WHAT: The 2019 NBA Draft
WHEN: 6:30 PM CT
WHERE: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN/WatchESPN App
The 2019 NBA Draft is finally here...and even with Ja Morant soon becoming a Memphis Grizzly, the events of the past 24 hours have made this event feel less predictable than it did this time last week.
The Mike Conley trade has opened up a lot of possibilities, and potentially has created new questions just when you think you have the old answers. Zachary Kleiman and company now have a massive trade exception and another pick at their disposal in the festivities, so whether you’re watching the festivities go down with us at The Bluff, down at FedExForum, at another watch party or in the comfort of your own home, there is much more to look for than just celebrating the arrival of Morant in Memphis.
Like what, you ask?
What will Ja Morant wear?
This obviously doesn’t really matter, but again...the certainty for Memphis is hilariously at #2 overall. Barring Zion Williamson falling in to their laps (spoiler alert - this will not happen), Ja Morant is the man for the Grizzlies at the second pick. That became even more apparent after the Mike Conley trade - this is now the team of Jaren Jackson Jr. and his running mate to be, and Morant makes sense for Memphis for a multitude of reasons.
During the process vetting RJ Barrett made sense. Now? The Grizzlies should be back at the start...and Morant is that new beginning Memphis is very fortunate to have had happen for them through the draft lottery.
So will Ja be sporting a fancy suit? Will he dress down? How will he handle the spotlight? Those are all superfluous things to keep an eye on...because who the Grizzlies take is 99.9% a stone cold lock.
From there? Things could get weird.
Who is the choice at #23?
Technicalities and legal fine print will say this pick is made by the Utah Jazz. But come July 6th, these rights will be sent to Memphis, and Utah will be taking who the Grizzlies want for them at #23 overall. There are lots of ways this can go - the experience of a Cameron Johnson from North Carolina, or Ty Jerome from Virginia, the raw potential of a Bol Bol, the youthful ability of a Kevin Porter Jr. or Darius Bazley. This selection will be another look in to the vision of the Grizzlies front office both short and long-term for Memphis - it’s unlikely that this pick becomes a superstar, but it isn’t impossible. They surely should be a contributor, either immediately or with a high ceiling for star potential down the road.
Look for a Williams or Jerome selection here. Morant and Jackson Jr. are your future superstars and cornerstones - you need pieces that compliment them. Williams (defensive IQ and offensive glue abilities like screen setting and facilitation) and Jerome (shooting, creation off the dribble) fit the bill, and should be able to contribute right away.
How long will Korver and Crowder be Grizzlies?
Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder - especially Korver - do not figure to be longed for this Grizzlies world. Korver has a partially guaranteed contract and is 38 years old, so he probably wants no part of a rebuild. Crowder is younger and more functional for the Grizzlies, but Memphis could flip him to a team with space that is a contender for a future pick - or perhaps even a 2nd rounder in this draft.
Chances are neither are traded during tonight’s festivities...but considering neither are long-term Grizzlies, anything is on the table. It also begs the question what may be the future of Ivan Rabb, or Jevon Carter, as Memphis revamps their roster. A Ty Jerome pick at #23, after a Morant signing, and a Delon Wright return results in a squeeze for Ja. Same with a Grant Williams selection for Rabb, especially considering Crowder/Chandler Parsons/C.J. Miles all can eat minutes at the 4 as well.
An open draft leads to calls you wouldn’t expect and possibilities - especially with the resources now at the disposal of the Grizzlies - that may not have been realistic before. Be on the lookout for something more beyond #23.
Let’s do this-
- Ja Morant will be taken #2 overall. NAILED IT.
- Ty Jerome will be the pick at #23. Extraordinary basketball IQ, floor spacing potential, ability to contribute now.
- Memphis will acquire a 2nd round pick and take another capable three point shooter, probably via trading two future 2nds for a pick in the 30’s. Chuma Okeke, Admiral Schofield (Tennessee ties), and Dylan Windler are all names to watch.
Happy drafting! Hope to see you at The Bluff Memphis tonight!