Ja Morant earned all 70 first-place votes for Rookie of the Year in a recent poll of NBA media folks.
Morant, 20, is averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 assists for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Zion Williamson was limited by injuries to just 19 games so far—but played spectacularly—and appears headed for a distant second-place finish in the ROY race.
After trading Mike Conley last summer, the Grizzlies were projected to finish last in the Western Conference. Instead, led by Morant, Memphis found itself with a 3 ½-game lead for the final playoff spot over the Portland Trail Blazers and Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans when the season was suspended. If the NBA were to play an abbreviated regular-season schedule upon resuming the season, Morant’s Grizzlies would be more likely to hold onto that spot, solidifying his Rookie of the Year case even more.
If Morant were to win the award unanimously as he did in this straw poll, he’d join Karl-Anthony Towns, Damian Lillard and Blake Griffin as the only players to do so over the past 30 seasons.
Williamson has played only 19 of the Pelicans’ 64 games. No player has won Rookie of the Year playing fewer than 50 games (Patrick Ewing played exactly 50 in winning the award in 1985-86).