Atlanta Hawks draft profiles: Ja Morant

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Ja Morant is a sophomore from Murray State that has asserted himself this season as a potential top five draft pick and could even go number one overall depending on who is selecting.

As a freshman Morant started in all 32 games, averaging 12.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. Even Morant would tell you now; those are rookie numbers. In nineteen games this season, Morant is putting up 24.1 points, 10.5 assists, and 5.6 rebounds on 51.9% shooting from the field.

Many draft profiles have him comped to former Kentucky point guard DeAaron Fox. I’ll say that’s a pretty spot on comparison. The two have ideal frames for the point guard position, standing at 6’3″ with long arms, but where they separate themselves is with their speed and athleticism. Take a look at some of these highlights from Morant:

For a point guard, he has that Russell Westbrook type of explosiveness when attacking the rim. His speed and handle allow him to get past his initial defender and then he relies on that athleticism to finish around the basket.

Where Morant is significantly further along in his development than Fox was at Kentucky is in the passing game. He is leading the NCAA in assists, anticipating the moves of defenses and setting up his teammates for easy buckets.

A 30% career three-point shooter at Murray State, he will have to improve that as he transitions to the NBA. However, he’s shooting nearly 80% from the free-throw line and doesn’t have a busted shot by any means. There is plenty of hope that Morant will eventually be able to keep defenses honest with his shot and there’s a possibility he could even develop it into a weapon.

With so many players from big-name schools on the board, don’t let the ‘Murray State’ across his jersey fool you. Morant is 100% the real deal and is projected by several mocks to be the second overall pick in the 2019 draft. The only issue with the Hawks drafting him is that they have already invested so much into Trae Young. It would be odd to see them go with back-to-back point guards inside the top five.

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