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The Process of the Memphis Grizzlies

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Every team has to rebuild sometime. The Memphis Grizzlies should follow the 76ers’ blueprint. Here’s how.

NBA: Preseason-Philadelphia 76ers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

So it seems like that Sixers’ Process is looking pretty, pretty, pretty good.

It’d be a shame...if someone stole that idea for blog posts...a real shame.

Now, there are pressing health questions concerning Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Markelle Fultz has yet to play an NBA game. But if healthy, the floor for this core is so damn high and their ceiling would give you the spins if you dared to look up.

Blowing up a team is a lot of fun to think about, and a lot less fun to endure. But it's really tempting. As a fan, you see your team run out the same core for the better half of a decade and you get to a point where you want changes for change’s sake.

The Grizzlies have been an average to above-average team for this decade. Numerous teams would have killed for that success, including a conference finals trip. Numerous teams would have also gotten antsy a LOT quicker and rushed to get the most out of their assets and start over.

If the Grizzlies front office decide this is that time, they should go scorched earth. Absolutely tank and hoard picks like the Hinkie-era 76ers and follow that blueprint.

We do know that, even if we do not know if Philadelphia will truly reap the benefits of The Process. So if the Grizzlies decide this is the year, these are some trades to consider.


This might be the most unrealistic, yet least surprising trade if it came to fruition. After Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on Tuesday that Porzingis may be on the move and bad decision after bad decision from the Knicks’ front office, no one is going to be shocked if they move Kristaps Porzingis.

Quite honestly, it helps both sides. The Knicks get some relief from the worst contract in the league and an All-Star center still in his prime. The Grizzlies get a great foundational young player to build around, which will be necessary after $140 million will be tied up in Joakim Noah and Chandler Parsons. That’s tanking the right way, folks.

This is a really entertaining trade for basketball reasons. Portland, sporting a core of Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Marc Gasol would be pretty threatening in the Western Conference. Marc would immediately become their best defensive player and be insurance against a defensively leaky backcourt.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies get Nurkic on his rookie deal which is great value considering his play once he was given more opportunity in Portland. Crabbe’s contract is hefty, but necessary for the logistics of the trade. He could fill a role as a spot-up shooter,

Memphis receives: 2019 1st rounder via MEM (from BOS), 2017 2nd rounder via BKN (from BOS), Chicago receives: 2017 1st rounder via PHI (from BOS)

Oooo wee here we go. This trade makes sense for all three teams if they all choose to go down this route, but it helps Boston quite a bit. They get two very good two-way players and an absolute star in Jimmy Butler. The Celtics also don’t use any of their “prime” future assets, such as the 2019 Lakers/Kings pick, and the Bulls get a top-3 pick and very good wing for their troubles.

For the Grizzlies, I’m not even sure if this counts as rebuilding. Avery Bradley is a top-flight defensive player, as is Marcus Smart, who would be the best backup point guard on the roster by a mile. The Grizzlies get back their 2019 pick for giving away the 2nd best player in the trade, so Memphis gets back some flexibility. Also, Bradley and Smart come off the books in 2018, so the Grizzlies will have cap flexibility as well should they not want to bring them back.

Memphis receives: 2017 1st round pick (12) via DET

Okay, this is where it starts to feel like a tank. The Grizzlies lose their best player for someone worse at his position and a developmental wing who might have potential. Ricky Rubio is a fine point guard, and Stanley Johnson is still young, but this is what the “Process” is about. Getting rid of hefty contracts to stockpile draft picks and get more bites at the apple.

I think Detroit and Minnesota are the perfect candidates for a trade like this. Both teams’ front offices are lead by their head coaches, which means patience is rare and “win-now” moves are the only moves more often than not. Detroit moves on from Reggie Jackson, which they’ve been rumored to want, and Minnesota gets a point guard to run the show and help lead a young core.


The Grizzlies are still a competitive, good team. There’s no reason to bottom out just yet. But if they do, don’t expect them to tread water. They’ve done so, successfully mind you, for the past few years, but the time to re-build through draft picks as opposed to reloading with free agents will come.

When it does, thank Philadelphia for paving the road.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies