The Memphis Grizzlies’ guard Ja Morant has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, and he joins Pau Gasol (2001-02) as the second player to win the Rookie of the Year Award with the Grizzlies.
Morant fell short by one vote en route winning the honour unanimously, receiving 99 out of 100 first-place votes. The outstanding vote went to New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.
Morant got 99 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earned 498 total points.
Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn finished in second place with 204 points while the New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson received one first-place vote and finished in third place with 140 points.
Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played through March 11.
Voting result: 2019-20
|Player (Team)||1st Place Votes
|2nd Place Votes
|3rd Place Votes
|Ja Morant (Memphis)||99||1||0||498|
|Kendrick Nunn (Miami)||0||56||36||204|
|Zion Williamson (New Orleans)||1||37||24||140|
|Brandon Clarke (Memphis)||0||6||32||50|
|Coby White (Chicago)||0||0||3||3|
|Eric Paschall (Golden State)||0||0||2||2|
|Terence Davis II (Toronto)||0||0||2||2|
|RJ Barrett (New York)||0||0||1||1|
The making of the NBA rookie of the year, Ja Morant
However, the seeding games, which were played July 30 – Aug. 14 as part of the season restart, did not count toward voting for the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award or the league’s other traditional end-of-season awards.
Morant led all qualified NBA rookies in scoring (17.6 ppg) and assists (6.9 apg) and shot 49.1 per cent from the field in 59 games from the beginning of the season through March 11. During that period, Morant was one of three NBA players to average at least 17.0 points and 6.0 assists and shot 49.0 per cent or better from the field, joining 2020 NBA All-Stars LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nikola Joki? of the Denver Nuggets.
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He also recorded a rookie-high 11 double-doubles and produced the only triple-double by a rookie when he finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Washington Wizards on Feb. 9. He had at least 20 points and 10 assists in seven games, including a 27-point, 14-assist performance against the Lakers on Feb. 29.
Morant was excellent late on in games and ranks sixth in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring average (7.3 ppg) in games played through March 11. Of the top six players in that category, Morant had the highest fourth-quarter field goal percentage (55.9).
Honoured as the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month in October/November, December, and January, he joined Pau Gasol as the only rookies in Grizzlies history to earn monthly accolades three or more times.
Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in NBA Draft 2019, also broke the franchise rookie record for total assists in a season, reaching the milestone in his 48th game.