Memphis Grizzlies rookie point guard Ja Morant is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year and is showing his appreciation for fellow point guard, Houston Rockets’ point guard Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Tim McMahon.
Morant believes that fans should appreciate Westbrook’s athleticism and aggressiveness.
“I still feel like he’s highly disrespected,” Morant said prior to playing Westbrook for the first time. “People take his play for granted. I mean, he averaged a triple-double for the last three or four years, and I’m pretty sure they see what he’s doing this year, but it’s still the same thing. I just love that he still just goes out and plays and handles his business and doesn’t worry about it.”
Westbrook appreciated Morant, but reiterated that he really doesn’t focus on what others think of his game.
“I don’t really care what nobody else thinks about my game,” Westbrook said. “I appreciate guys like [Morant] and other guys, but as long as I’m OK and satisfied with what I bring to the table, I’m going to keep busting everybody’s ass.”
“The excitement that he brings to the game, I just don’t know another player in the league who brings that kind of intensity and is actually skilled,” said Rockets’ guard James Harden.
“It makes it even harder to guard him because this small-ball lineup that we have on the floor now is just all shooters, so you have no help,” said Rockets guard Austin Rivers, who scored 23 points off the bench. “It’s just one-on-one, and you can’t guard him one-on-one. He’s too explosive. He’s too strong. They try putting bigs on him because of that, and he just has the quickness advantage. There’s just really nothing you can do.”