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GBB Community NBA Mock Draft: Pick #14- Memphis Grizzlies

After the Grizzlies traded for Nikola Mirotic and the #14 overall pick earlier in the draft, the time has come for Memphis to wrap-up the lottery and make their selection.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Check out the previous picks and trades in the 2016 Grizzly Bear Blues Community NBA Mock Draft here.

The Phoenix Suns have taken Skal Labissiere at #13 overall, and now the time has come for the Memphis Grizzlies to select. Remember, they (well, I) sent Brandan Wright, #17 overall, a 2018 and 2019 2nd round pick, and the 2019 1st round pick Memphis got from the Jeff Green trade to the Mock Chicago Bulls. Nikola Mirotic is now a (mock) Grizzly, and the Grizzlies are on the clock.

With the 14th overall pick in the 2016 Grizzly Bear Blues Community NBA Mock Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select...

Denzel Valentine, Guard/Forward, Michigan State University

(Brian Spurlock- USA Today Sports)

This is exactly who I wanted at #14 overall, and I am ecstatic he is here for the picking.

Yes, he isn't a tremendous athlete. And yes, his foot speed is lacking and may limit him defensively. And yes, he will be 23 in November and is potentially a finished product.

That potentially finished product is damn impressive, however.

Here are three reasons why Denzel Valentine is the man for Memphis at #14-

  1. He is not just a shooter- he is a creator. Sure, his 44.4% three-point percentage as a Senior at Michigan State is fantastic, and the 41.6% that he shot the season before is evidence of skill and not a fluke performance. However, his greatest strength as a basketball player is as a passer- he has tremendous vision and averaged 7.8 assists to go with his 19.2 points per game this past season. He can make opportunities for himself offensively in a variety of ways- off the dribble, in the post, in transition- and at a variety of positions. Valentine can play anywhere on the perimeter, from point guard to small forward. That versatility on the offensive end is exactly what Memphis needs.
  2. He is not just an offensive player- he's a glass eater. Valentine was a very good rebounder for Michigan State, averaging 7.5 rebounds a game for the Spartans. His ability to clean the boards is further proof of the fact that Valentine is a very good basketball player- athleticism alone does not make a player great at the game of basketball. It certainly helps, and coaches believe they can make basketball players, but watching tape of Valentine rebounding confirmed for me what I thought I knew after his offensive play- the guy won't wow you with his burst, but he stands out for his skill set and tools on his basketball tool belt.
  3. He is a competitor- and a Spartan. Tom Izzo was a key mentor for this young man for four seasons. Valentine learned how to play the game from one of the very best that teaches it at the college level, and that is invaluable. Draymond Green as a result is a natural comparison for Valentine, but it isn't a good one physically- different sizes, different NBA positions. It is good, however, when it comes to leadership and toughness, and they both got that partly from their time in East Lansing, Michigan. Between his Izzo ties and the built-in mentor that is fellow Spartan Zach Randolph, Valentine will be in good hands. His swagger and mental toughness will come in handy in Memphis, as the Grizzlies continue to transition to a new era of Memphis basketball.
You could start Valentine with the "Core Four" of Mike Conley (please re-sign), Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol and hide him defensively until he gets up to speed on Coach Fizdale's concepts (Valentine is a solid team defender, he struggles with staying in front of dribble penetration on his own). Or, in this mock situation you could bring him off the bench with Nikola Mirotic and give your reserves an impressive scoring punch as you add a wing in free agency. Regardless, player development is a key facet of Fizdale's coaching style and Valentine will be his first key project, especially on defense. Effort, toughness, and scheme can help him somewhat with his defensive shortcomings.

The Grizzlies have historically not played rookies, but a new sheriff is in town. Justise Winslow played a key role on the Miami Heat this season, as did Josh Richardson, so Fizdale has experience recently playing young guys in successful roles. The ability of Valentine to score the ball, and help others get chances to score, out of a variety of positions on the wing is something the Memphis Grizzlies need desperately. If the Grizzlies are done in this mock (a big if, maybe?), their offense just got a lot better.

Monday the Mock Draft continues with the picks of New Orleans, who is now on the clock, and Orlando.
Date Pick/Team Selection Mock GM
June 2nd 1/Philadelphia Brandon Ingram, Forward, Duke University Joe Mullinax
June 2nd 2/LA Lakers Ben Simmons, Forward, LSU Corban Ford
June 3rd 3/Boston Marquese Chriss, Power Forward, Washington Chip Williams
June 3rd 4/Phoenix Dragan Bender, Power Forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv Kyle Whittington
June 6th 5/Minnesota Buddy Hield, Guard, Oklahoma Aimee S
June 6th 6/Denver Jamal Murray, Guard, Kentucky Mopizzle11
June 7th 7/Denver Domantas Sabonis, Forward/Center, Gonzaga Mopizzle11
June 7th 8/Sacramento Kris Dunn, Guard, Providence Brandon C
June 8th 9/Toronto Henry Ellenson, Forward, Marquette Tabitha
June 8th 10/Milwaukee Timothe Luwawu, Guard/Forward, Mega Leks Kevin Yeung
June 9th 11/Boston Jaylen Brown, Guard/Forward, California Chip Williams
June 9th 12/Utah Jakob Poeltl, Center, Utah BealeStreetKen
June 10th 13/Phoenix Skal Labissiere, Forward/Center, Kentucky Kyle Whittington
June 10th 14/Memphis Denzel Valentine, Guard/Forward, Michigan State Joe Mullinax
June 13th 15/New Orleans Wes George
June 13th 16/Orlando Daron Koch
June 14th 17/Chicago Brandon C
June 14th 18/Detroit volislife
June 15th 19/New Orleans Wes George
June 15th 20/Indiana Aimee S
June 16th 21/Atlanta Jama17
June 16th 22/Charlotte Justin Sims
June 17th 23/Orlando Daron Koch
June 17th 24/Philadelphia Joe Mullinax
June 20th 25/LA Clippers Kevin Lipe
June 20th 26/Philadelphia Joe Mullinax
June 21st 27/Toronto Tabitha
June 21st 28/Phoenix Kyle Whittington
June 22nd 29/San Antonio Jill Kong
June 22nd 30/Golden State rhinoh23

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