NBA Rumors: Anonymous GM Would've Drafted Ja Morant over Zion Williamson

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIJanuary 16, 2020

MEMPHIS, TN - JANUARY 14: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies signals to a a teammate during the game against the Houston Rockets on January 14, 2020 at FedExForum 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Ja Morant has already validated the Memphis Grizzlies' decision to select him second overall in the 2019 NBA draft just 35 games into his career. 

The 20-year-old point guard has also reportedly made an anonymous NBA general manager question why Zion Williamson was drafted first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans instead of Morant.

"I wouldn't have taken [Williamson] No. 1 even back then," a Western Conference general manager told Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill ahead of Williamson's Jan. 22 regular-season debut. "I would've taken Ja or traded back to pick up as many picks as I could."

Williamson has been out since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus on Oct. 21. 

However, two anonymous Eastern Conference executives told Goodwill they would still take Williamson with the top overall pick. 

Tee Morant, Ja's father, beat the anonymous Western Conference GM to the punch while talking to Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion at the 2019 NCAA tournament:

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Morant went on to post a triple-double in Murray State's 83-64 win over Marquette in their opening-round matchup, becoming the first player to do so since 2012.

Morant has translated that success to the pro level so far by averaging 18.0 points, 6.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals across 35 games (all starts) for the 19-22 Grizzlies this season. He is Memphis' lead distributor and is tied with second-year forward Jaren Jackson Jr. as the team's leading scorers.

Morant and Jackson combined for a play Tuesday night that showed exactly what the Grizzlies had hoped for when drafting Morant to pair with the 2018 fourth overall pick:

NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady foresees Morant to be "a MVP in this league" regardless of where he was picked:

However, while Morant and Williamson could be tied together by comparisons throughout their NBA careers, it's entirely too early for anything definitive until Williamson is able to play. If they want to contend for a playoff spot this season, the 15-26 Pelicans need Williamson to produce as he did for Duke as the AP, Naismith and Wooden Player of the Year.

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