what happened when Ja Morant was drafted second overall in 2019.

Ja Morant had a standout college career at Murray State University. During his sophomore year, he averaged 24.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 10 assists per game, showcasing his all-around skills and earning widespread recognition. 

Morant’s performance in the NCAA Tournament, particularly his triple-double in the first round against Marquette, catapulted him into the national spotlight. This performance underscored his ability to excel on the biggest stages, significantly boosting his draft stock.

Morant impressed scouts and executives with his athleticism, vision, and leadership during the pre-draft process, including the NBA Draft Combine and individual team workouts. His explosive playmaking ability and potential as a franchise point guard made him a highly coveted prospect. 

The Grizzlies were in a rebuilding phase, having traded away franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol and signaling a new direction. Drafting Morant aligned with their vision of building around a dynamic young core, especially with their previous year's pick, Jaren Jackson 

The Grizzlies needed a new face for their franchise and a successor to Mike Conley, who was nearing the end of his tenure with the team. Morant fit this role perfectly with his ability to lead the offense and bring excitement to the fan base. 

Morant’s selection paid off immediately as he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award for the 2019-2020 season. He averaged 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game, demonstrating his ability to translate his college success to the professional level. 

Morant’s arrival marked a shift in the Grizzlies’ style of play. His speed, court vision, and scoring ability helped transform Memphis into a more fast-paced and high-energy team, moving away from their previous "Grit and Grind" identity. 

Selecting Morant second overall was a cornerstone move for the Grizzlies’ long-term strategy. His potential to develop into a perennial All-Star provides Memphis with a solid foundation to build a competitive team around, enhancing their prospects for sustained success in the NBA. 

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