Ja Morant vs. Derrick Rose And Russell Westbrook Comparison: Grizzlies Star Is Just Getting Started

Ernesto Cova

Every now and then, a young player comes out of the blue to take the NBA by storm and turn a small-market team into must-watch TV.

That's the case with Memphis Grizzlies youngster Ja Morant, one of the most entertaining players to watch in the league, a young leader, and perhaps the most athletic and explosive point guard we've seen in quite some time.

Morant has the rebuilding Grizzlies ahead of schedule already and looks poised to lead them to a deep playoff run.

Ja Morant: The New NBA Sensation

Morant is just electric. He's a never-ending burst of energy and a guy that won't hesitate to throw the hammer down even over the league's finest rim protectors.

Through his first three years in the league, he's averaged 19.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.0 steals. and 1.2 three-pointers per game on 47% from the floor, winning Rookie of the Year honors.

His explosive and aggressive style, speed, and athleticism have made fans compare him to Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose, two high-flying point guards who could finish over anyone in their primes. But how does he stack up against them? Let's break it down.

Better Than Russell Westbrook?

Russell Westbrook was a bit of a late bloomer. Albeit a member of the All-Rookie Team, he didn't earn ROY honors as Morant did.

Westbrook was - and is - as explosive as Morant during his first three years in the league. His assist averages were higher (5.3, 8.2, 8.0 to Morant's 7.3, 7.4, 6.7) but his scoring totals were lower (15.3, 16.1. 21.9 to 17.8, 19.1, 24.9).

Also, Westbrook was a better defender and a bigger threat in passing lanes, averaging nearly 1.6 steals per game during his first three years in the league.

Derrick Rose 2.0?

Derrick Rose was the chosen one. He was deemed to take down LeBron James as the best player in the Eastern Conference before going down with injuries, becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history.

Notably, Rose's averages in his first three seasons were pretty similar to Morant's.

Rose averaged 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game in his rookie season, then 20.8, 3.8, and 6.0. In his third year, Rose averaged 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 7.0 assists.

Morant, on the other hand, has averaged 17.8/3.9/7.3; then 19.1/4.0/7.4; and now 24.9/5.7/6.3.

Even so, fans are worried about Morant's health and fear he could suffer the same fate as Rose, as he doesn't take care of his landings and looks like an injury waiting to happen every time he dunks the ball.

A Superstar In The Making

It's clear that Ja Morant is one of the new faces of the league, and the scariest part is that he just keeps getting better:

"He’s just controlling the games," Kein Durant said of him. "Always been an efficient player who can run the point guard spot, but he’s developed into a major scorer as well. He just plays with great pace out there, plays with joy and enthusiasm, and you see him blossoming in front of our eyes. I mean since college he's been on this trajectory, and as a basketball fan you can't wait to see what it's like years going forward."

The comparisons with former guards are and will always be there, but he's coming into a player of his own and he's just getting started.