Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, right?
The Memphis Grizzlies may well be on a path toward proving that idea to be a hard fact of life soon enough.
In this week’s Mock NBA Draft roundup we will lead off with a player who, if taken by the Grizzlies at #4 overall in June’s NBA Draft, could very well make Memphis in an NBA world where versatility is king.
It could also condemn them to the role of the pauper in the Association, looking up at the rest of the teams in the western conference as they toss another wasted draft pick on to the scrap heap.
Sean Deveney, Sporting News - Michael Porter Jr., Forward, University of Missouri
It may not be a suit worth hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. The meaning of the polo and khakis look is the same though - unable to play due to injury. Memphis Grizzlies fans have seen that a ton over the years. Chandler Parsons, Mike Conley, Brandan Wright...a long and distinguished list of extinguished hopes for games, lineups, and entire seasons.
Michael Porter Jr., and his recovery from back surgery, would fit right in.
He is an elite talent, of course. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News focuses on that in his pick for Memphis-
The Grizzlies need a guy who can change the franchise. Porter had back surgery at the end of last year, and there are questions about his overall toughness, but the fact that he returned to play at the end of the year is a point in his favor. He entered the season as a potential No. 1 pick, and could yet live up to that billing.
Assuming the top three goes chalk (Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III), if the choice is between Jaren Jackson Jr. of Michigan State and Porter, Porter makes the most sense for the Grizzlies. A wing who is versatile and able to score in bunches would fit very well for Memphis both now and moving in to whatever the next era of Grizzlies basketball will look like.
That back, though, will continue to be the focus. Here’s to hoping that situation gets a little more clear moving forward and he chooses Memphis as a squad to give access to medical records to. Otherwise, he can’t be the pick.
Reid Forgrave, CBS Sports - Marvin Bagley III, Forward, Duke University
If only we could be so fortunate.
Bagley figures to be a star in the NBA thanks in large part to his natural ability, which he appears to have a remarkable amount of. Whether he is compared to Chris Bosh or is called a “skinny Zach Randolph”, Bagley’s offensive game has lots of potential. What really makes him special, though, is what Memphis would love most about Bagley.
...Bagley is a physical marvel who works harder than anyone else on the floor. Bagley’s and Ayton’s collegiate stats were virtually identical: Bagley averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and shot 39.7 percent from 3-point range, while Ayton averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 assists and shot 34.3 percent from 3-point range. All things being equal, I’m tempted to go against the emerging consensus and take Bagley over Ayton as No. 1. That motor is what sets Bagley apart.
Bagley dominated the ACC and showed the ability to take over games. Could his defense be better? Absolutely. Are there holes in his game? For sure.
Is he a physical freak, a possible “unicorn” who could be a star in the league for years to come? Definitely. That, at four overall, you take every time.
If Doncic Falls...
More and more there have been rumblings of a possible drop out of the top three for Luka Doncic in this draft. Concerns about athleticism and lateral quickness and defensive fit and “is he a point guard” creep up, and some reports say that there’s a 50/50 chance that Doncic may actually be there at four for Memphis. How much this is angling from Doncic’s representation and how much is legit remains to be seen.
This would be a dream scenario for the Grizzlies, though.
Doncic has achieved more at his young age than any player arguably in the history of the NBA Draft. His skill set fits the modern NBA like a glove, and he in particular works well theoretically in Memphis. He can create for others as well as himself, he can get to the basket, he can embrace the moment and attack it because he has already been there and done that, even at 19 years old. He can make the Grizzlies better now and also be the face of the future for this franchise.
“But his athleticism, though...”
At #1 overall? Maybe with Ayton there as well you talk yourself out of it. If Sacramento and Atlanta are foolish enough to overthink this? You take Doncic with a big freaking smile on your face.
He won’t be there. But if Doncic does indeed fall to the Grizzlies, there should be much rejoicing in Memphis on draft night.