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2018 NBA Draft Prospects by Fit: Tier 2

How do the “Tier 2” Prospects fit on the current Grizzlies roster?

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We are just several days away from the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery where the Grizzlies will find out which pick in the top 5 they will be selecting in the NBA Draft on June 21st. Ever since the season ended, the talk around Memphis has been about who the Grizzlies should draft, how important this draft is, and whether or not the Grizzlies should trade the pick for more established talent.

The Grizzlies have a 55.8% chance of getting a top 3 pick in the draft, which would likely guarantee that at least one of DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, or Luka Doncic will be available when the Grizzlies are the clock. It’s very likely one of those 3 players are selected by the Grizzlies if they are available. If the Grizzlies end up with the 4th or 5th pick, things get a little cloudy for Memphis.

The second tier of prospects have their question marks, but should still be in the Grizzlies rotation next season. The Top 3 prospects have been previously discussed. In this feature, I’m going to highlight what I consider the second tier prospects the Grizzlies should consider and how those players would fit with the current roster. My second tier consists of Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Michael Porter Jr., and Trae Young. Worst case scenario, the Grizzlies should have their option of 3 of these 4 players if they end up picking 5th in the draft. (Apologies to Mo Bamba, Miles Bridges and Wendell Carter who just missed the “second tier” cut)

Players are listed alphabetically. This is not necessarily how I think the Grizzlies should use each player, but more so what I expect J.B. Bickerstaff, Chris Wallace, and the Grizzlies Front Office to do. I am not including any potential free agent deals, as free agency decisions will likely be dependent on what happens June 21st.

Mikal Bridges

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PG- Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, Kobi Simmons

SG- Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks, Ben McLemore

SF- Dillon Brooks, Mikal Bridges, Myke Henry

PF- JaMychal Green, Chandler Parsons, Jarell Martin

C- Marc Gasol, Deyonta Davis, Ivan Rabb

Mikal Bridges would fit the Grizzlies need of a scoring wing player. He will likely start the season off the bench, as both Wayne Selden Jr. and Dillon Brooks will be more familiar with the Grizzlies system. Bridges would allow the Grizzlies to rotate their handful of wings however they like, while also allowing Parsons to play most his minutes as a stretch-four. Bridges fits well with the Grizzlies, but is considered a lesser prospect compared to the remaining 3 in my “second tier”.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

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PG- Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, Kobi Simmons

SG- Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks, Ben McLemore

SF- Dillon Brooks, Chandler Parsons, Myke Henry

PF- JaMychal Green, Jaren Jackson Jr., Ivan Rabb

C- Marc Gasol, Deyonta Davis

Jaren Jackson Jr. is considered a top prospect based off potential more so than his actual college production. Jackson averaged barely over 10 points a game and less than 6 rebounds in only 22 minutes per game last season, but is regarded highly by scouts as a potential “unicorn” in this years draft. Jackson would help the Grizzlies more immediately on the defensive end, where he’s been compared to Serge Ibaka in other mock drafts. Jackson would slide in the same position as Marvin Bagley III would in the Grizzlies rotation. Behind JaM to start the season, but if he grows he could become the starter by the end of the season or almost certainly at the start of 2018 if Jackson improves enough for the Grizzlies to let JaM leave in free agency.

Michael Porter Jr.

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PG- Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, Kobi Simmons

SG- Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks, Ben McLemore

SF- Michael Porter Jr., Dillon Brooks, Myke Henry

PF- JaMychal Green, Chandler Parsons, Jarell Martin

C- Marc Gasol, Deyonta Davis, Ivan Rabb

Before a back injury cost him nearly all of his only season at Missouri, Michael Porter Jr. was considered the top prospect for the 2018 NBA draft. The back injury (and the Grizzlies injury history) is definitely worrisome, but Porter is well worth a look if the Grizzlies are picking 4th or 5th in the draft. Porter’s ceiling has been compared to that of Kevin Durant and would be a great addition to the Grizzlies if he can stay healthy. Porter is an athletic wing who can be a point-forward as well as work great off the ball. I believe the Grizzlies would insert a healthy Porter into the starting lineup opening night, since his more well-rounded skill set fits well alongside Conley and Gasol. Porter also adds flexibility to the Grizzlies lineup as he can play power forward as well.

Trae Young

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PG- Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, Trae Young

SG- Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks, Ben McLemore

SF- Dillon Brooks, Myke Henry

PF- JaMychal Green, Chandler Parsons, Jarell Martin

C- Marc Gasol, Deyonta Davis, Ivan Rabb

Trae Young is arguably the most polarizing player in the 2018 draft. In 19 of 21 games from November thru January, Young scored over 20 points per game in Steph Curry-like action. Young still scored a bunch, but his efficiency went way down once February hit. He shot the ball much worse and turned the ball over a ton. A large part of this was due to the fact Young had basically no help at Oklahoma and was the focal point of opposing teams defenses. He may not be able to lead a team like Stephen Curry leads the Warriors, but Young’s shooting and playmaking abilities still make him an interesting prospect.

Young would likely begin the season as the 3rd string point guard after Andrew Harrison’s strong end to last season, but he would likely get more playing time than most 3rd string point guards. The Grizzlies like to play Harrison as a shooting guard with Conley. Young could play the point with Harrison and the other guards essentially playing down a position. Young could also get extended minutes with Conley on the floor. Young’s floor spacing abilities would allow open lanes for Conley to drive in and allow the Grizzlies offense to be moving at all times.

The addition of Young would force the Grizzlies shooting guards to play more small forward, but in today's “positionless” basketball, it shouldn’t be a huge deal.


The Grizzlies would obviously prefer a top 3 pick in the draft when the lottery rolls around next week, but it’s not the end of the world if they end up with the 4th or 5th pick. Each of the above players (and others) figure to at least be solid role players in the NBA as well as potential stars.

Come back Monday as we roll out our Top Tier by Fit prospects!

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