1) Who will the Grizzlies draft at #25?
Joe WItherwax: That really depends on who's available. If someone like Kevon Looney drops to the Grizzlies, I think they'd jump at it. He grades out well by several statistical models. More likely though, I think it will be Delon Wright, the combo guard from Utah or R.J. Hunter from Georgia State, whichever is still on the board. If both are, I think the pick is Wright due to his versatility and grading out well by statistical models.
Chris Faulkner: The Grizzlies will draft Delon Wright. I knew it from the first time I saw a photo of him at the Grizzlies pre-draft workout. He's got Mr. Fantastic arms.
Joe Mulllinax: Hopefully it isn't Jarell Martin, who reportedly has been given a promise that he will be drafted in the middle of the first round. If you subscribe to the idea that MEM picks in that spot for themselves (I am getting closer to thinking they won't be) they will have several perimeter options. Memphis will look for a replacement for Nick Calathes as a bigger point guard and that will be Delon Wright, Senior from Utah. he can defend, attack and create offensively and is ready to roll within the next year or so at the latest. Wright/Russ Smith may well be Beno Udrih/Nick Calathes 2.0 by 2016, if not sooner.
Jonah Jordan: It's going to be Jarrell Martin. which isn't a good or the right pick.
Keith Edwards: At the moment, I'm not convinced they'll be picking at #25, but if they do, I think for worse or worst, they're taking Jarrell Martin.
Chip Williams: There's a ton of buzz around Jarell Martin. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but I think the old smoke and fire saying applies here. There's too many reputable guys saying Martin has a promise from the Grizz for there not to be something there, so for now, I'll say the Grizzlies will draft Jarell Martin.
2) Of the available players at or around #25, who should the Grizzlies draft?
Witherwax: It's easy to look at the current roster and want a small forward like Justin Anderson, but I think you have to take the guy who you think will have the best career and work from there. Based on that, I think Wright, Hunter, or Rashad Vaughn is a good pick. One thing I'd really like to see is the Grizzlies buy or trade their way into the second round and pick up Michael Frazier. Frazier is a great shooter and will be hitting 3's in the NBA for a long time, and that's worth a 2nd to me.
Faulkner: Probably R.J. Hunter because he would help with the Grizzlies most glaring need.
Mullinax: Personally, I think Wright makes the most sense for this roster. However, a Justin Anderson/Rondae Hollis-Jefferson selection makes sense as a wing who can defend multiple positions on the perimeter.
Jordan: There are five main guys the Grizzlies should be looking at.
Out of the five I think RHJ has the highest ceiling and could provide the Grizzlies with something they haven't had before. If none of those names are available at 25,which is a distinct possibility, then they need to draft Guillermo Hernangomez out of Spain. He may not come over right away, but he has an interesting skill set that could develop into something with the right coaching.
Edwards: I haven't seem him listed lower than 23 in any mock draft over the last few weeks, but I would probably take Kelly Oubre. I, however, am not the Grizzlies, and that doesn't accurately answer the question. They should take Justin Anderson or Delon Wright.
Williams: I'm giving my personal endorsement to Delon Wright. The numbers check out on him, he's got elite size for the point guard position and he was a very productive player at Utah (nearly averaged 15-5-5-2 steals last year). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is at the top of my wish list, but I think the Grizz have to move up to get him.
3) Who is going first overall? More importantly, who is the best NBA player in this draft?
Witherwax: I think Karl-Anthony Towns' versatility and upside will get him drafted first. To me, D'Angelo Russell has the potential to be the best player from this draft. He could be a special player with his wide skill set, or he could never overcome the jump in speed and physicality to the NBA. I'd bet on the former though.
Faulkner: All I hear is that Towns is the top-rated guy by 29/30 teams so that probably means it'll be D'Angelo Russell.
Mullinax: Karl-Anthony Towns is going first overall. I can't shake the feeling, however, that D'Angelo Russell will be the best pro of this class. He has the confidence and swagger necessary to succeed at the highest level and the skill set to back it up.
Jordan: Karl Anthony-Towns is going to go first overall. The best NBA player right off the bat will be Mario Hezonja. If gambling were legal I would suggest you put some money on Mario being rookie of the year.
Edwards: Karl Anthony-Towns is going first, almost positive of that. The best player is tougher. * Looks for a Syracuse player to dramatically overrate. Rakeem Christmas? I can't even talk myself into that one..* I'll go with D'Angelo Russell.
Williams: Karl-Anthony Towns is going number one. Outside of him, I think Mario Hezonja is going to end up being the best player in the draft.
4) Which player might get drafted way higher than expected. Conversely, which player might very well fall.
Witherwax: Kevon Looney has been projected as a mid-teens to early-20s prospect but I think he could go as soon as the top 10. As mentioned before, analytics love him and some stats-based management team might snatch him up. Conversely, I could see Devin Booker dropping from the top-10 range. He's a good shooter but mostly one-dimensional, and is above-average-ish at NBA 3-point range.
Faulkner: Players of legal age in the states of Washington and Colorado have a chance of being way higher when drafted on Thursday night.
Mullinax: I am going with two guys from the same school. Frank (The Tank) Kaminsky makes a lot of sense at 8 overall to Detroit to me as a Ryan Anderson-esque floor spacing compliment to the dominant paint presence of Andre Drummond, and it is possible that Sam Dekker slides due to his potentially limited ceiling as compared to other wings and the build up to the draft itself. If Dekker somehow gets to #25...all of the happiness from me.
Jordan: Mario Hezonja should go in the Top 5 and I think Willie Cauley-Stein and Emmanuel Mudiay are the guys that will fall to mid lottery after being projected to be taken in the early lottery.
Edwards: I think someone is going to reach for Bobby Portis around number 10, and that's probably too high for him. I could see Willie Cauley-Stein plummeting out of the lottery and all the way to 20+.
Williams: I think Rashad Vaughn and Nikola Milutinov might go higher than expected. Vaughn been a fringe first-round pick for most of the process, but I could see him going as high as 17 or 22. Milutinov just may sneak his way into the late first round after being considered a second-round pick for most of the draft process. Kelly Oubre and Emmanuel Mudiay are two guys that may slip. Oubre may fall out of the top 20 and Mudiay is almost certainly going to fall out of the top five - personally I prefer Mudiay over D'Angelo Russell.
5) Who (I mean player, team, general manager, owner, tv guy, writer...ect.) will be the guy everyone is talking about on Friday?
Witherwax: Other than Towns going #1 overall after being a role player in college, I think it's going to be Kristaps Porzingis. He's a bit of an unknown, and he's shooting up the draft boards, even unseating Russell at #3 on many mocks. I think his blend of size, athleticism, mystique of the unknown and his rise up the boards is going to be the big story.
Faulkner: We'll all be talking about the player who wears the ugliest outfit to the podium, or maybe the guy who ends up kissing Adam Silver on the forehead.
Mullinax: Chris Wallace and the Grizzlies' front office...the Ridnour deal smells of something bigger to come.
Edwards: George Karl, Dwyane Wade, and Doc Rivers are my top three for sure.
Williams: Naturally, everyone is going to be talking about Woj because, you know, he scoops everything. It's going to make people mad, but Woj cares not.