Breathe in, breathe out. (Editor's note: There's a halfway decent Bush pun in there, but I'll spare you because there's actually no such thing as a halfway decent Bush pun.)
The panic in Memphis, for now at least, appears to have passed. A GM search is under way, Dave Joerger will almost certainly be the head coach in to the future for the Memphis Grizzlies and all indications are Zach Randolph will more than likely remain in Memphis. After so much uncertainty, it looks as if stability could, perhaps, return to Beale Street soon enough.
And not a moment too soon! With the 2014 NBA Draft officially less than a month away, this new version of the Robert Pera regime will have their hands full with pre-draft workouts and strategizing about what direction they hope to take with the 22nd overall pick. With all the uncertainty of the past several days and the fact that this Grizzlies roster has one glaring need that likely cannot be filled at pick 22, it probably should not come as any surprise that multiple national media members have the Grizzlies taking different players at 22.
In previous mock draft round-ups the Grizzlies have been projected to take K.J. McDaniels, P.J. Hairston and Glenn Robinson III. This time around, three different prospects arrive in the Bluff City according to three different national NBA/Basketball writers.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com- Jerami Grant, Small Forward, Syracuse
If the Grizzlies want to add elite athleticism to the roster, this would do the trick.
Phenomenal feats of explosive ability. Grant has tremendous length and verticality as a small forward who could also play the 4. His 7'2 3/4" wingspan is Pippen/Prince-esque, and after watching some tape of the young man he has the potential to defend multiple positions. He is athletic enough to stay with shooting guards and other wings, while long and strong enough to defend power forwards. In transition, he is a nightmare for the opposition as he can run very well and attacks the rim with fantastic energy.
Unfortunately, while Jerami has great physical tools, he is also very raw. His free throw percentage this past season was very poor, especially for a projected NBA wing, at 56%. His perimeter game leaves a lot to be desired, as he attempted 0 3 point shots for Syracuse last season. Outside the paint his offense is very hit or miss, as his mechanics on his jumper leave something to be desired. He played in Jim Boeheim's vaunted 2-3 defense at Syracuse which could possibly affect his learning curve as he adapts to the NBA and relies heavily on teammates to create for him; he cannot create offensively for himself or others yet.
The word that has haunted Grizzlies fans in the form of Rudy Gay and Ed Davis is attached to Jerami Grant, potential. If given time to grow Grant can create havoc as a defender and finisher for Memphis at either the 3 or 4 positions. The areas where the Grizzlies need the most help currently, as a shooter and playmaker, are the areas where he needs the most work currently.
In most situations, Grant's an ideal 22nd overall pick. If Memphis wants a proven player immediately, however, Grant will likely be unable to deliver.
Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com- Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
The national sports writer with arguably the strongest Memphis ties makes a somewhat surprising selection for the Grizzlies in his mock. Shabazz Napier, the explosive Point Guard who helped lead UCONN to a national title this past season, will undoubtedly get a shot on an NBA team. The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and All-American is a tremendous scorer, and as this highlight reel shows he has a flare for the dramatic.
Napier also is a great thief, averaging 2.1 steals per game and is an underrated on-ball defender. He shot 41% from 3 point land this past season so he would provide scoring from range. He will be 23 this coming season; he is seasoned and his unwavering belief in himself and swagger would undoubtedly be very popular in Memphis.
However, how will Napier fit in the NBA game? He is not the greatest athlete, and his lack of length may hurt him in various defensive situations. He may be prone to injury given his smaller frame of about 6'1" and weight of about 185 pounds. His confidence in himself is almost too strong at times, and he may take some ill-advised shots. Napier's fit on the Grizzlies is also questionable; Mike Conley is the starter, and even if Beno Udrih does not return to Memphis Nick Calathes will more than likely be back with the Grizzlies when his suspension ends early next season.
Is Napier going to fit as a 3rd point guard? Could he and Calathes play together at the same time? Is it possible Nick AND Beno are gone, opening up a spot for an explosive scorer like Napier off the Memphis bench? All valid questions if looking at Shabazz for the Grizzlies. His offensive production would certainly be welcome. It is a question of filling need and fit.
Zach Harper, CBSSports.com, Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
A possible need off the bench for Memphis if a certain Boss does not return would be a 4th big, someone with a bit more length and athleticism than Jon Leuer. Enter Clint Capela, a player who, after watching tape, may remind you of Ed Davis.
In fact, Capela's strengths are very similar to Ed's: tremendous athleticism, versatility as a defender at the rim, a potentially fantastic finisher at the rim who can run the floor as a big very well. Both Davis and Capela are also solid rebounders who use their hops and length well on the glass to their advantage.
In the research done on Capela, however, a common trend emerged, one that was many of Grizzlies' fans complaints about Ed "Boss" Davis- Capela is perceived to be "lazy" with a low basketball I.Q., especially defensively. His offensive game is unrefined, especially with his back to the basket and from outside the paint, and he lacks technique across the board in terms of playing the game. Clint also is THIN, like Ed; 6'11", 215 pounds is a frame that can certainly fill in, but how willing will Capela be to do the work needed to get there?
Considering Ed Davis may well be gone in Restricted Free Agency this Summer, drafting Capela would more than likely seal that decision. Capela is a project, a player who needs to add bulk and refinement to his body and game, respectfully. However, Capela would certainly make less money than Davis would these next few years and would not be subject to the pressure of Ed Davis and the "The Power Forward of the Future" label attached to him. He would have time to develop and grow, not needing to be force fed minutes early on and could fill a need as a hyper-athletic big in the future.
This NBA Draft will be fascinating for the Grizzlies. Do they draft for the future and potential? There will be prospects like Grant and Capela who most certainly could fill that role. Or, does Memphis go the opposite direction and look for more immediate help while drafting for need? Napier would give scoring and playmaking as soon as next season, and moving that pick and getting a more proven wing is a possibility as was outlined in this ArmChair GM piece.
The direction of the franchise, while a bit more stable now that the Front Office and Coaching situations have been settled for now, will come more in to view through the NBA Draft. So many choices, so much possibility, it's enough to make you dizzy.
Breathe in, breathe out.