Well, here we are. The mock moment we all saw coming...but still weren’t mock prepared for.
In case you’re just joining us, here’s the deal. Every year before the NBA Draft we here at Grizzly Bear Blues put on a mock draft of epic proportions. This isn’t your granddaddy’s mock draft - there are trades (lots of them, as you’re about to see) that have to be approved unanimously by our trade panel (former GBBer/current Patreon page owner Matt Hrdlicka, NBA Twitter hero Sagar Trika, and Peter Edmiston of Sports56 WHBQ in Memphis and The Athletic) - and also all thirty teams are represented by a collection of GBB contributors, GBB community members/readers/Twitter followers, and members of the Memphis media.
Here’s where we stand six picks in-
- New Orleans Pelicans - Zion Williamson, forward, Duke University
- Memphis Grizzlies - Ja Morant, guard, Murray State University
- Atlanta Hawks (via New York) - RJ Barrett, wing, Duke University
- New York Knicks (via Atlanta via LA Lakers) - Jarrett Culver, wing, Texas Tech
- Houston Rockets (via Cleveland) - De’Andre Hunter, wing, Virginia
- Phoenix Suns - Darius Garland, guard, Vanderbilt
Let’s just get right to it, so you all can yell at me.
The Chicago Bulls have traded the #7 pick in the 2019 Mock NBA Draft, Cristiano Felicio, Denzel Valentine, and the 2020 2nd round pick of the Memphis Grizzlies to Memphis for Mike Conley and Ivan Rabb.
(Looks around to make sure the coast is clear)
OK, let me explain.
For Chicago, this is a no brainer. There really isn’t “great” value at #7 overall in terms of sure fire prospects. Coby White is probably the best player available that isn’t a risky pick, and he’s not helping them raise their ceiling much. With the trade for Otto Porter Jr. last season, Chicago is primed to compete for the playoffs now. They just need a star-caliber player that can fit their young roster nicely...
Enter Mike Conley.
A Conley/Zach Lavine/Porter/Lauri Markkanen/Wendell Carter Jr. starting five is a PROBLEM, and Chicago keeps the likes of Kris Dunn in this deal to help man the 2nd unit. Ivan Rabb should provide scoring and rebounding for their reserves, and the Bulls still have cap wiggle room to bring in other bench pieces via various exceptions.
For Memphis? #7 overall is probably the highest “realistic” pick the Grizzlies can hope for when trading Mike. There is a player with very high upside on the board (you’ll see soon) and the Grizzlies mock GM (me) plans on taking him and trying to move his rights as part of a larger deal down the road. Denzel Valentine is fine as a bench wing, and Cristiano Felicio, while expensive, is also fine as a bench big. The Grizzlies save about $22 million this season in this deal, enabling them to be a bit more clean financially. Besides, as long as Jaren and Ja’s future is secure? The money spent the next three seasons is relative. With Ja Morant in the fold, and Delon Wright likely returning to Memphis, it didn’t make sense to keep Mike.
Plus, righting the wrong (kind of) of the Justin Holiday trade felt nice.
Now...sigh...the moment I have been dreading.
With the 7th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select Cam Reddish, wing, Duke University
If you’ve followed GBB, you know I do not like Cam Reddish as a prospect. He has all the tools, but mentally he may not be fully engaged. He has a lot of Jeff Green to him. I’ve been burned once by Jeff Green. I don’t want to get hurt again.
So why take him here? He’s the highest ceiling prospect on the board (Bol Bol being a close 2nd, stay tuned), and I have a master plan. I am hopeful an opening will present itself within a larger deal that will allow for me to execute it. Worst case, I will be moving Cam for a later pick in this draft and hopefully a future 1st to another team that believes in his potential. All it takes is one deal - and one mock GM - to take advantage of the opportunity a talent like Reddish presents.
The skill set is tantalizing. But in Memphis, odds are it won’t work out. If Reddish ever wears a mock Grizzlies jersey, I’ll be surprised.
Stick around. Memphis isn’t done...hopefully.
On to #8-
With the 8th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers (via Atlanta) select Bol Bol, center, University of Oregon
This pick by mock GM Justin Lewis of GBB is somewhat surprising. LeBron James is still on the Lakers (for now) and while Bol Bol is arguably the top high-risk, high-reward player in this draft he doesn’t necessarily like up with the time line of the King. Bol’s range on the perimeter and sheer size make him a fun prospect to watch and root for, but his foot injury disrupted his top pick potential. It’s very possible this pick is a home run for the Lakers and they just added a stud modern big to put next to Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball long-term.
Or...perhaps the Lakers are pulling a Mock Grizzlies.
The Community Mock NBA Draft rolls on!