Today is Mock Expansion Draft day here at SB Nation, and we at GBB were happy to participate by selecting our eight players that would be safe from being gobbled up by hypothetical expansion teams. In going through this process, I kept these things in mind...
- Staying as competitive as possible in the Western Conference
- Strengthening Memphis’ books for the future
- Holding on to key pieces who have upside for development.
With all that being said, let’s get in to it. Here are the eight Grizzlies staying in Memphis in the Mock Expansion Draft.
- Mike Conley. The Conductor is going nowhere. This is his team now, even more than it is Marc Gasol’s. Speaking of Marc...
- Marc Gasol. Mike cannot do it alone, and Marc is still one of the top five or so bigs in the NBA. With Mike and Marc on the roster (healthy), Memphis can be a threat in the West.
- Ben McLemore. Yes, he’s out three months, and yes, that is frustrating and a potential red flag considering all the health issues for this team. But Memphis invested in him for a reason, and him being hurt in August and September doesn’t take that away. He will be back, and his success is huge for the Grizzlies.
- JaMychal Green (assuming FA return). No one wants to overpay JaMychal. If they offer a $8-$12 million offer sheet, Memphis will surely match. Memphis doesn’t want to offer than if they don’t have to. Green is almost guaranteed to return to the Grizzlies, and is their starting power forward when he does. He stays.
- Deyonta Davis. He hasn’t impressed too much in recent months, but he is still young and has time to develop. He is saved from being drafted for what he could potentially be, not what he is right now - kind of like McLemore.
- Wayne Selden. With McLemore out, you need a starter at the 2. Selden can be that guy in theory, and has shown real potential. He can be a key rotation piece on both ends of the court for the Grizzlies.
- Tyreke Evans. He is on a one-year “show me” deal, but he is vital to the Grizzlies being competitive this year. Can’t let him walk before he plays a game.
- Brandan Wright. Wright is the third best big on this current incarnation of this Grizzlies roster. As a veteran on a good contract, he would be a prime candidate for being picked up by a (mock) expansion team. Memphis needs him more, though, whether it is as that key big off the bench or as a trade piece down the road.
So who stands out that I didn’t save?
Chandler Parsons. This hurt. But history says he is less likely to come back at what he once was and more likely to be closer to what he has been as a Grizzly so far. That contract, as of this moment, was one of the worst signed in the summer of 2016.
Can that change still? Of course. For the sake of the Grizzlies, it needs to. But (mock) expansion opens the door for the possibility of regaining flexibility. Let’s see if Chandler comes home through the mock draft today.
Andrew Harrison/Wade Baldwin IV/Mario Chalmers. Neither Harrison nor Baldwin made this job theirs for the long haul last year. The arrival of Chalmers shows that, to an extent. All three could be snatched up possibly, and Memphis would be back at the beginning as far as finding a back-up for Mike Conley.
Troy Daniels/James Ennis III. Two rotation players from last year’s team may not come back. But they’re on the last year of their respective contracts, and may not be in the long-term plans of the Grizzlies any way.
Remember, this doesn’t mean these players that weren’t saved are gone. They are entered in to a pool of players that the mock expansion group can select from. Be sure to come back to GBB today to see just who was selected. And mention in the comments who should, or shouldn’t, have been saved.
Update: The Mock Draft has concluded and no Grizzlies were taken. See both mock expansion drafted rosters for the Seattle and Virginia Beach mock teams here.