Grizzlies: Ja Morant falls just short of first NBA All-Star appearance

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant will not make an appearance as an NBA All-Star this year. There was hope that his name would show up on the list, but it won’t come as a huge surprise that he was not selected as a reserve. His story won’t end here though, as he has already come an extremely long way.

Guards that beat him out were very talented, including some of the league’s best players. These players were Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, and Damian Lillard. Ja Morant shouldn’t hold his head down, as the list of players ahead of him are elite basketball players.

Just a few years ago, Ja Morant was an unranked high school point guard playing for a spot on any Division 1 basketball team. For him to have come as far as he has is an accomplishment on its own. Even his scholarship offer to attend Murray State came on accident, when a scout game to check out another player and stumble upon Morant.

He couldn’t have chosen a better player to accidentally stumble upon. Since earning that offer, Morant hasn’t looked back, earning a First-team All-American honor in his sophomore year of college. And what a year it was. It was good enough to have him selected in the 2019 NBA Draft with the second overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.

With a relatively small resume, there were worries of him becoming a bust in the league. That would not be the case. He didn’t take any time to settle in to the NBA, averaging 17.8 PPG and 7.3 APG in his first year, grabbing the NBA Rookie of the Year award along the way.

After just a single season, he had left his mark on the league. He’s steadily improving in year two, upping almost every part of his game. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another young player in the league who earned an All-Star appearance more. He’ll play hard to get it next year. In 2020-2021, he has fought injuries, but willed his team to a spot where they have a chance to make the playoffs.

He has improved as a player this year, but injuries derailed his All-Star hopes

This year, he’s putting up improved numbers in almost every facet of the game. The only area that has digressed from last year is his 3-point shooting, which has been a big struggle for this entire Grizzlies squad. He’s got plenty of time to figure out his shooting though, as the 21-year old will likely be in the league for at least another decade.

Being out for eight games this year, his chances of making the All-Star game were virtually cut in half. Had he played all year, he would have likely joined elite company, being one of just 22 players in the history of the league that have been selected to the All-Star game before the age of 22.

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In all likelihood, Morant will make his first appearance next year, assuming he plays the full season. If he improves his 3-point shooting and continues to grow his game, the young star should be a lock for the All-Star game in 2022.