Ja Morant has been touted as one of the best young stars in the NBA and could potentially join the following 100 greatest players list. But one basketball analyst believes there's an area of Morant's game that he needs to improve: his defense.
Morant's defensive rating
Morant is a hell of a scorer. He's got the athleticism of MVP Derrick Rose and the swag of Allen Iverson. Ja is also fast becoming a threat from the rainbow country. There's no question he can light it up offensively any given night, but in terms of his defense, there are still a lot of question marks.
In a Reddit AMA with The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, he was asked about his thoughts on Morant's defense, and the analyst believes the playoffs will be the ultimate test.
"Individually, sometimes fine but sometimes a zero. I don't really stress about it. Defense is about five guys, not one. Defense is also about scoring to force the other team to inbound not run. Ja has not been exploited to a detrimental level, and he's the engine of an offense that helps their top 10 defense. The playoffs will be the true test."
Ja's defensive rating in his career stands at 113. This season, his defensive rating is at 111, so Morant's rating is a bit close to the league average for shooting guards at 113.7. O'Connor is true that the team must be cohesive on defense to win games, and it's not the sole responsibility of Morant. It helps that they also have wingers who can defend, such as Jaren Jackson Jr.
Memhis Grizzlies defense
The Memphis Grizzlies lead the NBA in steals, blocks, and rebounds per game. They are also among the top when it comes to deflections and recovering loose balls. This means it's all about the hustle plays and heart. The Grizzlies players are willing to put their bodies on the floor to save possessions or create turnovers.
The opposing teams could isolate Morant and expose his defense in the playoffs, but Memphis, as a team, is good defensively. Ja can focus on playmaking and scoring since the whole team got his back on defense.
Great players work tirelessly to improve their game. If Ja Morant wants to take it to the next level, he must work on his defense more in the summer. It's not on an alarming level yet, but it's a potential weakness other teams could take advantage of in the most crucial playoff games and moments.