Part 4: The Future Picks
The future is now, or so we think. Building for the future while still trying to manage the here and now is a constant struggle for general managers. Especially general managers of teams that are winning all the time. You can’t build for the future while you are winning now. You get the itch that you are just one player away, one trade away from winning that elusive NBA championship. General managers fall into that trap of trading away future assets for that one player that might work out.
Future draft picks are the are the last pillar in which to build a winning franchise. They are the core of what you do moving forward. They can be used to make deals, get off of bad contracts, but more importantly, they can be used to draft players. Being able to have both, some second round picks to grease wheels in certain trade scenarios and first round picks to draft players is the best of both worlds.
The Grizzlies problem? The mortgaged every draft pick they have in the next few years when they were searching for that ever elusive wing player that would put them over the hump. That wing player never came, and in the process they got rid of any future player that might get them any help.
How does Memphis stack up against the rest of the top tier teams in the western conference?
If you are reading this chart the way that you should, the Grizzlies don’t stack up well, at all. They have one first round pick in the next three years. Part of having a continued successful franchise is being able to select players in the draft have them for several years and promote them through your team, but if you don’t have any picks at all, it’s impossible to do that.
Looking for players is the right thing to do for your squad, but not to the point where it cripples your future teams. I wish there was more to say. I wish I could tell you that other teams in the league do the same thing, but they don’t. Good teams don’t mortgage their future for a player today. Look at the Spurs, the model of a good franchise. They have two picks in every draft over the next three years, exactly as you should have. The reason why? They draft well, they manage their team well, and they don’t have to make a lot of trades because they players they draft or sign end up playing roles on the team. If they don’t have to make a lot of trades they usually don’t have to give up draft picks. Even the Jazz, who have come on strong this year, have several draft picks over the next three years, to continue build onto the franchise that they have been building over the past few years.
The Grizzlies have no one to blame but themselves, they have given away draft picks at every turn. They have tried to play for the present and didn’t care what they did for their future. So what does this mean for the team? It means that the Grizzlies will have to go out and try and sign more free agents (we have discussed how that goes for this team) and they will ultimately have to make more trades and probably have to include more draft picks to make the trades. It becomes a vicious cycle for the Grizzlies when the past trades, free agents, and draft picks haven’t worked out for them.
Monday we examine what this all means and where the Grizzlies go from here. Stay Tuned.