Since the end of the season, all the hype for the Memphis Grizzlies has been centered around what changes will be happening to quickly turn around the team’s misfortune. Most people think that change will easily come through the NBA Draft. However, the change is not going to be as easy as nailing one draft pick.
It all begins with thinking realistically. This mindset needs to be emphasized for all decisions during the draft and then continuing throughout the whole offseason. This goes for the front office and the fans as well. Both need to understand that one draft does not change it all. If you’re looking for Superman in this draft class to fly in and save this franchise, you’ll be waiting a long time.
The team has many problems that need to be addressed outside of just adding a number 4 pick. The selection will help, but it will not be the only change needed. The Grizzlies are going to need to think about a youth movement instead of an instant one or two year “fix.” Chris Wallace must put in the same amount of focus in (allegedly) scouting prospects as he does for free agency and beyond.
As most Grizzlies fans know by now, it is never an easy ride and transition with this current front office group running things. This group is going to have to make correct decisions that are sustainable long-term to keep this franchise at a level the community and city of Memphis deserve.
This offseason, starting with the NBA Draft, will go down as one of the most crucial for the Grizzlies. They are riding the fine line between perpetual mediocrity and back to making a playoff push. It is critical the front office makes the decisions needed to smooth the transition from cellar dwellers back into relevancy.
With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at the priorities and expectations for this key draft.
We begin with what everyone has been talking and writing about for about a month now, the NBA Draft. As we all know by now, it takes place on June 21st, 2018 and will be the first major decision of the offseason barring a trade.
Looking at this decision with a bird's eye view, the main objective for the Grizzlies should be to draft someone that fits the idea of building a young core moving forward. As mentioned, this team is not one piece away, so even a home run draft pick will not be enough to make a deep run next season. It is not important to find a perfect fit for the roster as it is currently built.
The front office needs to think that this pick, along with Dillon Brooks, will be a cornerstone to rebuild the franchise. Choosing this path makes the most logical sense for the Grizzlies in their current state. Again, thinking realistically, one draft pick is not going to make this healthy team contend for a championship next year, so why would you draft with that mindset? It is more beneficial for the team to instead take a prospect that will eventually grow into a superstar.
Another angle to the draft that could help the franchise long term is possibly trading the first pick and building future assets. This is much easier said than done though. It will only work if the Grizzlies have someone on their draft board that is higher than other teams have him. If that is the case, fall back in the draft order, pick up an additional asset, and take the player you would have taken at number 4.
The NBA Draft is an important first step to build on young assets and a potential superstar. It is will be an exciting and new process to watch since the Grizzlies have not recently had many Draft day concerns.
Franchise Direction Going Forward
The next few years may be trying times for the Grizzlies. They may need to take at least three years to adjust to this transition from the old guard to the new. This will come from the franchise making a critical decision of the direction they want Memphis to go. One of the biggest factors in sustaining this rebuild is keeping and adding assets for more chances to find players to make a rebuild possible.
As obvious as that sounds, it will be a decision the front office will have to make in the first month or two of the season next year. The Boston Celtics own the Grizzlies 2019 pick (thanks Jeff Green), however, that pick is top-8 protected, so if the Grizzlies stay in the top-8 again, it rolls into next season. The Grizzlies would ideally like to keep this pick, but it comes with a price of not contending again next season. It is a tough decision that will have to be made early. The worst case scenario is that they fall in between decisions and end up with a late lottery pick that transfers to Boston without a good season.
No matter how they approach this offseason it is important to know the direction of the franchise ahead of time. My best advice would be to build for three or five years down the line. Stash a solid draft pick and maybe some future assets while prepping for the future. From that, they can have Marc and Mike be the mentors for a new team to take the torch. Soon enough, the team will be making the playoffs consistently like the Memphis Grizzlies faithful deserve.