The New Orleans Pelicans won the Zion Williamson sweepstakes during Tuesday's NBA draft lottery in Chicago, but the Memphis Grizzlies landed quite the consolation prize—the No. 2 pick and a chance to select Murray State's Ja Morant.
"I really didn’t have any [emotions]," Morant said, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. "I really was just excited to see it all play out with how it went. I'm not disappointed. They still got the same player that is still going to go in and work like I’ve been doing."
Mike Conley is the Grizzlies’ incumbent point guard and a Memphis institution at this point, but there is an early termination option on his contract for 2020-21. The upcoming season could be his final one with the only NBA team he has ever known, and he will be 32 years old in October.
Drafting Morant would give Conley the opportunity to provide veteran mentorship for the team's point guard of the future.
While Williamson is seen as the generational talent and a pillar for a franchise, Morant has the talent to become an All-Star as well. He averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from three-point range in his final season with Murray State.
He also became a household name during the NCAA men's basketball tournament with a triple-double in a first-round win over No. 5-seeded Marquette and 28 points in a second-round loss to Florida State.
Morant's explosiveness in transition and his ability to get to the basket stand out, but so does his all-around game as a shooter, facilitator and someone who battles for rebounds from the backcourt.
That skill set could be coming to Memphis on June 20, when the Grizzlies make the second pick in the NBA draft at Barclays Center in New York.