Grizzlies' Ja Morant Says 'I Honestly Don't Care About Rookie of the Year' Award

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2020

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) plays in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

The emergence of Zion Williamson has created some debate about the NBA's Rookie of the Year award, but early favorite Ja Morant apparently isn't concerned.

"I honestly don't care about Rookie of the Year. They can give that to who they want," Morant said Monday, per Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic.

His focus is reportedly on getting the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs, with the team currently holding a three-game lead over the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

Morant was seemingly a lock for the Rookie of the Year award a month ago, carrying a team with little expectations into playoff contention with dazzling play.

The point guard continues to impress with averages of 17.7 points and 7.0 assists per game entering Monday, more than living up to his status as the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft. With No. 1 pick Williamson missing the first three months of the year due to a knee injury, there was no one else from the rookie class even close to Morant's level.

However, Williamson has been simply incredible since returning to the court, with an average of 24.1 points 6.8 rebounds per game in 15 appearances.

Though it's a small sample size, the forward has scored at least 20 points in 11 straight games and has three 30-point games to Morant's one.

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This includes a 35-point effort in Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he made his presence felt.

Voters will have to decide at the end of the year whether Morant's performance over a longer period justifies keeping him over Williamson on their ballots.

Either way, the Grizzlies guard just wants to focus on team success for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.