To prepare for the NBA draft lottery, and to get through the dog days between now and then, Grizzly Bear Blues will be running a small mock draft series to show how the draft could shake out if the Memphis Grizzlies landed the first, second, third, fourth, or eighth pick this year. Let’s roll with the fourth pick.
The first sim that resulted in the 4th pick for the Grizzlies went as following: Phoenix, Cleveland, Minnesota, Memphis, New York.
- Phoenix Suns — Zion Williamson, basketball anomaly, Duke University
- Cleveland Cavaliers — R.J. Barrett, ball-handler/wing, Duke University
- Minnesota Timberwolves — Ja Morant, ball-handler, Murray State University
- Memphis Grizzlies — DeAndre Hunter, wing, University of Virginia
- New York Knicks — Jarrett Culver, wing, Texas Tech University
This third pick would be a lot of fun, as it gives Karl-Anthony Towns a legitimate sidekick. In addition, the defensive potential of a Morant, Josh Okogie, and Robert Covington trio is tantalizing.
With Hunter off the board, it’s easier for the Knicks to be safe and roll with Culver. I can also see them be a bit splashy and try to chase someone like Cam Reddish or Bol Bol -- two intriguing boom-or-bust prospects that can fit in either direction the Knicks choose, or be nice assets for a superstar trade.
Picking fourth isn’t an ideal option for the Grizzlies, as this year’s talent pool isn’t as deep as it has been the past few years. In fact, I don’t know how many players outside Zion, Barrett, and Morant would be selected in the top 10 in either draft from the past two years.
However, it doesn’t mean that the Grizzlies can land an impact player here, as there are many directions Memphis could go.
Let’s get this out of the way. I don’t want them to be too cute here. If they want to be splashy and chase Cam Reddish or Bol Bol, do that at 8, not at 4.
They could also look to trade down to acquire more draft picks, which would be nice given that a 2020 or 2021 pick will be gone. Maybe Boston falls in love with someone in the top 5, and they’re willing to give up 2 or even 3 picks. I don’t see Atlanta giving up both top 10 picks this season, but they could very well give them either their own pick or the Dallas one this year and a future draft pick.
Jarrett Culver will be talked about at the 4th pick, and he’s an enticing prospect. He’s listed at 6’5”, but he looks more like a 6’8” wing. His handle isn’t that great, but he’s still flashed upside as a shot creator. His 3-point percentage isn’t ideal, but his mechanics aren’t terrible. He has the potential to be an awesome multi-dimensional defender. For Culver, it all comes down to whether he’s Khris Middleton or Evan Turner.
Darius Garland is a sleeper pick at the 4th pick, or in the top 5 for that matter. Though he’s a relatively unknown commodity right now, he’s heralded for his ability to create and shoot off the dribble from deep, a skill that’s becoming a premium in today’s NBA. If he did play this year, he could’ve found himself in the same tier as RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. If Garland is — and can stay — healthy, the Grizzlies could find its next franchise point guard.
DeAndre Hunter will probably be the most likely pick if the Grizzlies are at the 4th spot. He’s been compared to Kawhi Leonard, and though the comparison is lofty, you can see the similarities. He’s a huge wing with a monster wingspan, which is a prototype for elite multi-positional defenders. He’s also a good three-level scorer with smooth shooting mechanics, and he’s also flashed the upside to shoot the 3-ball.
Pairing Hunter next to Jackson would give the Grizzlies a scary good two-way frontcourt duo, as both players can be defensive nightmares at either the 3-4 or the 4-5.
Either way, there’s not many ways the Grizzlies could go wrong at 4. There are so many possibilities, and the speculation leading up to the draft should be entertaining.