Ja Morant wins NBA Most Improved Player award

Ja Morant, who earned 38 first-place votes and finished with 221 points from a voting panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, is the first player in the franchise history of Memphis Grizzlies to win the award.

FILE PHOTO: Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant.   -  AFP

Memphis Grizzlies standout Ja Morant won the NBA Most Improved Player award on Monday.

Morant, 22, is the first player in Grizzlies franchise history to win the award. The NBA created it in 1985-86 to recognize the player who made the most drastic improvement from the previous season or seasons.

The third-year Morant earned 38 first-place votes and finished with 221 points from a voting panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

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San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray finished in second place with 20 first-place votes and 183 points, and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland grabbed third place with 11 first-place votes and 178 points.

Morant averaged career highs in points and rebounds while earning his first NBA All-Star selection this season. He finished with 27.4 points per game, which was an increase of 8.3 points from last season. He added 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field.

The Grizzlies won 56 games during the regular season, matching a franchise record. They earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks won the award in 2020-21. Previous winners include Brandon Ingram (2019-20), Pascal Siakam (2018-19), Victor Oladipo (2017-18) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (2016-17).

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