Ja Morant happy to play in Memphis despite chance to land in New York, Los Angeles

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

The Memphis Grizzlies are expected to select Murray State guard Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft next month, and have even reportedly started telling others across the league of their plan to do so.

Should something change, however, Morant could fall to the No. 3 or No. 4 pick in the draft, which would send him to either the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers — both significantly bigger markets than Memphis.

While the two largest cities in the country are usually more appealing to players in the league — especially younger players — Morant insisted he doesn’t have a preference as to where he ends up.

“I really would be happy with any team that drafts me," Morant said at the combine, via the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "That means they see something in me. It’s just an honor to be able to play this game at the highest level and just to be in the position that I’m in.”

To Morant’s credit, anywhere he plays is going to be a bigger market than he’s used to. The 19-year-old was born in Dalzell, South Carolina, which has a population of less than 2,500 people. Murray, Kentucky, has a population of less than 20,000 people — with Murray State University’s enrollment sitting around 11,000 students.

But what does Morant know about Memphis, the city he’ll likely call home that sits just three hours away from where he played in college?

“I just know Memphis Grizzlies basketball and that’s it," Morant said, via the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "If you ask me about Chicago, I know Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. It’s just that I’ve never been to places like that and I’m a big basketball guy, so I would probably know basketball.”

Either way, Morant seems to be a favorite to be selected shortly after Zion Williamson in the draft next month. After his season last year, where he averaged 24.5 points, 10 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game while leading the Racers to the second round of the NCAA tournament, it’s easy to see why.

"It’s most people’s dream," Morant said, via the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "Most people want to be in the position that I’m in right now. For me to be here is just an honor.”

Ja Morant is expected to land with the Memphis Grizzlies in the draft next month, and said he has no issue playing in one of the smaller markets in the league. (AP/Jessica Hill)

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