win a championship in Memphis?” <a href="https://t.co/9eI0ZBJmDX">pic.twitter.com/9eI0ZBJmDX</a>

Morant, who was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2020 after going No. 2 overall in the 2019 draft, is making his All-Star Game debut Sunday.

After averaging what was then a career-high 19.1 points per game last season, Morant has raised his game to an elite level this season, averaging 26.8 points per game to go along with 6.9 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 three-pointers made and 1.2 steals per contest.

Morant has also been more efficient than ever, shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from beyond the arc.

While the 22-year-old somewhat surprisingly led the Grizzlies to the playoffs last season as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, the team has grown by leaps and bounds this season.

With a record of 41-19, the Grizzlies have the third-best mark in the NBA and are the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, making them legitimate championship contenders.

Giannis knows a thing or two about playing top-flight basketball and winning championships, as he is a two-time NBA MVP and won NBA Finals MVP last season en route to the Bucks winning a title.

Since the Bucks are in a virtual tie for third in the Eastern Conference, a Bucks vs. Grizzlies NBA Finals isn't outside the realm of possibility.

First, they will go head to head in Sunday's All-Star Game when Giannis and Team LeBron face Morant and Team Durant.