The NBA is officially back in two days when the seeding games kick off with the New Orleans Pelicans and Zion Williamson facing off against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. Unofficially, games have been played over the last week in the form of scrimmages, designed for everyone to slowly ramp back up to game shape.
There are only a few players in the NBA where you might miss something spectacular if you look away for only a moment. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, those types. It takes a special skillset to turn a mundane half-court set into a highlight for the ages. Morant has that. The "it" factor, if you will. Look away from the TV to check your phone or grab a drink and you very well might miss something like this:
Perhaps this, too:
Three plays from the first half of a scrimmage and this is what he's doing. It's awesome. Kendrick Perkins said a few weeks ago that he has Russell Westbrook athleticism to go with Rajon Rondo passing and Kyrie Irving handles. Exaggerations like that are a part of the TV game, but he isn't really that far off, either. The rook is that good.
Hopefully they hang on to the eight seed. Even if they get stomped by the Lakers, you can bet we'll see a half-dozen highlights per game from the likely Rookie of the Year. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: I like watching Ja Morant play basketball.