NBA legend Magic Johnson named his pick for the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.
There are two major contenders for the Rookie of the Year award this season. Zion Williamson entered his rookie season as the clear favorite. But injuries forced him to play in just 19 games this season – the Pelicans played 64 contests before the season was suspended back in March.
Zion’s injuries opened the door for Grizzlies rookie guard Ja Morant. Morant’s been a star for Memphis this season, averaging 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 total rebounds in 59 games so far this year.
Had Zion remained healthy this season, he would’ve likely won the Rookie of the Year award with ease. But Ja Morant has clearly done enough to take home the award this season. Magic Johnson’s pick for award is in – he’s rolling with Ja Morant over Zion Williamson.
The Grizzlies’ Ja Morant for Rookie of the Year…not even close. Defensive Player of the Year is the Lakers’ Anthony Davis. Coach of the Year is the Grizzlies’ Taylor Jenkins and the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram is Most Improved Player.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 21, 2020
This is a relatively easy pick here. Zion simply hasn’t played enough to warrant winning the award. Though, he’s been awfully impressive when he has played, dropping 23.6 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds per contest in 19 games.
Ja Morant has remained healthy, though, and is the clear choice for the award. It’s remarkable what Memphis has been able to do this season. Morant’s led the organization to a 32-33 record, good for the No. 8 seed in the west.
Morant and the Grizzlies will have to fend off the Trail Blazers and Pelicans to hold onto the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Memphis resumes its season on July 31 against Portland.