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Ja Morant 2019 Props: Over/Under PPG Set at 17.5, APG Listed at 7

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Jun 24, 2019 · 12:47 PM PDT

Ja Morant
Ja Morant is ushering in a new era of basketball in Memphis. Photo from @NBA (Twitter).
  • Ja Morant should be the starting point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies from day one
  • Memphis is moving on from its largely successful Grit ‘n Grind era
  • We identify the winning bets for Morant’s rookie output

Two moves pulled the Memphis Grizzlies out of the old and into the new.

The first: dealing longtime point guard Mike Conley to the Jazz, the last vestige of the venerable Grit ‘n Grind era. While it never produced a trip to the NBA Finals, that squad was respected for its hard work and relentless defensive prowess, which resulted in a seven-year stretch of postseason excellence, with a trip to the Western Conference Finals as the high point.

The second: drafting stud Ja Morant with the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Morant is an exceptional building block ushering in a new era of hoops in Memphis. Now, sportsbooks have posted odds on just how great Morant will be out the gate.

Here’s a hint: he’s going to be really, really good.

Ja Morant 2019-20 Points Per Game Odds

How Many Points Per Game Will Ja Morant Average in 2019-20? Odds
Over 17.5 Points Per Game -120
Under 17.5 Points Per Game -120

Odds taken 06/24/19

If there was no Zion Williamson, the basketball world would be fawning over the sheer brilliance and otherworldly athleticism of Morant. Unheralded at little-known Murray State, he put together an incredible one-and-done season. His numbers: 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game on 49.4% shooting from the field jump off the page, yet they hardly come close to revealing what his game tape does: a superstar in waiting.

As his rep was gaining hype through the year, Morant shined at the NCAA Tournament, putting together a remarkable triple-double performance against Marquette, punctuated with one of the plays of the tourney.

No matter what system they run, Morant is going to be able to get to the bucket at will. But this is also the NBA, where defensive schemes will eventually figure him out. Teams will dare him to knock down jumpers, and that’s where it could get dicey.

If you’re wondering, in the last five years, only six rookies have been able to eclipse the 17.5 mark: Luca Doncic, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Joel Embiid, Karl Anthony-Towns and Jalil Okafor. It’s worth noting that Embiid only played 31 games his rookie year.

I think Morant, Zion, and RJ Barrett comfortably cross that line this season, as they battle for Rookie of the Year honors.

Pick: Over 17.5 PPG (-120)

Ja Morant 2019-20 Assists Per Game Odds

How Many Assists Will Ja Morant Average in 2019-20? Odds
Over 7.0 Assists Per Game -120
Under 7.0 Assists Per Game -120

Morant was touted as the best passer in the draft, and it’s not even close. He combines the fearless attacking and scoring gene in his system with an ability to read the defense and find the right man with the goal of getting buckets.

Situation matters here, and Morant will get a chance from the jump to be the undisputed lead ball-handler, something that Darius Garland is going to have to fight for in Cleveland, up against incumbent Collin Sexton and fellow first-round draftee Kevin Porter Jr.

There’s a reason why only three rookies have eclipsed seven assists per game in their first year in the last five seasons: point guard is a hard job, and even more so now because teams want multiple play-making threats on the court.

Only three rookies have eclipsed seven assists per game in their first year in the last five seasons.

Trae Young averaged 8.1 assists this last season. Two years ago, Ben Simmons had an 8.2 average, trailed by Lonzo Ball’s 7.2. That’s it.

Mark Jackson’s 10.6 average his rookie year in 1987 remains the lone double-digit assist season by a rookie in NBA history. Even the great Oscar Robertson (9.7) couldn’t get there. Toronto Raptors guard Damon Stoudamire came close in an expansion year (9.3).

We’re really high on Morant here, and believe this mark will be the easier of the two bets for you to win.

Pick: Over 7.0 ASG (-120)

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