Ja Morant is odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year honours, but Zion Williamson is in the rear mirror, and it’s not a case of objects looker closer than what they appear. Williamson is truly fast approaching and could take over quickly with sharpening odds. The odds of Ja Morant winning the ROY is just ahead of Williamson but are plummeting fast. The more Williamson demonstrates his out of this world ability to be a beast among men, Morant will inevitably become second in line.
In a case of sliding doors, Williamson would perhaps have been a slam dunk to win Rookie of the Year awards if he had not been injured during the pre season.
But because of his injury his odds of winning ROY have initially plummeted, allowing the Ja Morant from the Memphis Grizzlies to become the leading odds taker. But now that Williamson is back, the odds are swinging back in the favor of Williamson.
Ja Morant – how good is he?
Morant has been the surprise package from this year’s batch of rookies. He has demonstrated athleticism and fearlessness that have left fans in awe. Not afraid of huge match ups, he will take it up to the big stars. In a game against the Rockets, he went hard at James Harden to signal the new kid of the block has arrived. Not taking a back seat, he trashed talked his way into the Twittersphere.
In a following game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ja Morant famously nearly killed Kevin Love. On the offense, Love stood in front of Morant in readiness to take a charge. Most offensive players either try to finesse around the charge, or even run through the charge. But Morant took to the air instead. Reminiscent of Vince Carter in 2000 Sydney Olympics, Morant jumped over Love with the intention of slamming the shit over him! It didn’t end with a bucket, but damn, it was a sight to see.
The audacity of this young man is not to be questioned.
His first half of the season play has definitely justified betting odds placing him as favorite. He is averaging 17.6 points per game at a very respectable 49.3% from the field. But since the return of Williamson, his odds of remaining the favorite is under threat.
Zion Williamson – there is no doubt he is better
But Williamson is back from injury, and is already breaking records. In his first 10 games he has demonstrated that he is a beast among men. His stats are amazing: 22.1 points per game at 57.6% from the field. He is first player since Michael Jordan to score consecutive 30 plus point games in their first year.
We can also look forward to Williamson’s play time increasing, and in theory his points average should increase accordingly. If Alvin Gentry, continues to set the structure of play through Williamson, and the Pelicans make it to the playoffs, then of course Williamson should take credit for their success.
Enough Games to Warrant Rookie of the Year?
However, with Zion Williamson only having played 10 games in his young career, and (hopefully if he stays injury free) will only play half a season, does this preclude Williamson from ROY honours? What balance should be taken to play time vs outstanding play?
I believe there is consensus opinion that Williamson is by far the better player than Morant. Williamson is a player that the world has never seen before, and may never see again. His half a season of play is expected to break records. And if breaking records do eventuate, the rookie of the year honors should belong to Williamson.