Ja Morant did it again.
In a win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, the Memphis Grizzlies rookie led the way with 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He did so while turning the ball over only two times and making 10 of his 11 field goal attempts.
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According to StatMuse, it's a stat line we haven't seen from a first-year player in the last 38 seasons.
Ja had 26 pts, 8 assists on 10-11 shooting tonight.- StatMuse (@statmuse) January 15, 2020
No other rookie has matched or bettered that statline in the last 38 seasons. pic.twitter.com/qlI38nOSw8
But as impressive as his all-around showing was, it was the three 3-pointers Morant converted that stood out the most because, well, this sure doesn't look like someone who came into the NBA with questions about his jump shot:
a taste of his own step back 😉@JaMorant | #GrzNxtGen pic.twitter.com/0I9XKlCxFL- Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) January 15, 2020
Morant spoke about it after the game in which he sank three of his four attempts from deep, telling NBA TV's Dennis Scott that he's confident in his shooting ability and that he is proving the people who doubted that part of his game wrong.
"I work on it each and every day," Morant said. "I'm confident in my shot. The doubters said I couldn't shoot. I'm proving them wrong."
I broke down Morant's game earlier in the season. I was convinced at the time that he has the potential to be one of the league's best point guards eventually, but I did have questions about his jump shot. While he was shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range at the time, he was doing so only a couple of attempts per game.
Moreso than anything, I was curious to see if he could continue to shoot that well over a larger sample size.
The jury is still out on whether or not Morant can become a high volume 3-point shooter, but it's become abundantly clear that he can shoot. He's now up to 40.7 percent shooting from the perimeter on the season, the same rate as players like Brandon Ingram, Khris Middleton and Joe Harris. Again, the volume isn't there compared to them or other players at his position, but just being able to punish defenders for giving him space - as he did three times against the Rockets - is a huge step in the right direction for his long-term development because he's already one of the fastest and shiftiest players in the league with the ball in his hands.
Those haven't been all catch-and-shoot 3s either. According to NBA.com, Morant has actually taken more pull-up 3s on the season and he's converted them at a slightly higher rate (40.9 percent compared to 38.7 percent).
That's a scary sign for the rest of the league, Tuesday's game against the Rockets being yet another example of why.
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