Wayne Selden earned his first multi-year NBA contract this summer. He signed a 2 year, $2.8 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Selden has had an up and down career in the NBA trying to get a grasp of the league, especially with the Grizzlies. He spent much of the time in the D-League, which was definitely the opportunity he needed showing off his talent developed at Kansas.
Coming into this season, it will be interesting what he can do knowing he is guaranteed a full season with the Grizzlies. Selden will not have to worry about bouncing back and forth on 10-day contracts. The opportunity has been given to him to achieve the next level and be the exciting young player Grizz Nation has wanted for a while now.
2016-2017 Season Overview
As stated earlier, Selden has had a hard-fought journey to make it to the Grizzlies roster. Last summer, he went undrafted out of Kansas. He was then brought on by Memphis signing a contract for training camp, only to be waived before the season began. Then, Selden got the experience he needed in the D-League with the Iowa Energy. After being signed to a short 10-day stint with the New Orleans Pelicans, he returned again with the Grizzlies signing a contract through the end of the season.
In this role with Memphis, Wayne Selden showed flashes of why he belonged on an NBA roster. His 11-game stats were nothing flashy, averaging 5.0 points, 1.1 assists, and 1.0 rebounds. It was the intensity he showed throughout games which caught the coaches eye. He brought electricity to the game.
The biggest problem came with his 3-point shooting. In only 21 attempts, Selden shot 14.3% from behind the arc. That percentage will just not get the job done as a shooting guard in today’s NBA. The thing about Selden is, his biggest asset doesn’t only have to be his shooting. It sometimes is his driving to the basket using his athletic ability to create shots. As seen here, he has the capability to do unbelievable things with a full head of steam. Last year he showed flashes of what that could look like.
Wayne Selden is hopefully ready for the new role that this Grizzlies roster will offer him. He will be competing for the starting 2 guard position since Ben McLemore is sidelined for a few months and Troy Daniels was traded to Phoenix. Depending on how Tyreke Evans fits with the team, Selden has a good chance to secure that starting job. Selden has the intangibles to take it to that next level.
Everyone has heard that because Zach Randolph and Tony Allen are gone, the Grizzlies are going to try and pick up the pace. Well, Selden is your man for that job. It will be very entertaining to see what he can do with the 1st team.
Selden can be a creator when necessary. He will likely gel best with this starting rotation as someone who can swing out wide and help when needed on the offensive side. He will not be called on to do much in the beginning. However, this all hinges on if Selden can find his three-point shot. He will have to make opponents fear him on the wing to create more space on the floor for others to attack.
2017-2018 Best Case Scenario
The best case for Selden is that he gets the 2-guard spot and thrives. From this role, he can let the offense happen around him and does not have to bear the burden of scoring. He develops his three-point shot and turns into something close to the 36.6% shooter he was at Kansas from beyond the arc. Even in the three games with New Orleans, he shot 57.1% from three. He turns into a scary shooter who also can drive and finish around the rim.
On the defensive side of the ball, he brings as much intensity as he can to try and fill the void left from Tony Allen. This turns into a guy who can defend a taller guard on the wing.
2017-2018 Worst Case Scenario
The worst case would be if he never connected with the roster. He doesn’t find his role as a 2 guard and fades away behind Tyreke Evans and then Ben McLemore when he returns. Selden doesn’t develop his shot and his stock slides. People start questioning what is wrong with Selden after getting an offseason contract. The season comes and goes with him only playing in garbage time games as a 9th or 10th man.
Wayne Selden can be the next good young underappreciated talent in Memphis that GM Chris Wallace and company find. The stage is set for him to show off his raw skills while building around the first team. He does not have a long resume to prove his worth, so he is going to have to show the coaches and team that he is their guy right off the bat. Training camp will be important for him.
The most likely scenario is that he or Tyreke Evans are eased into the starting lineup at the 2. The other spots are intact, so the 2 is where he can fit in. The best for Selden is to appreciate the opportunity when he is on the court. It may take a while for it all to click on the offense side of the ball, but the defensive tenacity he has shown at times will catch Coach Fizdale’s eye.
Selden’s three-point shot is somewhere deep down inside him. He will just have to find it to be a critical piece of this offense. Having Marc Gasol feed him the ball from the low post will help create open looks off the pass. Selden has the ability to create off that pass.
Wayne Selden Jr. is faced with an exciting opportunity. He has no worries about moving teams or cities and can fully focus on basketball this year. He will have the chance to prove himself, and Memphis will welcome him with open arms.
All stats provided by Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com