2016 NBA Draft
WHERE: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
WHEN: 6:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN/The Vertical Online
No more mock drafts. Soon, no more heated debates about promises and prospects. This evening, all the guess work will cease and we will finally have some beginnings of an idea as to the immediate and long-term future of the Memphis Grizzlies.
No, selecting at #17 and #57 overall does not scream "game-changer." But what it does mean is Memphis' best shot at a lottery-esque talent in some time in case someone falls down the draft board, and it also means our first look at a Memphis front office with new Head Coach David Fizdale at the helm of the on-court product. For the Grizzlies in recent years, it has increasingly become a question of "who exactly is in charge, here?" Fizdale surely is not that man (it appears to be GM Chris Wallace more now than any other point recently, but who really knows?) but his input will hopefully be heard, and perhaps Memphis will continue their transition toward the post "Grit and Grind" era tonight. Or maybe it will be more of the same thing, with one last run with the band together.
Or, maybe they blow the whole thing to hell. OK, that probably won't happen but uncertainty is there for sure.
Three things to keep an eye on from the Memphis Grizzlies' perspective on this draft day-
Will Memphis Be Buyers, Sellers, or Neither?
There has already been some tremendous activity on the trade market leading up to the draft, with Atlanta, Utah, Indiana, New York, and Chicago all exchanging players and/or picks. This draft class has not been widely heralded, but this may make teams think that draft picks are a bit more movable than they will be in future drafts. Of course a lot of this is educated guess work at best, but smart folks who get paid to be right on such things say this draft is weaker than previous ones.
This can be both a good thing and a bad thing for Memphis. On one hand, their desire to move up higher in to the second round if there is someone they particularly like there may be easier than it has been in the past. In a perfect world, perhaps a Malcolm Brogdon or Ivica Zubac for some reason falls to the early second round and they can snag them there. On the other hand, though, this means the Grizzlies may be more willing to swing for the fences in their eyes and key in on a prospect at #17 who is raw and perhaps not a consensus value pick at #17, but has potential to them.
This may work out to be a good thing all-around, of course. But the second round may not be the only place the Grizzlies stop with regard to draft day movement. Could they move back, securing a later first and that early second round pick they so desperately (reportedly) covet? Or may they move up, using some of the assets they acquired in the Courtney Lee and Jeff Green trades to get in to the tail end of the lottery?
Or, even deeper yet, could they be looking to move some players on draft night? This draft feels more uncertain than the past few in that regard- don't rule out a trade involving players, perhaps even key players from last season, possibly going down.
What is in a "Promise?"
DraftExpress, via The Vertical, reported about a week or so ago that the Memphis Grizzlies had requested that Malachi Richardson shut down his pre-draft workouts, as Memphis was prepared to promise him he would be the pick at #17 if he were available. Richardson then went on to workout for other teams, and DraftExpress took down the "promise" report. Perhaps that promise won't be followed through after all...
But DraftExpress still has Malachi going to Memphis at #17. As do multiple other sites. Add in the fact that in the past a Chris Wallace promise report usually has led to that player being selected and perhaps there is indeed fire where this smoke is coming from. Richardson is flawed, but most players at #17 will be, and his selection will not signal the end of the world. Just how much weight a promise carries, and the reporting of such a promise, will bear watching when #17 comes around.
Who are Some Names Other than Malachi to Watch For?
Presenting the MulliBigBoard...
- Denzel Valentine, Forward, Michigan State. I took him in our GBB Community Mock Draft, and I am back full circle on Denzel. Knee issue is a big red flag, but his offensive skill set and intangibles make him worth monitoring.
- Timothe Luwawu, Forward, International. As with most international prospects, there are some questions regarding quality of opposition and playing style. But Luwawu can shoot, is a very good perimeter defender, and would be a hell of a pick at #17.
- Wade Baldwin IV, Guard, Vanderbilt. Fills both a best player available and need fit for Memphis. Can defend multiple positions, hit the three, and as a bigger point guard allow for Mike Conley to play off the ball (please stay in Memphis, Mike, three potential destinations for you are now off the table.)
- Furkan Korkmaz, Guard/Forward, International. See the questions with Luwawu, but add that he isn't the best defender in the world. He can score though, and also could potentially stay overseas for a season, saving Memphis a roster spot.
- Taurean Prince, Forward, Baylor. He is what he is. He can defend, he can shoot, he can't probably develop in to much else. But these skill alone make him a potential NBA rotation player.
- Juan Hernangomez, Forward, International. A young man who can shoot the rock and play both on the perimeter and in the post possibly. Very valuable in the modern NBA.
- Ivica Zubac, Center, International. A big man who could learn a good bit from Marc Gasol. He has size, he has good hands, and he has the ability to move well enough to perhaps develop into a solid post defender.
Of course, players like Henry Ellenson, Skal Labissiere, Jakob Poeltl and any other potential lottery pick who drops to #17 will merit consideration. The guys listed above are simply players who have been linked to Memphis via mock draft at one point or another, or have worked out for the Grizzlies already, or perhaps both. Any of the bulleted guys would be considered successful picks in the eyes of the MulliBigBoard.
The Grizzlies will acquire another pick, be it early in the second round or late first round. All those picks from the Green/Lee trade were not acquired to use- at least some of them were acquired to make future moves. I do think Memphis will pick at #17, and I do think it will be the gentleman who was reportedly promised by Chris Wallace he would be taken. It's not who I would go with (see MulliBoard above), but a promise is a promise with Wallace at the helm, and Richardson has skills that could develop nicely eventually.
Memphis will select Malachi Richardson with the 17th overall pick, Ivica Zubac with a late first round/early second round pick, Wayne Selden of Kansas at 57 overall (if that pick isn't moved).
- Trey Burke will become a Memphis Grizzly via trade.
- Jay Bilas will get really frustrated by those around him not knowing the players.
- Boston will make a blockbuster deal for a superstar player.
Make sure you join us for Draft Night here at GBB!