It's award season in the NBA, and so far we've seen Nick Nurse named Coach of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo win Defensive Player of the Year and Brandon Ingram take home Most Improved Player. Now, we know the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year: Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant.
Early on Thursday evening, Morant got the news from his head coach Taylor Jenkins, live on "Inside the NBA." Morant fell one vote short of winning the honor unanimously, receiving 99 out of 100 first-place votes. The outstanding vote went to New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.
Heading into the season, Williamson was the presumed favorite, but a knee injury kept him sidelined until January, and though he was impressive once he got on the floor -- 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds on 58.3 percent from the field -- he simply didn't play enough games to earn an honor like this.
Especially with how well Morant played. Putting up 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game, Morant had the Grizzlies in playoff position when the season was shut down in March. And though they ultimately lost in the play-in game to the Portland Trail Blazers in the bubble, they put together a much better season than everyone was expecting.
Beyond just the stats, Morant also established himself as the team's leader, and proved often that he's ready for everything that entails -- both on and off the floor. With Morant leading the way, and other young players such as Jaren Jackson Jr., Clarke and Dillon Brooks, the Grizzlies have a bright future.