The former No. 2 overall pick, in an ultimate gesture of respect, revealed on Instagram that he left his award in the possession of breakout second-year guard Desmond Bane.  

The sharpshooter was Memphis’ third-leading scorer during the regular season, and currently leads the team in scoring in the playoffs (23.3 PPG).

As is often the case during award season, not every player with a compelling case earned a coveted spot on the ballot.  

With that said, Morant is likely not the only one who feels Bane, the 30th pick in 2020, belonged in the conversation for MIP. 

The 6’6’’ guard has been sensational in his second season, and was an instrumental piece on both ends of the floor throughout the Grizzlies’ 56–26 campaign.  

After starting in 17 of his 68 appearances as a rookie, Bane played and started in 76 games, and averaged 18.2 points—a nine-point increase from last season—on 46/44/90 splits. 

He also grabbed 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per night while seeing increased playing time. 

In addition to leading the team in scoring, Bane has been a spark plug on the defensive end with his hustle and tenacity. The series is tied, 2–2, entering Tuesday’s Game 5.