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Memphis’ Ja Morant Wins 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award

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NEW YORK, United States of America — The Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA (  announced today.  The 6-3 guard is the second player to win the Rookie of the Year Award with the Grizzlies, joining Pau Gasol (2001-02).

Morant received 99 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earned 498 total points.  Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn finished in second place with 204 points.  New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson received one first-place vote and finished in third place with 140 points.

Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.  The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played through March 11.  The seeding games, which were played July 30 – Aug. 14 as part of the season restart, did not count toward voting for the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award or the league’s other traditional end-of-season awards.

From the beginning of the season through March 11, Morant led all qualified NBA rookies in scoring (17.6 ppg) and assists (6.9 apg) and shot 49.1 percent from the field in 59 games.  During that period, Morant was one of three NBA players to average at least 17.0 points and 6.0 assists and shoot 49.0 percent or better from the field, joining 2020 NBA All-Stars LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets.

In games played through March 11, Morant recorded a rookie-high 11 double-doubles and produced the only triple-double by a rookie when he finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against the Washington Wizards on Feb. 9.  He had at least 20 points and 10 assists in seven games, including a 27-point, 14-assist performance against the Lakers on Feb. 29. 

Morant excelled late in games, ranking sixth in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring average (7.3 ppg) in games played through March 11.  Of the top six players in that category, Morant had the highest fourth-quarter field goal percentage (55.9).        

Honored as the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month in October/November, December and January, Morant joined Gasol as the only rookies in Grizzlies history to earn monthly accolades three or more times.  Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in NBA Draft 2019 presented by State Farm, also broke the franchise rookie record for total assists in a season, reaching the milestone in his 48th game.

With Morant leading the team in points and assists, the Grizzlies posted a 32-33 record in games played through March 11 and began the season restart in eighth place in the Western Conference.  In last season’s 82-game schedule, Memphis went 33-49 and finished tied for 12th place in the conference.

Morant, who turned 21 in August, receives the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year.  Gottlieb, one of the NBA’s founders and a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, coached the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1946-47 championship in the league’s first season.

The voting results for the 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award are below.  The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP.  Complete ballots for each voter will be posted at after the announcement of all end-of-season awards. 

Player (Team)1st Place Votes (5 Points)2nd Place Votes (3 Points)3rd Place Votes (1 Point)Total Points
Ja Morant (Memphis)9910498
Kendrick Nunn (Miami)05636204
Zion Williamson (New Orleans)13724140
Brandon Clarke (Memphis)063250
Coby White (Chicago)0033
Eric Paschall (Golden State)0022
Terence Davis II (Toronto)0022
RJ Barrett (New York)0011

Below is the all-time list of recipients of the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

 1952-53 – Don Meineke, Fort Wayne
1953-54 – Ray Felix, Baltimore
1954-55 – Bob Pettit, Milwaukee
1955-56 – Maurice Stokes, Rochester
1956-57 – Tom Heinsohn, Boston
1957-58 – Woody Sauldsberry, Philadelphia
1958-59 – Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis
1959-60 – Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1960-61 – Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
1961-62 – Walt Bellamy, Chicago
1962-63 – Terry Dischinger, Chicago
1963-64 – Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati
1964-65 – Willis Reed, New York
1965-66 – Rick Barry, San Francisco
1966-67 – Dave Bing, Detroit
1967-68 – Earl Monroe, Baltimore
1968-69 – Wes Unseld, Baltimore
1969-70 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee1970-71 – Dave Cowens, Boston (tie)
                 Geoff Petrie, Portland (tie)
1971-72 – Sidney Wicks, Portland
1972-73 – Bob McAdoo, Buffalo
1973-74 – Ernie DiGregorio, Buffalo1974-75 – Jamaal Wilkes, Golden State1975-76 – Alvan Adams, Phoenix1976-77 – Adrian Dantley, Buffalo

1977-78 – Walter Davis, Phoenix
1978-79 – Phil Ford, Kansas City1979-80 – Larry Bird, Boston
1980-81 – Darrell Griffith, Utah1981-82 – Buck Williams, New Jersey
1982-83 – Terry Cummings, San Diego1983-84 – Ralph Sampson, Houston1984-85 – Michael Jordan, Chicago
1985-86 – Patrick Ewing, New York
1986-87 – Chuck Person, Indiana
1987-88 – Mark Jackson, New York
1988-89 – Mitch Richmond, Golden State
1989-90 – David Robinson, San Antonio
1990-91 – Derrick Coleman, New Jersey
1991-92 – Larry Johnson, Charlotte
1992-93 – Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando
1993-94 – Chris Webber, Golden State
1994-95 – Grant Hill, Detroit (tie)          Jason Kidd, Dallas (tie)1995-96 – Damon Stoudamire, Toronto
1996-97 – Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
1997-98 – Tim Duncan, San Antonio1998-99 – Vince Carter, Toronto1999-00 – Elton Brand, Chicago (tie)                 Steve Francis, Houston (tie)     2000-01 – Mike Miller, Orlando
 2001-02 – Pau Gasol, Memphis
2002-03 – Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix2003-04 – LeBron James, Cleveland2004-05 – Emeka Okafor, Charlotte2005-06 – Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City2006-07 – Brandon Roy, Portland2007-08 – Kevin Durant, Seattle2008-09 – Derrick Rose, Chicago2009-10 – Tyreke Evans, Sacramento2010-11 – Blake Griffin, LA Clippers2011-12 – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland2012-13 – Damian Lillard, Portland
2013-14 – Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia2014-15 – Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota
2015-16 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota2016-17 – Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee2017-18 – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia2018-19 – Luka Dončić, Dallas2019-20 – Ja Morant, Memphis

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