Ja Morant has played only 186 NBA games and hasn't yet celebrated his 23rd birthday. No matter how impressive the Memphis Grizzlies' dynamic guard has been, it's still a relatively small sample size from which to judge. The conservative among us may want to see more before making long-range plans to visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for Morant's induction ceremony.
Not Kevin Durant, though. He's ready to make the call already.
"When you got a future Hall of Famer at the head of the snake, it just makes everybody better," the Brooklyn Nets sniper said after securing a much-needed win over Morant and the visiting Grizz last night.
"He's a combination of players, I feel," Durant said. "I think the greatest players in our game can transform into anybody at any given point. And I think Ja's on the way to that. When he's playing, I see like two or three, four different Hall of Famers in his game. From [Allen] Iverson, to he might make a [Michael] Jordan-like layup, or he might run down the court like a [Russell] Westbrook or a [Derrick Rose].
In the words of Andy Samberg doing an impression of Nic Cage on Saturday Night Live, that's high praise. In the words of a savvy sports and pop culture podcaster, are we sure it's not too high? For as exciting as Morant has been thus far, one has a hard time remembering someone being compared to four different all-time greats at once.
And yet Durant knows ball. Certainly better than the unwashed masses who dare tell him his business during a game. He isn't the type to be hyperbolic or knee-jerk so his confident proclamation comes with great authority.
It's too early in the morning to conduct a thorough straw poll — plus most of the diner crowd is speaking with other outlets right now — but I'd venture to guess the public agrees with Durant and doesn't think it's jumping the gun to start planning for Ja's enshrinement. Which speaks to the jump in the third-year player's production this season. He's coming off a good but not Earth-shattering sophomore campaign in which his eFG percentage was under 50 percent and he shot 30.3 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 19.1 points per contest. Not exactly Hall of Fame stuff.
But in 56 games Morant has shifted the conversation dramatically through sheer force of will. Future Hall of Famer Ja Morant doesn't get stuck on the tongue. And you're hearing it more and more.