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Emoni Bates admits he was interested in being drafted by Memphis Grizzlies because of Ja Morant

Emoni Bates acknowledges that Ja Morant made him interested in being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Draft.
Emoni Bates acknowledges that Ja Morant made him interested in being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Through Mike Battaglino

July 11, 2023 update
Eliot Bates
Emoni Bates claims that before to joining the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was interested in being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2023 NBA Draft because of his friendship with Ja Morant.

Bates dropped into the second round and was selected by the Cavaliers with the 49th overall choice last month. He has talked favorably of the chance since joining Cleveland, even suggesting that the Cavaliers had reignited his passion for the game.

Bates stated that he enjoys being able to focus solely on playing rather than worrying about drawing attention. The 19-year-old has been in the news since his high school years, initially for his impressive on-court abilities and, regrettably, for a problem off the court.

Bates, who appeared on the Sports Illustrated cover while still in high school, played his first season of college basketball at the University of Memphis where he made friends with Grizzlies player Ja Morant.

He occasionally checks in with me, Bates recently said. "Big brother, that. He always updates me. When I go to the hotel, I'm pretty confident he'll text me. I make an effort to speak with him frequently.

Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan University after a dismal season at Memphis was impacted by a back injury. Prior to joining the team, he was suspended due to felony firearms charges, which were subsequently dropped.

Before declaring for the draft, he was reinstated and scored 19.2 points per game as a sophomore. In a recent Summer League game against the Grizzlies, Bates scored 21 points, demonstrating the potential some people think he possesses. According to an NBA player, he was the best player taken in the 2023 draft.

Although Memphis had a chance to select Bates in the second round, they chose Gregory Jackson II at selection No. 45 overall—four picks ahead of Cleveland—instead.

Particularly in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding Morant, who will serve a ban for the first 25 games of this season after his second social media exhibition with a pistol, it's possible that the gun charge issue scared some teams away.

The Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be overjoyed to have Bates join the squad, and star player Donovan Mitchell had nothing but praise for the young talent.

Max Strus and Georges Niang, who were also acquired in the offseason, along with Bates, ought to blend well with the team's redesigned offense. Cleveland will have landed one of the draft's steals if he can match the on-court success and prestige of his All-Star friend Morant.


Daniel Jack

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