NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant knows a future Hall of Famer when he sees one — and he believes Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is next in line as one of the game’s greats.
“When you got a future Hall of Famer at the head of the snake, it just makes everybody better,” Durant said after Monday’s 114-106 win over the Utah Jazz.
Durant, whose comments came ahead of Brooklyn’s Wednesday game against the Grizzlies, says he sees some of the game’s all-time greats as he watches the 22-year-old Morant play night after night.
“He’s a combination of players, I feel,” Durant said. “I think the greatest players in our game can transform into anybody at any given point. And I think Ja’s on the way to that. When he’s playing, I see like two or three, four different Hall of Famers in his game. From [Allen] Iverson, to he might make a [Michael] Jordan-like layup, or he might run down the court like a [Russell] Westbrook or a [Derrick Rose].
“And his float game is up there with some of the best that’s ever played. I don’t want to gas him up too much since we’re playing against him, but I think the sky’s the limit for him. His future is obviously bright. He makes everybody better … even opponents, so it’s about the level you approach that game with and I’m looking forward to it.”
“When you got a future Hall of Famer at the head of the snake, it just makes everybody better,” the Nets’ Kevin Durant, right, said about the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant, left. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBA/Getty Images
Durant continues to reach his own rarefied air on a nightly basis. With 37 points in Monday’s win, he passed Hall of Famer Jerry West on the NBA’s all-time leading scorer’s list and now sits in 22nd place. After spending time with West while with the Golden State Warriors a few years ago, Durant called it an “honor” to be in the same company as the former great.
But in the short-term, Durant is not surprised Morant has led the Grizzlies to so much success this season. He likes the team the Grizzlies have built around Morant and is looking forward to facing the young and hungry group.
“When you look at the collection of guys they have — all hard-nosed guys with chips on their shoulder,” Durant said. “And they’re well-coached … so you got the addition of Steven Adams, you got Kyle Anderson, you got Tyus Jones, solid veteran players that can help some of the younger guys in the league. So I think they got a good mixture of players on their team.”