When the Grizzlies signed Shelvin Mack back on August 7th, the Grizzlies created a logjam at the point guard position. With a healthy Mike Conley returning along with Andrew Harrison and Kobi Simmons on the roster, someone had to go. The Grizzlies ultimately cut Kobi Simmons on August 28th, creating an open two-way roster spot. Simmons has since signed a 1-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the Grizzlies have yet to fill Simmons’ roster spot. As training camp nears, speculation will begin to heat up as there is a handful of young talent the Grizzlies seem to be interested.
Who is in contention to partner up with Yuta Watanabe as the Grizzlies second two-way player? Let’s find out
The former Memphis Tiger and Ole Miss Rebel, Markel Crawford broke out with a solid summer league performance with the Grizzlies. Crawford averaged nearly 10 points a game in Vegas while shooting 45.8% from beyond the arc and 53.1% overall. Crawford also showed the ability to defend multiple positions on the wing. His standout performance earned him a spot on the Grizzlies training camp roster, and he will report to the Memphis Hustle after training camp if he doesn’t make the Grizzlies roster, per Jon Roser. Crawford would have a difficult time competing with Dillon Brooks, Wayne Selden Jr., and Garrett Temple for minutes with the Grizzlies, but he would do well in Southaven.
Both Tiger and Rebel fans will be able to make trips to the Landers Center to see Markel play. Basketball-wise, Crawford would slide right in and start at the 2 guard position, vacant now that Kobi Simmons is gone.
The former Florida Gulf Coast product Brandon Goodwin was another Grizzlies summer league standout. Goodwin averaged 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists per game in Vegas, including a huge 27 point game against the Trail Blazers. Goodwin signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Grizzlies following summer league and is expected to join the Hustle if he doesn’t make the Grizzlies roster. Goodwin would fill the shoes of Marquis Teague if Teague gets an NBA deal or decides to play overseas. If Teague sticks with the Hustle, they could trot out a dual point guard lineup with both Goodwin and Teague that would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Shortly after waiving Dakari Johnson, Jon Roser broke news that the Grizzlies were signing Doral Moore to a training camp deal. The 7’1” center out of Wake Forest averaged 11 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks last season. Another player expected to join the Hustle after camp, Moore provides the Grizzlies organization with a huge presence down low. Moore does all of his damage at the rim, as he had 88 dunks last season alone for the Demon Deacons. The Grizzlies only have one true center on their roster in Marc Gasol. Is Moore a serious candidate for the other two way, or just a big body for the Grizzlies to use in camp? We’ll find out soon enough.
Almost immediately after Kobi Simmons was cut, everyone in Memphis started speculating DJ Stephens would be the one to take Simmons’ roster spot. Shortly before Simmons was cut, Stephens told his France team he was leaving to sign a two-way contract with an NBA team. Stephens’ hasn’t signed a two-way deal or even a training camp deal with any team, but has repped the Grizzlies on social media throughout the summer.
Signing Stephens to a two-way deal would be a great marketing move for the organization. DJ is one of the most popular Tigers of all time and fans would make the 40 minute drive down to Southaven to see the high-flying athlete play. However, the 27 year old isn’t your typical two-way player as he’s a bit older and didn’t necessarily stand out in Vegas, only averaging 4 points a game. Stephens may not bring much to the table basketball-wise, but he’d bring the organization a ton of money as the 17th man on the Grizzlies roster.
It’s possible the Grizzlies already have a deal with DJ Stephens in place and just haven’t announced it. It’s also possible the Grizzlies want to bring everyone into camp and let the best man earn the two-way contract. There’s also the potential that another team makes a shocking roster cut, similar to the way the Grizzlies cut Wade Baldwin IV last season. The Grizzlies will be wise to leave the spot open until the end of camp to fully evaluate their options. As the Grizzlies near the breaking point of whether or not they need to blow it up and rebuild or not, it would be beneficial to fill their open two-way spot with a player who could help the team with whichever direction they go.