Uncertainty envelops the Memphis Grizzlies nine days from the 2014 NBA Draft. Not the possibly-crazy-owner-blowing-up-the-front-office-and-coach-but-now-its-ok kind of uncertainty that was experienced earlier this offseason thankfully, but uncertainty nonetheless. What will the Grizzlies do on draft night? In this series we have found six different names on various mock drafts, from wings like K.J. McDaniels and P.J. Hairston to point guards like Shabazz Napier and big man projects like Clint Capela.
The only thing that is certain is that no one truly knows, and the folks that do (Robert Pera, Dave Joerger, etc.) are not talking. Will Memphis move up? Will they move back? Will they try aggressively to move Tayshaun Prince using their 22nd overall pick once they take a player? So many questions, not enough answers. For now, the Grizzlies have the 22nd pick, and mock drafts continue to churn out possible future Grizzlies.
Here are two names that have not been discussed in our roundups as of yet.
Updated NBADraft.Net Mock- James Young, G/F, Kentucky
One of the most heralded recruits of the 2013 class not named Parker or Wiggins, James Young went to Kentucky with high hopes on the pre-season #1 team in the country. Kentucky got off to a slow start, however, and Young's stock dropped considerably. When UK went on their run through the SEC tournament and NCAA tournament, Young was often the catalyst, utilizing his size and shooting ability to help Kentucky get all the way to the national title game, achieving some of that potential that so many saw at the beginning of the year.
James Young is intriguing for the Grizzlies for a variety of reasons. He is a sound rebounder on the wing, he has a frame that can fill out and he is young, the 3rd youngest player in this draft. He will continue to develop not just his game but his body, and he is far from a finished product.
NBA Draft Preview
NBA Draft Preview
This is a positive, because he game has huge holes as well. He cannot create consistently for himself and is dependent on others to help him due to a lack of athleticism. His defense is atrocious, as the video above shows; his foot work is poor and he shows a lack of understanding of scheme and basketball situationals. Even as a shooter his game was inconsistent; as stated earlier, as UK started slowly so did he, and he did not dominate at the college level enough for a top recruit.
Young has been moving up draft boards due to his youth and the belief in his potential to grow into a capable NBA wing. The Memphis Grizzlies do not have time to waste on the wing, however. Assistance is needed immediately, and Young will not be able to provide that. For a team so defensively based, Young is a liability on that end without providing enough of an offensive punch to negate that. Can he develop that skill? Possibly. The Grizzlies don't have the luxury of time to find out, at least not at pick #22.
Young would be an intriguing guy to buy an early 2nd round pick for and send him to Iowa with the Energy for a season to develop. At 22? A reach.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
From a potential filled project to a ready-made role player, Early is more than 4 years older than Young, and his game shows that in terms of versatility and experience. He led Wichita State to two straight extremely successful seasons and heights never before experienced for their program. He is a great leader, a winner and has those vaunted intangibles that NBA teams covet so much, especially in a later first round pick.
His frame does not need more time to fill in because he already has the size and strength to finish through contact at the NBA level. He shows great athleticism whether it is above the rim action, rebounding or running the floor in transition with good speed and control. His offensive game can go from range, where he has vastly improved from 3 point land, to the block where he will have the size and skill set to attack NBA wings in the post.
One of Early's major weaknesses is Young's strength; youth. Early is quite possibly at his ceiling right now, both in terms of frame and potentially developing his game. He is a dreaded "tweener", as the scouting report video states, much in the mode of a Doug McDermott. He is potentially too slow laterally to defend the wing consistently while being too small to play predominantly in the post. His technique on his jumper results in flat shots and he struggles creating for himself and for others off the dribble drive.
However, in terms of what the Memphis Grizzlies need from this 22nd overall pick, Early is likely a sound selection here. There is a possibility Early falls to the 2nd round due to his age and "tweener" status, so Memphis could go in a different direction at 22 and try to snag Early there, but that would be a risk to be sure. Early provides leadership and NBA ready levels of production in the here and now. Young has the potential to be better than Early perhaps, but Early is the superior player now.
For a team in "win now" mode, as Memphis is, Early would fit the bill in terms of value. His long term role in the league is likely that of a role player off of the bench, giving good energy and scoring the ball in a variety of ways against other bench wings. For the short term, however, Early could fill that SF slot that Tayshaun Prince left a lot to be desired in and be a bit more productive there, especially offensively.
Can Early, or any player taken at 22, produce enough to make the Grizzlies a true title contender? Unlikely, which is why the "trade up or trade for a SF using the pick after it is used" theory is still very sound. It appears the Grizzlies are entertaining that idea to an extent. No one knows for sure, of course, perhaps even the Memphis Front Office. It makes the actions taken on the 26th of June all the more interesting to watch unfold.