NBA Playoffs 2021: Ja Morant Joins Elite Scoring List Including Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Published 05/30/2021, 5:00 AM CDT


Even though the Memphis Grizzlies are trailing the Utah Jazz by 1-2, Ja Morant has gained plaudits, for his incredible performances on the court. The 2nd round pick from the 2019 draft is playing some of the best basketball of his career. The Jazz defeated the Grizzlies 121-111 in game 3 of this thrilling series. Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points in what proved to be a convincing win for the Jazz. The Memphis outfit needs to step up their performances to get past the franchise based out of Utah. Morant couldn’t win the game, however, he created a little piece of history in this game. He became the fourth player in NBA history to have 100 plus points in his first three playoff games.

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The young, savvy ball handler, stepped up again to prove his credentials as one of the best point guards in the league.

Ja Morant sits comfortably with NBA legends

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Other than him, the only players to achieve this feat were Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as he sits aside with an illustrious bunch of players.

The aforementioned players are some of the most dominating players the NBA has ever seen. Wilt Chamberlain holds the unique record of being the only person to score 100 points in a game. Moreover, there was no three-point shooting back in his days as we will always regard this as the greatest achievement in the league’s history. Similarly, Mikan was known for his ambidextrous shot-making as he was the poster boy of the league back in the 1950s. He was a true legend.

May 26, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) moves to the basket against the Utah Jazz during the second half in game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Arena. Utah Jazz won 141-129. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar completes the list. ESPN regarded him as the second-best player in NBA history after Michael Jordan. Significantly, Jabbar perfected the sky-hook as it was the most devastating shot in the history of the NBA. To be in this distinguished list takes some effort, but Morant has improved significantly in his latest exploits.

READ MORE- Michael Jordan and LeBron James’ best playoff game-winning shots

How good is Morant?

In the recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, analyst Max Kellerman spoke about the ever-improving Ja Morant.

“I think I would take Ja Morant over Jayson Tatum going forward. Ja Morant is the next level of athlete. He has that Westbrook aggressiveness with explosive athleticism. He is looking for his teammates, he is looking to score.”
“Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray and now Ja Morant and Luka Doncic, these young dudes like 22-years-old… They’re coming. They’re ready.”

“Like they step up in their first playoff performance and it’s jaw-dropping. Ja Morant is joining that group right now,” said Max.

During the regular season, he averaged 19.1 points, and 7.4 assists per game. However, Ja has taken his game to another level in the playoffs. He is averaging 36.5 points, 5.5 assists, and shooting with an effective field goal percentage of 57.4 percent. Being the franchise player is immense while Ja is truly a generational talent.

It is quite obvious to see that he has the hang-time of MJ, and the ball-handling skills of Iverson. When you wrap both players into one, you get Ja Morant. Likewise, improving game by game, Morant can be the best player in the league for years to come. But, it all depends on whether the Grizzlies organization can get enough players to support him. Dillon Brooks has come alive in the playoffs to add ample support.

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May 21, 2021; San Francisco, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) and forward Dillon Brooks (24) celebrate against the Golden State Warriors during overtime at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The league has seen a lot of mesmeric ball-handlers. However, the ball-handling skills of Ja Morant are quite scintillating. We have set the stage for this young phenomenon to shine, but can he push forward, and become a great like Kareem, Mikan, or Chamberlain?

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Jacob Gijy

126 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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