WHO: Memphis Grizzlies representatives Elliot Perry (minority owner) and guest Grizzlies Prep student Courtney Love
WHAT: 2018 NBA Draft Lottery
WHEN: 6:30 PM CT
WHERE: Chicago, Illinois
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN, espn.com/watch
The road to potentially getting back to that picture at the top of this article starts tonight.
The Memphis Grizzlies are a team to watch at this evening’s 2018 NBA Draft Lottery. Outside of the Phoenix Suns, who have a 25% chance at landing the top overall pick, the Grizzlies have the best odds (19.9%) at selecting whoever they want as the #1 selection of the draft on June 21st. Memphis cannot fall any lower than 5th tonight in the lottery, and they have a 55.8% chance - a little bit better than a coin flip - at a top three selection.
That should be the hope of every Memphis Grizzlies fan this evening - to be in that top three. Picking there all but guarantees the Grizzlies a shot at taking one of three-ish talents that have the potential to be the next faces of this Memphis franchise. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and international prospect Luka Doncic are widely considered the two very best prospects in this draft, and just below them are Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. Even if the Grizzlies fall to three and miss out on Doncic and Ayton, their preference between the two bigs, Bagley or Jackson, would be a great swing at a generational talent.
However, if the ping pong balls do not go their way and Memphis falls to #4 or especially #5 overall, things get iffy. You would be dealing with more prospects with potentially elite talent but real questions, like Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. (health), Texas’ Mohamed Bamba (raw, unrefined ability), and Oklahoma’s Trae Young (NBA fit and 2nd half of season issues). You also are far more likely to see trade rumors swirl around the Grizzlies if this occurs - Memphis cannot trade this pick outright, but they can trade the rights to the pick once it is made. The Grizzlies themselves have stated that this option is in play, but haven’t specified if it is more likely depending on lottery placement.
It stands to reason that it very much is dependent on lottery placement.
This is one of the most important events in Memphis sports history. The results of this evening will be the beginnings of an offseason that will directly impact the next decade of Grizzlies basketball. This pick will be counted on to lead the Grizzlies in to the next decade.
It starts tonight. Stick with GBB throughout the day/week ahead for more coverage of the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery.