School: Murray State
Height/Weight: 6’3, 175 lbs
Ja Morant is an extremely compelling prospect as he’s going to without a doubt (minus a push from Rui Hachimura) be the first mid-major prospect taken off the board in the 2019 NBA Draft. He’s got a crazy amount of talent and it’s clearly being showcased in his second year with Murray State.
First off is Morant’s length. He uses it effectively on both ends of the floor. On defense, he uses his long arms to cut off passing lanes about as well as anyone at this level. It’s the quick instincts and fast hands that get you hooked:
Offensively, he can use those long arms to finish over and around defenders. He has the ball on a string as he’s handling the ball and even though he has those long arms, he’s got such great ball handling ability that it’s almost impossible to steal the ball from him unless it comes from an errant pass.
That brings us to his finishing overall, it’s beyond good. He’s got such a quick first step and can get by his defender in a flash that opens up just enough space for him to get to the rim and be able to finish with either hand. The most impressive part of his finishing is his hang-time. He makes it so frustrating for the shot blocker because it is almost impossible to time the block perfectly against Morant. Along with the timing is just the fact that he also just makes some shots that, well, no one should be making.
Ja Morant has a very nice touch on his shot, mainly inside the arc. He definitely has shown the ability at times to shoot it from beyond three point range, so our initial thought is that it won’t be too difficult for him to adjust.
Morant also has the vision and passing talent to be a very good distributor. He can find his teammates in tough spaces and does a phenomenal job of leading his guys with perfect lob passes, which is a common theme each game. It’s the perfect combination for Ja who often is able to draw the extra defender to him that gives his alley-oop partner enough space to finish:
Ja Morant has two glaring weaknesses as of right now. The first one is his three point shooting. Yes, as we mentioned, he has the ability to shoot it out from NBA range. The problem though is the consistency at which he shoots it from deep. The form is nothing to go home about and it leaves us wanting more as it’s what is the one thing that would stop us from saying that he can become elite at the next level.
His other major weakness is his decision making…at times. Like noted before, Ja Morant is a very, very good passer, but, too often we’ll see him make a poor decision or make things too difficult for himself. He’s a creative passer and makes some extravagant passes at times which is something to love about Morant’s game, but we’ll see him consistently make difficult passes with one hand instead of just using both to get his guy an open bucket.
He just needs to slow down at times, which we know is extremely tough for someone who is moving at 1000 mph every possession.
Last year, I wrote the following in my scouting notes about Ja Morant:
“Morant is a do it all freshman at this point who can rebound extraordinarily well for his size and can finish with either hand at the rim. He’s not a 3-point threat yet, but let’s see if he can develop that the next few years.”
That first sentence cannot be more true this season as he’s even taken that to another level. He literally does it all for Murray State and would be putting up even more obscene numbers if it weren’t for the struggles that his teammates have had this season. Ja Morant has all of the talent in the world and if he can work on those weaknesses we mentioned above and put on more muscle, he’ll be an elite point guard in the league. He definitely won’t be drafted outside of the top 10 and will be the first point guard off the board. Don’t be surprised if he cracks into our top 5 later in the year.