Chicago Bulls: Ja Morant has shot to match young MJ in the playoffs

Ja Morant (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Ja Morant (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

One particularly potent player in this rookie class has a shot to join the company of Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Elgin Baylor.

This rookie class from the 2019-20 NBA season has a chance to be pretty special at the top. A rookie class that includes the likes of Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn, Chicago Bulls point guard Coby White, etc. could make an impact on the NBA for a long time.

But the top two players in this rookie class at this point in time is pretty clear. Zion and Ja will be competing to take either the Grizzlies or the Pelicans into one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference once the seeding is decided when the NBA resumes next month with their “bubble” plan featuring 22 different teams.

Morant in particular looks to have the opportunity to do something historic that would put him in the company of the Bulls legendary shooting guard Michael Jordan and Los Angeles Lakers small forward Elgin Baylor. If the statistics hold true for Morant as the Grizzlies leading scorer (in terms of points per game) and he gets his team into the playoffs, then he would be the third rookie to lead a playoff time in NBA history to do so.

The only other team players in NBA history to take their teams to the playoffs as rookies, while leading in points and per game, were Jordan with the 1984-85 Bulls and Baylor with the 1958-59 Lakers. MJ averaged an astounding 28.2 points per game and 5.9 assists during his rookie season with the Bulls in 1984-85. And Baylor averaged a still magnificent 24.9 and 4.1 assists points per game during his rookie season with the Lakers in 1958-59. We can’t go without mentioning the 15.0 rebounds per game that Baylor averaged during his rookie campaign.

Meanwhile, Morant is averaging 17.6 points per game and 6.9 assists in the season that is currently on pause with the Grizzlies. If he can get the Grizzlies into the playoffs, Morant would solidify his path to becoming a true star in the NBA.

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The Grizzlies will head into the NBA’s resumption plan at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, with games starting on July 30, with a record of 32-33. Meanwhile, the Bulls finished out with a record of 22-43 and missed out on the 22-team field that will play at Disney World next month.