Yes Morant has exploded since Christmas leading his Memphis Grizzlies to legit NBA title fights, but it’s not just his stats that do the talking.
The Grizz have now won 10 consecutive wins and jumped to fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
It’s been a collective effort, and he certainly has a lot of help, but the catalyst for this run was Yes.
As he continues to tear down the NBA defenses, Morant climbs the list of the league’s best point guards. Heading into the halfway point of the season, where is he on that list?
Yes Morant Turned His Stats Into Memphis Grizzlies Wins
Yes won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2019-20. He was drafted second behind Zion Williamson, who most believe was the clear No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft.
Boy, that didn’t quite go as planned for the New Orleans Pelicans, did it?
Morant scored 17.8 points and added 3.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists that first year. Last season he increased almost every stat across the board and showed brilliant flashes of what could be.
However, this year – and especially the last few weeks – Yes has taken the NBA by storm and put the Grizzlies on the map, something that isn’t easy in that market.
The former Murray State Racers star has averaged 24.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists this season. He shoots a career high 48.9% from the floor on a career high in attempts.
He also shoots a career high 37.9% from three on a career high 4.1 tries per night.
But during Memphis’ 10-game winning streak, Ja’s production has soared to 27.9 points per night, shooting a ridiculous 52.2% from the field and 46.9% from three.
He has the Grizzlies in fourth place in the West, just 3.5 games behind the leading Phoenix Suns.
He has established himself as one of the best in the league at his position. But where exactly is he on that map?
How Far Has the Third-Year Guard Climbed in the NBA Points Keeper Rankings?
Only “traditional” point guards count for this exercise. LeBron James is the point center for the Los Angeles Lakers (it’s crazy that that’s even a thing), but he’s not a traditional point guard.
Denver’s attack runs through Nikola Jokic, but he’s not a point guard (another point-center?).
On the other hand, Stephen Curry does as much off the ball as he does on it, but he is still considered a point guard. Kyrie Irving is an incredible isolation scorer and also plays off the ball, but he is still considered a point guard.
With that in mind, Trae Young leads all point guards in scoring, followed by Curry and then Morant. Yes has a higher field goal percentage at about one less attempt per game, and despite hitting a career high of three, Curry understandably but is actually ahead of Young.
Chris Paul is still the league’s best floor general even in his 16th season. His 10.1 assists lead the NBA.
Morant’s 6.3 free throws per game would rank third behind Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but his 76.7% shooting from the line would be significantly behind a handful of leading guards.
His 5.7 rebounds are top notch until you get to the 6-foot-7 LaMelo Ball.
The eye test also needs to be factored in, and in that category, Yes stands head and shoulders above all others. Young and Curry can shoot the best of them, but none are more athletic, fearless, or near the edge better than Morant.
Despite standing at 174 pounds, the 22-year-old is arguably the best finisher in the entire league with his touch and acrobatics at the basket.
So, where does Morant rank on the list of the best point guards in the NBA? Statistically, Young and Curry are at the top. Despite his age, Paul cannot be ignored.
Yes at least is next on that list and probably ahead of CP3. If there are point keepers, he is at level one. And in the last 10 games he is the best in the league.
But what comes next will go a long way toward giving us a clear answer.
Yes proves that this Grizzlies team is now ready to win
If the season ended on January 12, Memphis would host a playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. That can be won for the Grizz.
Then there would be a matchup with most likely Phoenix, Golden State or Utah, whoever finishes on top of the West.
But in their 10-game winning streak, Memphis has already beaten Phoenix and Golden State, as well as the Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers.
At their best, the Grizzlies have proven they can beat anyone. And that’s because Ja Morant is one of the best point guards in the NBA.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com.
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