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Ja Morant wins NBA's Most Improved Player Award

The Grizzlies' electrifying superstar turned heads during the 2021-2022 NBA season.

NEW YORK — Memphis Grizzlies superstar point guard Ja Morant added even more accolades to his already impressive 2021-2022 NBA season Monday, as the league announced him the winner of the Most Improved Player Award. 

A three-year NBA veteran, Morant becomes the first player to win the NBA Most Improved Player Award with Memphis. 

The annual award, which was first presented in the 1985-86 season, is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.

Morant received 221 points (38 first-place votes) from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray finished in second place with 183 points (20 first-place votes). Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland finished in third place with 178 points (11 first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

RELATED: Ja Morant, Taylor Jenkins are the Grizzlies named NBA awards finalists

A first-time NBA All-Star selection this season, Morant averaged a career-high 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 33.1 minutes in 57 games. He also shot a career-best 49.3 percent from the field. 

Morant, 22, is the third player in NBA history to reach his 2021-22 numbers in points, assists, rebounds and field goal percentage within his first three seasons, joining NBA 75th Anniversary Team members Oscar Robertson and Dwyane Wade.

Behind Morant, the Grizzlies (56-26) finished with the second-best record in the NBA, matched the franchise’s single-season record for victories and secured their highest playoff seed ever (No. 2 in the Western Conference). 

RELATED: Ja drops 21 in return from injury; Grizzlies tie franchise record with 56th win in 141-114 rout of Pelicans

Morant was one of three Memphis players to earn votes for the Most Improved Player Award, along with Desmond Bane, who finished in fifth place, and Jaren Jackson Jr., who received one second-place vote.

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