Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is having a career season thus far. In fact, he was just announced as a starter in the Western Conference All-Star game coming up in February. However, are the prime Derrick Rose comparisons legitimate as of yet?
As the season continues, the debates and comparisons grow. The athleticism and physical capabilities between them both are dangerously close to one another. Their numbers for the season seem to be similar at the age of 22. When Rose was 22, he became the youngest MVP winner in league history. Morant won’t likely reach that level of success this season. However, he’s secured his first All-Star game.
Los Angeles Clippers Paul George compared the experience of guarding Mroant to playing against a young Rose. According to sources, he notes that the quickness of Morant from very similar, ability to change direction, and being able to contour their bodies mid-air.
Morant commented on the comparisons:
“I definitely see the comparisons, but D-Rose is one of a kind and one special player and you can see the similarities, sure, but there can never be another Derrick Rose,” Morant told Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. “I’m just trying to be my own player and do what I do on the floor and help my teams win basketball games and continue to get better.”
Morant impacts the Memphis Grizzlies as Rose impacted the Chicago Bulls
The similarities in athleticism between pre-injury Rose and Morant are evident. Not many point guards in the league have the capabilities to finish fast-break lobs off one hand like these two. Rose took a huge leap, boosting the Bulls’ win total from 41 to 62 games. Morant’s team went from 38 to 43 games within a shortened season due to COVID-19.
Ja Morant puts on the burners and takes flight in Brooklyn for the AT&T Fast Break of the week! pic.twitter.com/ei4yE7yc3F
— NBA (@NBA) January 12, 2022
Morant also uses the capabilities to affect his play on the defensive side of the ball. He had a huge block against the Los Angeles Lakers in early January. Prime Rose made similar plays in his heyday. While both have shown flashes to take people’s breath away, both also put up productive seasons. Although, the similarities are there, the journeys are very different in how they each reached stardom.
— Nba_Pete6 (@pedroledesma23) January 10, 2022
Difference in era’s
Rose’s floor game during the 2010-11 MVP season was a reflection of the era. Majority of teams back then played two big men rather then one or even at times zero in today’s game. Coaches didn’t realize the importance of spacing; therefore, the paint seemed packed more often. For example, the Bull’s top six guys around Rose averaged five three-point attempts combined per game. While Morant’s Grizzlies team top six average 24 three-point attempts combined per game.
Rose seemed to lack a lot more in between games, due to the lack of spacing. His mid-range jumpshooting was sub par at best; however, at the time was exceptional. Rose also wasn’t as comfortable shooting at the three point line as Morant is. Only 2% of Morant’s shots have been long mid-range jumpers. Whereas, Rose was shooting the ball pretty evenly from all over the court, per Statmuse.