Another week, another swing around the internet as we take a look at who the Memphis Grizzlies may select in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Grizzlies
finally officially have their new man at the helm of the on-court product in David Fizdale, and the attention of the front office can be turned solely on who Memphis should take at #17 overall. In the weeks ahead, the Grizzlies will make their pick in our GBB Community Mock Draft. For now, here are where some of the best Mock Drafts have the Grizzlies heading on draft night.
DraftExpress- Taurean Prince, Baylor, Small Forward
According to DraftExpress' breakdown, Prince checks a lot of the boxes you would expect a Memphis Grizzly to check. His biggest strength seems to be his defensive prowess, where he could defend potentially every position on the floor except for Center, depending on the match-up. He has length (6'11" wingspan), athleticism, and versatility on his side, and has shown flashes of offensive potential with the basketball in his hands. Where he struggles is when he is expected to play beyond his means; DraftExpress says that when Baylor needed him to step up his role this past season, his percentages dropped and he would sometimes make poor choices with the basketball. His 36% shooting from three-point land also isn't a big strength, but that could develop.
Overall, he won't save the Grizzlies. But will many #17 overall picks? He would fit well with this crew and would be a solid role player for years to come. You can do worse at this point in the draft.
Speaking of (potentially) worse...
NBADraft.net- Malik Beasley, Florida State, Shooting Guard
We've heard this before. The Memphis Grizzlies draft undersized wing, fan base lets out a collective sigh of frustration as they look as shooters and other bigger wings on the board. Memphis already has a 6'5" scoring guard- his name is Jordan Adams, and he was taken instead of Utah Jazz upstart Rodney Hood in the 2014 NBA Draft. This isn't the time or place for the debate on Adams over Hood- there are legitimate arguments for both sides- but regardless of where you fall, it's hard to see Beasley as worthy of #17 overall, especially considering potential health concerns with his leg. In this particular mock, they have the Grizzlies selecting Beasley instead of Michigan State's scorer supreme Denzel Valentine or the aforementioned Taurean Prince. That feels unlikely, at least at this time to this blogger.
Beasley can score the rock. He may well be a good NBA player. But Memphis has to hit on this pick, and Beasley is too risky, unless other top wing/big possibilities are off the board already. Even then, trading back may be a good idea if this is the Grizzlies' best option at 17.
CBSSports.com- Wade Baldwin IV, Vanderbilt, Point Guard
This is a guy who has been broken down here at GBB before. He has all of the measurables to make you think he could be a damn good NBA back-up Point Guard, and maybe more- the size (6'4" with a 6'11" wingspan), the youth (age 20), it all can be intoxicating. If Baldwin was the pick at 17, he would likely be good value. There are reasons to be hesitant, however- he struggles finishing at the rim despite his size, and when matched up against the undersized SEC Player of the Year and fellow Point Guard Tyler Ulis he went a combined 5-24 from the field in two games. That does not inspire confidence in his ability to play up to competition.
Coaches often say, however, that you cannot teach athleticism and size. Baldwin has both of those, and there will be a team that takes a chance on him for that very reason. Again, the Grizzlies need to get a solid player with this selection, and Baldwin would both fit a need as a back-up Point Guard (hopefully, stay Mike Conley, please) and be able to defend multiple wing positions right away. If David Fizdale is more willing than his predecessor to play rookies, Baldwin's stature and abilities will make him capable of contributing this season.
That isn't to say that Ulis couldn't. It just may be more of an adjustment for him at 5'10" 149 pounds to make the NBA transition than Baldwin. The fact that Ulis won both SEC Player AND SEC Defensive Player of the Year at that size should make you pause, though. The guy can ball, and an undersized player with the heart of a lion? Tell me that doesn't SCREAM Memphis. Ulis vs. Baldwin is a fun debate.
Bleacher Report- Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame, Point Guard
Another player who has been discussed in these mock roundups before here at GBB, and a player that if he is indeed available at #17 the Grizzlies must consider. He is not as big as Baldwin, and not as celebrated awards-wise as Ulis, but Jackson could potentially be the best of all three. He is a fantastic athlete, posting a 43.5 inch vertical leap at the NBA Combine, and also according to multiple sites including DraftExpress possesses tremendous footwork which would make him dangerous offensively and would help offset his defensive limitations due to his size.
It is possible that Jackson may be the happy compromise between Ulis and Baldwin, but like Prince from Baylor when Jackson was asked to take on more responsibility for Notre Dame he struggled. This was especially true from range- his 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 43% to 33% this past season. Potential is there with Jackson, though, and that athletic ability would be a welcome addition to this Memphis roster.
This draft will be the first look in to where the Grizzlies will be heading moves wise this Summer. The pick they make (or any trades they pull off) will potentially set the tone for what their targets will be in July when Free Agency hits.