The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is No. 1 in the eyes of Rookie of the Year voters. The NBA handed out its award for the top first-year player in the league for the 2019-20 campaign, and unsurprisingly, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant won the award running away, getting first place on 99 of the 100 ballots submitted by voters.
In a minor surprise, Kendrick Nunn of the Miami Heat came in second, while Zion Williamson, who received the only other first-place vote, came in third. Rounding out the top five were Morant’s teammate, Brandon Clarke, and Coby White of the Chicago Bulls.
Ja Morant wins Rookie of the Year. He got 99 of 100 first-place votes. Zion Williamson got the other.
Full voting here: pic.twitter.com/Tet4eQ1sCG
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) September 3, 2020
While the Grizzlies narrowly missed out on the playoffs, Morant was the primary reason why they were one of the best surprises in the league this season. Morant averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 31 minutes per game, establishing himself as one of the most exciting young point guards in basketball and giving a Grizzlies franchise in the midst of a youth movement one heck of a player to build around.
This wasn’t a particularly surprising result, in large part due to the fact that Williamson — the No. 1 pick in the previous Draft — played in only 19 games before the COVID-19 hiatus. Still, while it was inevitable, this was a well-deserved award for the former Murray State standout.