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Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant & Brandon Clarke named to 2019-20 NBA All-Rookie First Team

This marks the first time in franchise history that the Grizzlies have been represented on the All-Rookie First Team in consecutive seasons.
Credit: AP
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, left, and forward Brandon Clarke stand on the court during player introductions before an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and forward Brandon Clarke have been selected to the 2019-20 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced Tuesday. 

This marks the first time in franchise history that the Grizzlies have been represented on the All-Rookie First Team in consecutive seasons (Jaren Jackson Jr. in 2018-19) and the second time that Grizzlies teammates earned All-Rookie First Team honors in the same season (Pau Gasol and Shane Battier in 2001-02). In addition, the Grizzlies are just the third team since the 2007-08 season to have multiple players voted to an All-Rookie First Team (Philadelphia in 2016-17, Seattle in 2007-08).

Morant, who was named the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year on Sept. 3, was the lone unanimous selection to the All-Rookie First Team. The 21-year-old led all qualified rookies in scoring average (17.8 points), assists (7.3, 10th in the NBA) and double-doubles (15) while recording the only two triple-doubles by a rookie this season. He set rookie franchise records for assists per game, total assists (488) and assists in a single game (14, twice).

Selected by Memphis with the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Morant joined Oscar Robertson (1960-61), Magic Johnson (1979-80), Isiah Thomas (1981-82), Damon Stoudamire (1995-96), Allen Iverson (1996-97) and Trae Young (2018-19) as one of seven rookies in NBA history to average at least 17.0 points per game and 7.0 assists per game.

Clarke, who finished fourth in the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year voting, set the NBA rookie record (among league qualifiers) for field goal percentage (.618, 4th in the NBA) and ranked first among qualified rookies in rebounds (5.9), second in blocks (0.83) and 10th in scoring average (12.1 points). Among advanced statistics, the 23-year-old led rookies in win shares (5.0) and established new league rookie records for effective field goal percentage (.642) and true shooting percentage (.663).

Selected by Oklahoma City with the 21st overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft before his rights were later traded to Memphis, Clarke was one of three NBA players with more reserve appearances than starts to average at least 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds off the bench (Montrezl Harrell, Serge Ibaka). He also contributed to Memphis leading the NBA in bench field goal percentage (.479) this season.

Morant, a South Carolina native, and Clarke, born in Vancouver, British Columbia, were selected by NBA assistant coaches to participate for the U.S. Team and the World Team, respectively, in the NBA Rising Stars as part of NBA All-Star Weekend 2020 on Feb. 14 at the United Center in Chicago.

The other three members of the 2019-20 NBA All-Rookie First Team are Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Golden State Warriors forward Eric Paschall.

The 2019-20 NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro, Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis II, Chicago Bulls guard Coby White, Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington and Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura.


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