Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Ja Morant Named 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year over Zion Williamson, Kendrick Nunn

Rob Goldberg

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant was named the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year on Thursday.

Morant was nearly a unanimous pick, receiving 99 of the 100 first-place votes:

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson received the other first-place vote, though Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn finished second by a comfortable margin.

Morant was the No. 2 pick last June and exceeded his lofty expectations with an average of 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game, immediately becoming the go-to option for the Grizzlies.

The 21-year-old made a significant jump in competition from the past two seasons at Murray State, but the 6'3" point guard easily transitioned to the NBA and remained efficient with a 50.9 effective field-goal percentage, including 33.5 percent from three-point range.

Though Memphis was expected to be far down the standings, the South Carolina native helped lead the squad to the Western Conference play-in game, where it fell to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Williamson was also impressive with an average of 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, but he only made 24 appearances because of a knee injury.

"I feel like I've done enough. I deserve it," he said of the award. "I feel like my play this year proved all that."

The voters seemed to agree, handing Morant the first major honor of what could be an exciting career.

   
×
Bleacher Report
(120K+)