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2015 GBB Community Mock Draft: Memphis Grizzlies pick at #25

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Sort of like a compromise between placating an immediate need and sticking to 'best player available' guns, except not a compromise and actually just awesome.

Pick #25
Memphis Grizzlies
GM: Kevin Yeung

With the 25th pick in the draft, the Grizzlies select:

25) R.J. Hunter, Guard from Georgia State

Photo: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

Outside shooting has long been a need in Memphis. Here at Grizzlies HQ, we're cynical of any rookie's ability to be the magical cure of such a longstanding issue, but by drafting R.J. Hunter of Georgia State at #25, we get to balance an immediate need with a 'best player available' agenda.

I won't pretend to watch much college basketball myself, so I'll defer to some experts instead for a scouting take on Hunter.

From DraftExpress:

Hunter's biggest appeal as a NBA prospect revolves around his outside shot, even if that's far from his only strength at the moment. He has deep range extending well beyond the 3-point line, and can make shots in a variety of ways, be it off spot-ups, coming off screens, or pulling up off the dribble. Hunter's release point is somewhat low, which would be more of an issue if he didn't get his shot off as quickly as he did. His mechanics are smooth and compact, complete with terrific footwork and a pretty follow-through, and he sets his feet and shoots it all in one quick, effortless and aesthetically pleasing motion.

From GBB's Jonah Jordan:

[Hunter] can run around screens and lose his man quickly so he has enough separation to shoot the ball cleanly. Once he receives it it's one or less dribbles and he gets set then shoots. The Grizzlies could use his ability to run around screens like this. This can open up the offensive play book like JJ Redick does for the Clippers , but to a much, much lesser extent.

[...]

Shooting threes isn't all that Hunter can do. The 6'5" guard is a very capable passer that can pick a team apart in the pick and roll. He only averaged 3.5 assists per game, but it was a huge part of his game that other teams had to be aware of. Playing too close to Hunter in the pick and roll meant he was going to hit an open man. Sinking off of him meant he was going to get open for three. Sometimes high usage players aren't willing passers. Hunter is not only a willing passer, but he's a smart passer as well.

Call us enthused about the idea of a shooter and offensive hub of Hunter's credibility on our bench, which has operated with specialists and non-shooters at this position for far too long. Shooting, ball-handling and passing smarts are three essential skills for any perimeter player in the NBA, and Hunter checks each box. He posted a stellar .887 clip from the free throw line in his last year of college, which puts to bed any concerns about his low live-ball percentages given how strong an indicator free throw percentage is of shooting ability.

We're a bit more skeptical of Hunter's defensive potential – he'll certainly need to bulk up from his current 185-pound frame – but most scouts have acknowledged some upside on that end by way of his 6'10" wingspan. Two-way play borders on necessary in the NBA these days, and that Hunter's physical profile grants him a good shot at breaking through the specialist's glass ceiling is a boon for his long-term prospects.

There's no expectation for Hunter to be a contributor in Year One, but he'll be freshly 22 when the season starts and has three years of collegiate experience to his name. He may yet be able to contribute to our short-term title chase, and by joining Jordan Adams and Vince Carter in a training camp battle of something-to-proves, we're quite comfortable in thinking at least one of three emerges a viable rotational cog.

It should also be said: if Hunter carries any bad karma for the health of his coaches, we've at least insured ourselves with a greater opportunity for young players if our coach gets hurt. (Just kidding, we love Dave.)

Pick Team GM Selection
#1 Timberwolves Jonah Jordan Karl-Anthony Towns
#2 Lakers chipwilliamsjr Jahlil Okafor
#3 Timberwolves (from 76ers) Jonah Jordan D'Angelo Russell
#4 Raptors (from Knicks) Arkm110 Emmanuel Mudiay
#5 Celtics (from Magic) HEARNBURN Kristaps Porzingis
#6 Kings Jonah Jordan Mario Hezonja
#7 Nuggets Joe Witherwax Justise Winslow
#8 Heat (from Pistons) Mopo123 Stanley Johnson
#9 Hornets pfleming15 Willie Cauley-Stein
#10 Suns (from Heat) nickbushart Frank Kaminsky
#11 Pacers Andrew Ford Cameron Payne
#12 Jazz Tblythe Myles Turner
#13 Pistons (from Heat via Suns) Matthew Bishop Sam Dekker
#14 Thunder ljjung Kelly Oubre, Jr.
#15 Hawks Zordor Devin Booker
#16 Magic (from Celtics) Andy Livingston Bobby Portis
#17 Bucks Lakers (from Bucks) chipwilliamsjr Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
#18 Rockets SirRiles Jerian Grant
#19 Spurs (from Suns via Wizards) ks10680 Tyrus Jones
#20 Thunder (from Raptors) ljjung Trey Lyles
#21 Mavericks ethanwi11iams Rashad Vaughn
#22 Bulls Burgundy Terry Rozier
#23 Trail Blazers Commissioner Kevon Looney
#24 Cavaliers Jonah Jordan Justin Anderson
#25 Grizzlies Kevin Yueng R.J. Hunter
#26 Suns (from Spurs) nickbushart
#27 Bucks (from Lakers) Jill Kong
#28 Celtics HEARNBURN
#29 Nets Marcgasaucey
#30 Warriors bstubbs