NEW YORK – The NBA is passing out its league honors now that the 2019-20 season has officially concluded and the league goes through its postseason run to crown a champion. One of the league’s biggest phenomenons of the season happens to play ball in the same town where Elvis Pressley once set up shop at Graceland and where the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down by an assassin’s bullet (National Civil Rights Museum-At the Lorraine Motel).
The NBA announced that the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. 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 Joki? 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 pr.nba.com after the announcement of all end-of-season awards.
|VOTING RESULTS: 2019-20 KIA NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD|
|Player (Team)||1st Place Votes (5 Points)||2nd Place Votes (3 Points)||3rd Place Votes (1 Point)||Total Points|
|Ja Morant (Memphis)||99||1||0||498|
|Kendrick Nunn (Miami)||0||56||36||204|
|Zion Williamson (New Orleans)||1||37||24||140|
|Brandon Clarke (Memphis)||0||6||32||50|
|Coby White (Chicago)||0||0||3||3|
|Eric Paschall (Golden State)||0||0||2||2|
|Terence Davis II (Toronto)||0||0||2||2|
|RJ Barrett (New York)||0||0||1||1|
Below is the all-time list of recipients of the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
|KIA NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD RECIPIENTS|
1952-53 – Don Meineke, Fort Wayne
1970-71 – Dave Cowens, Boston (tie)
1974-75 – Jamaal Wilkes, Golden State
1975-76 – Alvan Adams, Phoenix
1976-77 – Adrian Dantley, Buffalo
|1977-78 – Walter Davis, Phoenix
1978-79 – Phil Ford, Kansas City
1979-80 – Larry Bird, Boston
1980-81 – Darrell Griffith, Utah
1981-82 – Buck Williams, New Jersey
1982-83 – Terry Cummings, San Diego
1983-84 – Ralph Sampson, Houston
1984-85 – 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 Antonio
1998-99 – Vince Carter, Toronto
1999-00 – Elton Brand, Chicago (tie)
Steve Francis, Houston (tie)
2000-01 – Mike Miller, Orlando
2001-02 – Pau Gasol, Memphis
2002-03 – Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix
2003-04 – LeBron James, Cleveland
2004-05 – Emeka Okafor, Charlotte
2005-06 – Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City
2006-07 – Brandon Roy, Portland
2007-08 – Kevin Durant, Seattle
2008-09 – Derrick Rose, Chicago
2009-10 – Tyreke Evans, Sacramento
2010-11 – Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
2011-12 – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
2012-13 – Damian Lillard, Portland
2013-14 – Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia
2014-15 – Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota
2015-16 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
2016-17 – Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee
2017-18 – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia
2018-19 – Luka Don?i?, Dallas
2019-20 – Ja Morant, Memphis
About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America continues to top quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands. Kia serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and SUVs proudly assembled in West Point, Georgia.*
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