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The 10 Worst Draft Picks in Memphis Grizzlies History: Part I - The Bad and the Ugly

The 2014 & 2016 Drafts highlight some of 10 worst Grizzlies draft decisions

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA Draft Lottery behind us, we have a little over a month to discuss, debate and argue who the Grizzlies should pick with the 4th overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Inspired by Joe Mullinax’s Top 10 draft picks in Memphis Grizzlies history last week, I’ve decided to take a look at the 10 worst draft picks in history. Before I count down the list, some important notes -

  1. These are players selected either by the Grizzlies or for the Grizzlies by another team, so yes this is including trades. Essentially, the player had to be selected by/for the Grizzlies and played their first games with the Memphis Grizzlies.
  2. Like Joe, I am starting with 2001 as this is history for the MEMPHIS Grizzlies. Also because I was 7 when the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, my memory of the Vancouver Grizzlies is shady.
  3. All draft picks, 1st and 2nd round, are included.
  4. This is not necessarily an indictment on the player, as some have turned out to have solid careers. In those instances, it’s more of an indictment to the front office and the Grizzlies player development.
  5. Thanks for the historical drafts that fit criteria #1 (example: shows O.J. Mayo as Grizzlies draft selection instead of Kevin Love)
  6. Criteria considered while ranking these picks: games played with Grizzlies, where they were selected, as well as various statistical categories and overall roles while with the Grizzlies. Highlighted players selected after the Grizzlies selection were not considered in my rankings, but have been included to break your heart.

With the basic rules out of the way, let’s take a look at #’s 10-6.

10. Jarnell Stokes (35th Overall)

Memphis Grizzlies v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Jarnell Stokes is a bit of an emotional selection for this ranking. There are other Grizzlies 2nd round picks who were non-factors with the Grizzlies, but Jarnell had more hype and excitement with his selection. Grizzlies fans were excited when the Grizzlies traded with the Utah Jazz to grab Stokes in the 2014 NBA Draft. Stokes was a Memphis native, who spent 3 seasons at the University of Tennessee. Stokes was a dominant force in the State of Tennessee for many years and fans expected Stokes to replicate that success with the Grizzlies.

Unfortunately for Stokes, his career never took off as he was too short to play center and didn’t have enough range to play power forward effectively. In 1.5 seasons with the Grizzlies, Stokes appeared in 21 games and averaged less than 5 minutes a game, scoring only 2.4 points a game. The biggest “highlight” during Stokes’ Grizzlies tenure was when he got into a fight with fellow D-League teammate Kalin Lucas during a game.

Players selected after Stokes: Nikola Jokic (41st Overall), Jordan Clarkson (46th Overall)

9. Rade Zagorac (35th Overall)

NBA: Preseason-New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Rade Zagorac’s inclusion on this list is a by-product of the Grizzlies front office’s ineptitude this past summer. Zagorac was a draft and stash player in the 2016 NBA Draft. After dominating overseas, Zagorac got hyped up by fans and the media, resulting in the Grizzlies signing him to a 3 year contract last summer.

Everyone remembers the Grizzlies signing too many players last offseason, resulting in them having to make roster cuts on players with guaranteed money on their contracts, with Zagorac as one of those players (and the other coming up on this list). Zagorac was cut before he could play a regular season game for the Grizzlies, but he looked slow and struggled to adapt to the NBA level of play during summer league and preseason. The Grizzlies will be paying Zagorac $1.3 million this next season to NOT play for them.

Players selected after Zagorac: Malcolm Brogdon (36th Overall), Patrick McCaw (38th Overall)

8. Wade Baldwin IV (17th Overall)

NBA: Preseason-New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Wade Baldwin IV, along with Zagorac, was cut in large part due to the Grizzlies signing too many players last offseason. In his lone season with the Grizzlies, Baldwin played in 33 games, averaging 3.2 points on just under 33% shooting. Baldwin struggled putting the ball in the basket during his Grizzlies tenure and also reportedly had an ego problem that played a role in the decision to cut him. It’s too early to tell how Baldwin’s career will play out, but it’s still unfortunate the Grizzlies 2016 first round pick only lasted one season in Memphis.

Players selected after Baldwin: Caris LeVert (20th Overall), Dejounte Murray (29th Overall), Malcolm Brogdon (36th Overall), Patrick McCaw (38th Overall)

7. DeMarre Carroll (27th Overall)

Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Grizzlies second first round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft has turned out to have a solid career. It just didn’t happen with the Grizzlies. DeMarre Carroll has turned himself into a respectable 3 and D player in the league after struggling in his Grizzlies tenure.

In 78 games with the Grizzlies, Carroll played 10.7 minutes per game, but only averaged 2.8 points and 2 rebounds a game. Carroll also did not have the range he does now, as he went 0-6 from 3 point range throughout his season and a half with the Grizzlies. Carroll was another first round pick the Grizzlies appear to have given up on too early, as he found success in Utah and has been a reliable player ever since.

Players selected after Carroll: Patrick Beverley (42nd Overall), Danny Green (46th Overall), Patty Mills (55th Overall)

6. Jordan Adams (22nd Overall)

Memphis Grizzlies v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Following a 50 win season, and a narrow loss to the OKC Thunder in the first round, the Grizzlies drafted Jordan Adams in the first round to bring in scoring off the bench. Injuries derailed Adams’ career before it really had a chance to take off.

In minimal playing time, Adams averaged 3.2 points a game in his 32 career games with the Grizzlies. Adams played only 2 games in his second season before sitting out with knee soreness and eventually had surgery, knocking him out for the year. Adams would miss the following season as well after more knee surgeries.

The Grizzlies striking out in the 2014 Draft puts a damper on the team as they were entering their prime. Had Adams or Stokes panned out, the Grizzlies might have had even more success in the Grit-N-Grind era.

Players selected after Adams: Rodney Hood (23rd Overall, Dave Joerger is still pissed), Clint Capela (25th Overall), Kyle Anderson (30th Overall), Nikola Jokic (41st Overall), Jordan Clarkson (46th Overall)

All stats from

Check back tomorrow for Part II, looking at #’s 5-1!