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What Might Have Been: 2015 NBA Draft

It honestly wasn’t terrible...

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next week and a half, I’m going to look back at each draft for the Memphis Grizzlies since the infamous 2009 proceedings. I’ll discuss what their pick would’ve been — in a semi-satirical way — if he was selected by another team. In addition, I’ll do the same about players they passed on if they were picked by the Memphis Grizzlies instead. Then, I’ll wrap it up by making sense on the pick and if it was the right call at the time. With that, let’s continue this “What Might Have Been” series with the 2011 draft — the first one with a traded pick.

Check out the 2009 Draft “What Might Have Been” here.

Check out the 2010 Draft “What Might Have Been” here.

Check out the 2011 Draft “What Might Have Been” here.

Check out the 2012 Draft “What Might Have Been” here.

Check out the 2013 Draft “What Might Have Been” here.

Check out the 2014 Draft “What Might Have Been” here.

I don’t know what it was, but I wasn’t invested in this draft at all. It’s weird, because I always had an interest in the draft for the Grizzlies for as long as I could remember. In 2007, it was Greg Oden. 2008, Michael Beasley. 2009, Ricky Rubio and Tyreke Evans. 2011, Paul George. 2014, Rodney Hood. 2016, Denzel Valentine and Skal Labissiere. 2018, Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley.

There was always a reason for me to be invested, and I couldn’t find a reason to be as tuned in for the 2015 draft. Was it the lack of depth? From memory, it was a top-heavy draft. Or was it the stage of life I was in? At the time, I had just graduated high school and was relishing the summer memories with friends I wasn’t going to be within a 10-minute radius of after a few months. I watched the Grizzlies make their pick from my phone while I was at orientation for college.

Woah, time flies.

Anyways, this pre-draft process was fun, as there were some conspiracies out there about a promise being given out to Jarell Martin. In addition, many people — including myself, I guess — wanted RJ Hunter, a shooter out of Georgia State.

Well, both directions weren’t necessarily the right one. Let’s get rolling.

The Pick — Jarell Martin

What happened:

The “Promised One” had some upside as a prospect. He has good size, he’s a fluid athlete, and he could be a damn wrecking ball at times. Martin just couldn’t put it together in Memphis. Though he had potential as a small-ball 4, he was erratic and lacked a good enough basketball IQ to make good reads — like most playmaking 4’s. In addition, his jumper was subpar, which is the death kiss for modern 4’s.

He, like many draftees of the Grizzlies’ past, didn’t make it to the end of his rookie deal, as he was traded to the Orlando Magic last offseason.

What Would’ve Happened if He Went to Another Team:

Jarell Martin would’ve gone somewhere they can channel his athleticism and explosiveness into productive basketball. He also would’ve played his natural position (4) instead of being forced to play the 3 — I’m still livid about that, as a position-less connoisseur.

The “What Might’ve Been”

(I won’t even mention RJ Hunter, because he hasn’t done anything in the NBA).

  • Montrezl Harrell

What Happened:

Harrell has evolved into one of the better small-ball 5’s in basketball, as well as the best backup big man in the game. He’s a beast on the glass, as he generated plenty of 20-10 games last season as a Clipper. In addition, he’s improved his ability to take players off the dribble.

At $6M annually for last season and next year, Harrell is one of the best bargains in the game.

What Might’ve Happened if he became a Grizzly:

He would’ve been stuck at the 4, as the Grizzlies have never been position-less apologists like me.

  • Larry Nance Jr.

What Happened:

Nance, to a less extreme, is similar to Harrell. Both can play either big position, but thrive as small-ball 5’s. Nance is also a solid rebounder and excels at finishing above the rim. He’ll probably end up flying under the radar in Cleveland for the remainder of his prime.

What Might’ve Happened if he became a Grizzly:

[See Montrezl Harrell “What Might’ve Happened if he became a Grizzly”]

Honestly, I’m apathetic about this draft.

Martin wasn’t the right pick, knowing what we know now. However, it was hard to know if he was the right guy at the time. The pool of talent down there wasn’t strong, so there wasn’t a clear miss here — like taking Tony Wroten over Draymond Green.

In addition, I would be pretty upset if the Grizzlies gave up on Harrell and Nance like they did with Martin, then watched him blossom into what they are now elsewhere.

So I don’t know how I feel.

How do you feel? Comment your thoughts below.

Follow @sbngrizzlies.