Ja Morant made a leap this season, and the league took notice.
The Memphis Grizzlies star was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2021-22, earning 38 first-place votes, nine second-place votes and four third-place votes.
San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray came in second place and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland came in third. Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole placed the highest among non-finalists, finishing fourth.
Here’s a look at the full results:
The Most Improved Player honor comes two years after Morant took home the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year Award. He took a step in his sophomore season as he helped the Grizzlies earn a play-in spot and ultimately land the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
For his third season, Morant took his game – and the Grizzlies – to new heights.
Morant earned his first All-Star selection and was named a starter for that game. He finished the year averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds across 57 games and will be named to an All-NBA team. Memphis benefitted from that rise in play, tying a franchise record with 56 wins and earning the No. 2 seed in the West.
Morant became the first player in franchise history to win the award, but he wasn’t the only Grizzlie to draw Most Improved Player votes. Desmond Bane finished fifth in the race and even received seven first-place votes, while Jaren Jackson Jr. also received a second-place vote.
In Morant’s eyes, both of those players, along with Memphis’ coach, deserved recognition:
Morant and Co. have business to take care of in the playoffs. The Grizzlies are tied 2-2 in their first-round series with the Minnesota Timberwolves with Game 5 set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday in Memphis.