"It's not only that he's good. It's the way that he's good." That's how Zach Lowe described Ja Morant while raving about him on the latest Lowe Post. It's an interesting idea to think about - some players are good in a way that makes them stand out amongst players in their tier. Damian Lillard is one of those guys, and here's why Lowe thinks Ja is his heir apparent.
”He's going to be the next Damian Lillard where his teammates love him; he's an incredible leader, he somehow can score 30 points, but you don't feel like he's ever selfish.”
Zach Lowe, The Lowe Post
That ability is one of the most underrated qualities a player can have, and I think, a prerequisite for a foundational piece of a championship team. Dropping 30 and it not seeming selfish without your teammates holding grudges is an incredible ability. There are two crucial parts of this equation - basketball IQ and emotional IQ, and they are very interlinked.
What makes Chris Paul the ultimate game manager is not that he only thinks about Xs and Os in real-time, but he's also gauging his teammates' effort and motivation. If a big guy seems to be slacking on defense, CP3 will run a few plays for him. Paul understands that's equally relevant to winning games as is playing the right play from a purely tactical standpoint. That's why Paul dominates the ball, but his teammates never feel like bystanders. Ja has the same ability.
That's why I find him to be an obviously better player than Trae Young. At first glance, Trea and Young are both score-first ball-dominant point guards. But Ja does it through the flow of a team game, while Trae can only do it his way. That's why Ja makes everyone better, and we've read reports of other Hawks players complaining about Young. On that same podcast, Bill Simmons made another comparison for Morant.
“It's a little pre-2011 Derrick Rose-y. Just a little bit. Something's brewing where you can see the ceiling was very high.”
Bill Simmons, The Lowe Post
Simmons' got a point there. Memphis is far from being a significant factor in the West, but watching them play; there's a feeling that could all change within a year. Having an hair apparent to Damian Lillard means the league's future is safe. Let's just hope Ja's health will be much better than Rose's was.
Damn those ACLs.