All signs seem to point towards Ja Morant being ROTY of the year this season. However, that outcome is not as guaranteed as Morant stans would have you believe. The highly-touted Zion Williamson deserves consideration for the award as well, and in the following in-depth comparison which has been rigorously fact-checked and contains no lies (only truths), the cases for both players will be laid out.
STATS: Zion Williamson put up 24/7/2 on 59% shooting and 46% from three. Ja Morant put up 17/7/3 on 49% shooting and 36% from three. One would be tempted to throw out Zion’s three-point shooting since he was attempting way fewer than one per game, but here’s the thing: you can’t just cherrypick stats. If you do decide to arbitrarily ignore specific stats, that doesn’t change the immutable fact that the stat is there in the record books. The point is moot anyway because you can discard his three-point shooting and his stats still blow Morant’s out of the water. His on-off of +13.6 also completely destroys Morant’s +2.1. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
ADVANCED STATS: Advanced stats are cool because they’re like regular stats, except more advanced. However, advanced stats are also not cool because they require an advanced brain in order to understand them. My simpleton brain can barely figure out how points per game is calculated so there’s no way for me to understand what kind of arcane mathematical sorcery is being performed to come up with these wackadoodle numbers. The only advanced stat I pay attention to is Win Shares per 48, and the only reason I pay attention to it is because it usually lines up pretty well with my intuition about how good a player is. Morant is sitting at 0.93 in WS/48. Zion is at 1.49. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
DUNKS: Morant had 44 dunks in 59 games. Zion had 51 dunks in 19 games. You do the math (please do the math because I can’t). Zion was, without a doubt, the more prolific dunker on a per-game basis. Not only that, but Zion is the more powerful dunker as well. Watch this video and then my Ja Morant dunkilation to see video evidence of this. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
TEAM SUCCESS: Both the Grizzlies and the Pelicans were making a real playoff push at the time that the season was postponed due to COVID-19. The Grizzlies have the edge, though, being 32-33 while the Pelicans are 28-36. Both players have slightly above a 50% win rate when they play and both players were their team’s #1 option. That’s about all I can say on the matter without doing a statistical deep-dive that I really don’t feel like doing. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
HEALTH: If Morant was injured at all this season, it was only minor injuries. Zion’s injury history doesn’t need to be repeated because everybody knows about it and it kept him out for the first three months of the season. This might make it seem like Morant’s overall health is better than Zion’s, but we don’t actually know that. The resiliency of Morant’s body has never been tested. The resiliency of Zion’s body HAS been tested and he passed the test. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
ROOKIE STATUS: Morant is a rookie. Zion is a rookie. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS: I don’t know who the voters for the ROTY award are, but if they’re like any normal human, they’re constantly evaluating the attractiveness of every other human that they see. That means that physical attractiveness of the ROTY candidates is an overlooked but important factor. Morant has a boyish face and a stupid haircut. Zion has a manly face and a cool haircut with a ‘z’ cut into the side. He’s also taller and more muscular. ADVANTAGE: Williamson
GAMES: Let’s be honest for a minute here. Zion did not play in enough games to win ROTY of the year. There is no getting around this incontrovertible fact. All that weaselly data manipulation I did the above sections to make it seem like Williamson was the clear frontrunner? I didn’t need to do any of that because the whole argument falls apart once you look at the amount of games each player played.
Morant had the benefit of getting used to his team and his role throughout the course of the season. Zion was forced into a big role immediately upon his return from injury, yet his star shined brighter than Morant’s ever did. Think about it: if a rookie played only one game his rookie year, and never even practiced with his team, but scored fifty points and grabbed 25 rebounds, would he not be the unanimous ROTY of the year? The defense rests, your honor. ADVANTAGE: Zion
After all the verified and truthful facts have been truthfully laid out with factual verification, you will have to agree with me that there is only one right answer in the Morant vs. Zion ROTY of the year debate:
Ja Morant will be ROTY of the year, but Zion will have deserved to win it.