The 4 best NBA landing spots for Ja Morant

The 4 best NBA landing spots for Ja Morant
Thu 4th April 2019

It’s about to be official: Per USA TODAY Sports, Murray State point guard Ja Morant will enter the 2019 NBA draft.

This is huge news for fans of some currently terrible NBA teams vying for the No. 1 pick and the chance to take Duke forward Zion Williamson. Morant — who notched a triple-double in an opening-round upset over Marquette in Murray State’s opening game of the 2019 NCAA tournament — proved he could be a future superstar this year, so teams with one of the two picks below the top selection could consider taking him or trading with a team desperate for a point guard.

Here are some of the best fits for the guard who averaged 24.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 10.0 apg this year:

1. Phoenix Suns

The Suns have needed a star ball-handler for a while despite Devin Booker taking on the role a bunch in the last couple of years. And while Tyler Johnson is all fine and good as a stopgap, this is Ja Morant we’re talking about here. A Booker, Morant and Deandre Ayton nucleus would be something to build on in Phoenix.

2. New York Knicks

“But wait!?” you say. “What if they want to sign Kyrie Irving, who is also a point guard? And isn’t Dennis Smith a PG too?”

The answer there is: If you have the Knicks’ situation and a chance to draft a talent like Morant to put in your backcourt, you do it and you figure out what to do with your current roster and free agency possibilities later (especially because free agency starts in July, after the draft). Maybe there’s no guarantee to the Knicks’ brass that Irving wants to play closer to his home state of New Jersey. Maybe Smith isn’t the long-term answer as a starter. Whatever it is, you go for Morant.

3. Memphis Grizzlies

You’ll notice we’re skipping down the list of possible top lottery teams here. But the Atlanta Hawks have Trae Young, Collin Sexton took a big step forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season and the Chicago Bulls have Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine in the backcourt (although you could deal Dunn if you think Morant is better, see the Knicks’ situation above).

So we turn our attention to the rebuilding Grizzlies, who have 31-year-old Mike Conley and his enormous contract through 2019-20, when he has an early termination option that summer. Why not draft Morant and either have Conley tutor him or deal the costly veteran?

4. Dallas Mavericks

This all depends on where the Mavs land in the lottery. They dealt their first-rounder to the Hawks in last year’s draft-night swap that netted Luka Doncic, but it’s top-five protected. If they do get to keep their pick this year, they might need to trade up to get Morant, who would be a vast upgrade over Jalen Brunson.

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