Point guards tend to take more time to develop in today's NBA. As offenses create more space and become more prolific from three-point territory, defenses grow more complicated.
Breaking down complex coverages off pick and rolls and initiating actions to create open lanes and corner threes typically falls squarely on the point guard. And believe it or not, 19-to-22-year-olds need time to learn the intricacies of the game.
So far, Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant seems well ahead of the curve. Averaging 18.5 points, six assists and 3.2 rebounds per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent from three, the second overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft continues to earn his spot atop our 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year ladder. His turnover numbers are a bit high, but that's to be expected from a 20-year-old with less than 20 games under his belt.
When watching Morant play, his explosiveness going to the rim and potential as a passer immediately sparks memories of a young John Wall. The five-time All-Star was the top pick in the 2010 draft and immediately made a name for himself as one of the best rookie guards of all time.
On Saturday night against the Lakers, Morant accomplished a feat that no rookie has since Wall did in November of his rookie season.
He scored 26 points on 62 percent shooting, tallied six assists and swiped five steals. According to Justin Kubatko, Morant became the first rookie since Wall to record at least 25 points, five assists and five steals in a game.
The night Wall pulled it off, he scored 29 points, dished out 13 assists and recorded nine(!) steals against the 76ers in a narrow one-point victory.
Morant still has a long way to go before he gets to Wall's level as a floor general, but the skill set is certainly there and he'll have plenty of opportunity with the ball in his hands in Memphis.
The Wizards travel to play the Grizzlies on December 14. Wall won't play obviously because of his recovery from an Achilles injury, so if he makes the trip he could get a front-row seat to a player cut from the same cloth he was.
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Grizzlies G Ja Morant accomplishes feat no rookie has since John Wall originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington