2019 NBA Draft Odds: Ja Morant Favored over RJ Barrett as Grizzlies' No. 2 Pick

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 15, 2019

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - MARCH 23:  Ja Morant #12 of the Murray State Racers attempts a shot against Mfiondu Kabengele #25 of the Florida State Seminoles in the second half during the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at XL Center on March 23, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans are a near-lock to take Duke forward Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, but the intrigue starts with the Memphis Grizzlies' selection at No. 2.

Murray State point guard Ja Morant is the favorite over Duke forward RJ Barrett, per Caesars Palace (h/t B/R Betting):

The 6'3" Morant broke out during his sophomore year with 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. He led 28-5 Racers to the NCAA tournament's second round.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman mocked Morant to the Grizzlies in his latest mock draft, noting the following:

It's easy to envision Morant will go No. 2 to the Memphis Grizzlies. 

With Mike Conley's time running out in Memphis, the Grizzlies can draft his long-term replacement at the point.

Nifty ball-handling, vision and ambidextrous passing skill fuel elite playmaking potential for Morant, the nation's assist leader. Even if he struggles to improve as a shooter, his ability to set up teammates is a strength Memphis can bank on.

The 31-year-old Conley is coming off a career-high 21.1 points per game as the Grizzlies' floor general, and he certainly wasn't the reason the Grizz finished just 33-49 last season. The point guard hasn't slowed down despite 12 NBA regular seasons and seven postseason trips.

However, Morant is 12 years younger and arguably the next-best player on the big board after Williamson. He's hard to pass up.

Barrett wouldn't be a bad choice either: He averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game during his lone season at Duke.

The 6'7" forward should make an immediate impact wherever he lands, although early odds suggest that won't be in Memphis.

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