1. Ja Morant’s rim protection was a thing before The Block
We witnessed man take flight in Los Angeles on Sunday, when Morant – the snarling, trash-talking, audacious soul of the league’s hottest team – rose from the dotted line to impale Avery Bradley’s shot into the backboard.
One reason Morant is the real deal as a franchise player is that he never carries himself as if the franchise belongs to him. One of Morant’s clutch buckets against Golden State came on a catch-and-go drive out of a Tyus Jones pick-and-roll; Jones was cooking, and Morant was happy to cede some late-game offense to him. Morant could outrun everyone if he wanted, but he senses when slowing down might open a pocket of space for a teammate.