Grizzlies: Ja Morant was snubbed of a big time NBA Award already

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

After a tough loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on a last-second missed free throw, Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant may hang his head. That said, he shouldn’t — the Grizzly superstar point guard has been arguably the best player in the Southwest Division this year. Scratch that — Morant has been the best player in the Western Conference thus far in 2021.

I’m not saying he is the best overall player in the West, though he can be in time. I’m simply saying that he has had the best start out of anybody in the league.

Morant has done this by averaging 35 points per game through three games, looking extremely comfortable as a scorer, passer, and shooter in a hot Grizzlies start.

Why was Ja Morant snubbed of the NBA’s Player of the Week award?

Ja Morant is seemingly doing everything right to start out the season. The Grizzly point guard has been a huge leader for his team and with consistent play for three games, he was seemingly the best player in the conference.

There was one flaw in his game, and when I say “one,” I mean it literally. In crunch time, Ja Morant reached the free-throw line against the Los Angeles Lakers with a trio of free throws to attempts. he sunk the first two before rimming out on the third, virtually losing the Grizzlies the game right then and there.

Nobody will fault Morant for it — the Grizzly point guard is the sole reason why Memphis was still in the game. His performance throughout the contest was incredible. He looked like an NBA All-Star and an MVP Candidate, but a single mistake seemingly derailed things.

Did this single free throw cause him to miss out on the Western Conference NBA Player of the Week award? Here are this week’s winners.

While a free throw itself doesn’t mean much, Morant’s miss gave the Grizzlies a loss on the year. Look at the two players listed above — do you see a loss on their team’s record?

Granted, the real reason here is likely name and image-related. There will be a lot more engagement with the award if a player like Stephen Curry edges out a young Morant, even with inferior stats. Still, this is a tough one to digest.

There isn’t a single offensive stat that Curry leads Morant in to this point in the season. Heck, Morant even holds the higher three-point shooting percentage through three games at 44.4% to Curry’s 38.9%. It shouldn’t have been much of a discussion — Morant was the best player in the Western Conference in the first week of NBA action.

Next. Ja Morant could have a say in the MVP race. dark

Thankfully, weekly awards don’t mean much of anything. They give players bragging rights that they’ll likely never take advantage of. For Morant, he can use this as a chip on his shoulder, while Curry will add to the flurry of Player of the Week awards that he has already won.