MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The new era of Grizzlies basketball has arrived.
“I’m still in wow as we speak. It’s been a long night, a long process but I’m enjoying every bit of it,” said Ja Morant.
It’s been a wild 48 hours for the Grizzlies organization. Wednesday the team parted ways with one of the best to ever wear the Beale Street blue, sending franchise cornerstone Mike Conley to the Jazz, the very next day, they selected Ja Morant with the #2 pick.
“I don’t think it’s any pressure but obviously I have big shoes to fill from Mike Conley. He’s a great player, I wish him the best and I just want to thank the Memphis Grizzlies as a whole for believing in me and having that trust in me and put me in the position that I am in,” said Morant.
The organization couldn’t be more confident in the talent they’ve acquired. Morant was sensational at Murray State, where he was a consensus all american. Becoming the only college player ever to average over 20 points and 10 assists for an entire season.
“The athleticism and explosiveness, everyone sees these SportsCenter highlights, dunking on guys which is unbelievable. But what stood out to us about Ja is the basketball IQ, when he breaks down defenses and gets into the paint he is two steps ahead of everyone,” said Zachary Kleiman.
Ja Morant gets his Grizz jersey. pic.twitter.com/qN7nM256Km
— Megan Rice (@MRice_Sports) June 21, 2019
“His unselfishness, his ability to make his teammates better, to be another head coach on the floor in the point guard position. And he’s a great person, great kid and great support system from his family. As we talk about building something special he’s one of those impactful individuals,” said Taylor Jenkins.
And after two straight years of missing the playoffs, Grizz fans can be excited about this team’s vision, after all it now includes Ja Morant playing alongside Jaren Jackson Jr.
“Jaren is a great player, we’ve built a strong relationship, we’ve been talking for about a month now. I’m just excited to take the floor and be able to play with a great player like that is an honor and I’m ready,” said Morant.
And Morant won’t be lacking any motivation. Coming out of high school unranked, Morant’s been out to prove people wrong for a long time.
“I’m still going to be the same Ja, I don’t think that will ever change coming from what I came from, like my story. I’ll always play with a chip on my shoulder and I’m not going to force anything. I’m going to go out and continue to play my game and do whatever I can to help the team,” said Morant.
The Grizzlies being extra cautious with Morant after he had a minor procedure done on his knee, he will not play in the summer league.