Memphis Grizzlies

Is Ja Morant over Aron Baynes the dunk of the year?

We knew Ja Morant was going to be an electric dunker but he’s apparently started work on a personal poster-dunk Mt. Rushmore.

Grizzlies‘ rookie Ja Morant is listed at just 6-foot-3 but his electric leaping ability and general fearlessness combine to make him one of the league’s most exciting finishers. He’s just 19 games into his NBA career but has already racked up 14 dunks, six of which came unassisted on drives to the basket.

That ability — to blow by the first line of defense and load up in time to turn the backline into a poster — is going to make for a lengthy career highlight reel and the video elves in the NBA’s in-house media department already have plenty to work with.

For example, Wednesday night’s epic yam on Aron Baynes.

Here’s another look from a slightly elevated angle.

This may be the dunk of the year. Kudos to Baynes for moving his feet on the perimeter and keeping his bulk, mostly, between Morant and the basket. Unfortunately, by the time he arrives in the paint he’s a half-step behind and can’t meet Morant at the apex of his jump (honestly, who could?).

Besides simply embarrassing a player much bigger and stronger, Morant adds insult to injury by moving the ball back to his right hand as he loads up and leaps. A left-handed dunk here would still have been impressive but it would have created more space between Baynes and the finish. Going righty is Morant’s comfort zone but it also ensures that he’s bringing the ball down directly on top of Baynes instead of slipping it around him.

It’s not Morant’s first poster attempt this season. But, as Jaren Jackson Jr. pointed out to The Commercial Appeal, it’s the first time he really dropped the hammer right on a defender’s head.

“He’s been out here trying to dunk on everybody in sight. Then it finally happened on a crazy level. Honestly, he’s had the dunk of the year and the missed dunks of the year in one season already.”

Next: Meet the 2019 NBA 25-under-25

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