Ja Morant had 47 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a huge win for the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. As Memphis evened the series with the Golden State Warriors we saw the future of the NBA. We saw everything Ja is capable of and quite frankly, some of it should not be allowed on a basketball court.
First, let's look at the floater over Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson that gave the Grizzlies a three-point lead late in the fourth. Just a tough, clutch and beautiful shot. Everything you could ever want.
Now, maybe he carried the ball on this move, but who cares? This is the kind of ballhandling you get away with in the NBA in 2022. Especially if your feet move so fast at full speed that you can't really tell. Even if you can, who cares?
He's like a smaller Giannis. You know the way he can move from one end of the court to the other with nary a dribble? Humans were not meant to process someone moving like this with the naked eye.
Here's that play where he made Jordan Poole look like someone pulled out of the crowd to try to guard The Professor at an AND1 event. He's like a combination of Allen Iverson and Kyrie Irving. The ball on a string while it is simultaneously stuck to his hands. Start. Stop. This way. That.
Then there is the final Memphis possession of the game. The Grizzlies had the ball with 17.3 seconds remaining and the three-point lead Morant had given them on the previous possession. The Warriors needed to go for a quick steal and if they didn't get that they needed to immediately foul. We've seen this exact scenario a million times in every level of basketball. And Ja did something we've rarely, if ever, seen in an NBA game.
He juked Andrew Wiggins to get open and receive the inbounds pass in the backcourt. At that point he was seemingly trapped on the sideline where Wiggins could give his foul. Except Ja escaped. Look where Wiggins is as Morant is reaching back for the ball. It would be a full four seconds before Wiggins was able to foul him. Andrew Wiggins is incredibly athletic and has a 7-foot wingspan and Morant made him look like someone trying to tackle Barry Sanders.
You're not supposed to make someone like Andrew Wiggins look this silly when he's just trying to foul to stop the clock. He barely grazed his jersey as he ran back past him and headed for daylight. If they were playing flag football, Morant would have scored.
No normal human should be able to do any of these things on a basketball court. Then you throw in the fact that he dunks like Lob City-era Blake Griffin in MVP-era Derrick Rose's body and all you can do is hope is that a teammate is willing to sacrifice himself to the highlight gods in your place when Ja Morant puts his mind to something. It's just not fair. And that's what makes it so fun.