When you have the worst bench in the NBA and the bench with the lowest total minutes played, it's not really time to get picky with your positions.
Obviously the position of need is point guard, since the depth chart reads just Mike Conley right now, but would anyone be upset with an upgrade over Sam Young as 6th man? And certainly Darrell Arthur has done very little to earn playing time in his third season too.
The Grizzlies need whatever talent they can find in this draft, because the last few drafts have not brought them much. Since O.J. Mayo, who technically wasn't even drafted by the Grizzlies, there have been four guys drafted or traded for on draft day in the past two years. The best player amongst them is likely Hasheem Thabeet -- winner of Least Valuable Player many places after his rookie season fell into the D-League for a couple weeks.
Chris Wallace recognized that today when Grizzlies beat writer Ron Tillery wondered if the Grizz would almost certainly select a point guard with one of the three first round picks:
General manager Chris Wallace insisted the team would not sacrifice talent for the sake of satisfying a need during the draft. However, there will be more attention paid to who is available at point guard when the Griz are on the clock.
"If things are close, you may shade it in the direction of a point guard," Wallace said. "But you have to make certain things are close. It's not point guard or bust with the picks. The need and the talent may not match up with the pick."
The Grizzlies worked out a set of point guards yesterday and a set of power forwards the day before -- notables include Armon Johnson, Jerome Randle, and Luke Harangody.
Read those names -- Armon Johnson, Jerome Randle, Luke Harangody -- again. How many have you heard of, how many strike you as NBA impact players, and how many will get drafted in the first round?
Hopefully you've heard of Harangody, but know he's more like a poor man's Tyler Hansbrough then legit NBA player. He has the game of a stretch center but the body of, well, a small college center. The other two have a chance to succeed in the NBA, but are not going to be the "best player available" even at pick #28. Johnson is predicted to go early-mid second round, while the other two are second round to undrafted.
So if the Grizzlies are looking to maximize their talent, why aren't they working out candidates to fall to them in the draft? Other guys are coming -- Terrico White is about the only guy we know about for sure -- but so far I'm not seeing a whole lot of the guys the experts want in the middle to late 20's.
Could this be a sign that the Grizzlies are intent on moving down to the second round with one of those picks and grabbing some cash?
Moving back to the best player available point: I don't buy it. Were the Grizz getting the best player available last year with DeMarre Carroll in the end of the first round? No. Obviously not. Sam Young was clearly a better player, DeJuan Blair was clearly better -- the list goes on.
Anyway, one of these three picks is going to be drafting a point guard, plain and simple. My personal draft philosophy is to always go best player available, regardless of circumstance, but the Grizzlies have never shown willingness to go that route before.