« They said I was too small to face NBA interiors »


If the Grizzlies are sometimes irregular at the start of the season, Ja Morant continues his ascent and makes miseries with the opposing defenses. His favorite area? Racket. Contrary to what one might think, the best NBA scorer in the paint is not an interior, but the young superstar from Memphis.

He is 6’1  », weighs 79 kilos and plays a playmaker. Not exactly the profile of a player who dominates the rackets, but Ja Morant is not just any player. It is a phenomenon. Based on stats from Kirk Goldsberry, analyst for ESPN, Morant is indeed the player who scores the most points in the racket at the start of the season. How much ? A good fortnight per game (out of the 26 he scores in total at each meeting). It’s more than Giannis Antetokounmpo, it’s more than Anthony Davis, it’s more than all the giants who usually dominate this sector with their size and their power. To bring our personal touch and some additional details about the damage done by Ja Morant in the snowshoes this season, we also went for a walk on NBA.com and here is what we discovered: Ja Morant, it is 5.3 baskets scored per game under 5 feet of the circle (1.5 meters) with a success rate of 66.4%, and almost two additional baskets between 5 and 9 feet (between 1.5 and 2.7 meters) at 45.2% success rate. During his last outing against the Clippers, the product of Murray State was particularly sharp, scoring 28 points in total including 20 in the paint. New proof that the 22-year-old kid doesn’t seem to come from the same planet as us.

“When I got out of college, they said I was too short and wouldn’t be able to finish close to the circle against NBA interiors. I think it’s going pretty well for me. « 

Seeing this stat, Ja Morant took the opportunity to send a little spade to those who had some doubts about him at the time of the NBA Draft 2019. We know him, he is rather the type to remember everything that is said about him and he’s not shy when it comes to opening his mouth wide. But if some Hexperts may have doubted at the time, the vast majority still pointed out his incredible athleticism and it is not for nothing that he was drafted in second position by the Grizzlies. Athletic qualities which burst the screen more than ever at the start of the 2021-22 season, with a Morant accumulating highlights night after night. Not only is he able to soar like a Derrick Rose MVP version or a premium Russell Westbrook, but Ja is also able to take contact while on suspension and then wrap it up. It doesn’t look like that given his size, but the Memphis phenomenon is very solid physically and it allows him to take the ascendancy when he is in attack mode. You add to that a really nice touch and an ability to finish in a lot of different positions, and you get the best NBA scorer in the racket.

The remedy to slow it down? We don’t know him yet. Because if you think that the solution is to leave it open to block access to the circle at all costs, you are informed that Ja Morant is running this season with more than 38% success in the parking lot, with almost five attempts per game. In the jargon, we call it a cheat code.

Text source: ESPN, NBA.com



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