The “race to convey” was the premier storyline after the trade deadline, and it was a divisive topic. Some people wanted to tank for the best pick possible, though there was virtually no chance at top-5 odds. Many wanted to convey the pick to Boston immediately to erase any fear of sending an unprotected 2021 pick to them. Few had to ask what conveying meant.
Regardless, it didn’t matter.
After a successful 2019 draft where they found another cornerstone and one of the biggest steals of the first round, the Grizzlies are faced with another “to convey, or to not convey” discussion, as their 1st-round pick is top-6 protected this year. To save many from pointless, season-long conversations about this topic, I’m here to say that it doesn’t matter whether they convey or not.
The Grizzlies are in a great position regardless.
The Top of the 2020 Draft Class is Nice
I’m not advocating to tank; I’m in the boat where I want to see what happens with what they have. I also don’t see many teams having a worse record than the Grizzlies – maybe, the Knicks, Cavaliers, Hornets, Wizards, and Suns are the only ones I see falling below Memphis in the standings. Don’t be sad if the Grizzlies have to send a draft pick to Boston in 2021. The talent around that top-6 is legit, and most of them fit alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant.
The only questionable fit there is Cole Anthony, who may be another ball-dominant guard, which may cause issues with Morant. The talent is there, nonetheless, and if he’s by far the best on the board, you have to take him.
They have a trio of combo guards that I really like alongside Morant. Anthony Edwards is a great 3-level scorer at the combo guard spot. RJ Hampton is a big guard that can be an excellent fit next to Ja Morant, while alleviating playmaking responsibilities from him. I’m 100% sold on LaMelo Ball and his potential as a NBA star. He’s a legitimate 6’7”, and he already possesses elite playmaking abilities and can create his own shot at all three levels.
Deni Avdija could be the small forward the Grizzlies have been looking for since trading away Rudy Gay. The Israeli prospect projects as a great passer, defender, and shot-creator as a 6’8” forward.
University of Memphis big man James Wiseman will be the big fish most Grizzlies fans will covet. The Tiger is a highly skilled big with phenomenal size, and he can be an elite two-way big in the league. In addition, pairing him with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant would generate the most hype this city has seen since the first-ever playoff run. Wiseman would complicate the fits and futures of Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke, but it could be a move this front office has to make.
Again, the Grizzlies shouldn’t purposefully lose games, because losing could harm the development of young players. If the Grizzlies found themselves in the top-6 of this year’s draft, any of these guys could help Jackson and Morant lower Boston’s chances at a top pick in 2021.
The Acquired Assets Could Offset the Loss
The Grizzlies’ front office did a phenomenal job accumulating assets this summer, which could offset the loss of this pick.
The Grizzlies acquired two first-round picks in the Mike Conley trade, and both have put Memphis in prime position to cash in. Brandon Clarke could be the biggest first-round steal of this year’s draft, as he already projects as a multi-dimensional defender and high-efficiency rim-runner that could eventually become a borderline All-Star. The other pick in this trade could potentially be sent to Memphis in 2022, which may be the first draft since 2005 where high school players can enter – now being coined the “double draft.” With Conley, Joe Ingles, and Bojan Bogdanovic aging, and Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert aging, this pick could be a huge asset for Memphis.
They also acquired four second-round picks for Jevon Carter, Delon Wright, and Kyle Korver. It’s nothing flashy, but they could use these picks on overseas draft-and-stash players or on two-way contract players.
The elusive pick here is the 2024 top-4 protected pick Golden State sent with Andre Iguodala. By then, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green will all be 34+ years old, and the Warriors time as a playoff team may be over by then. It’s a super nice asset that they could use to either add cheap young talent to the Grizzlies’ core, or to use in a big-time trade package.
In addition, the Grizzlies are projected to have $40M in cap room next summer. There are many ways they could go here. They could put pressure on a team by offering a young player a hefty offer sheet, something we’ve seen the Grizzlies succeed in these past two summers. They could also accumulate more picks by taking on bad money into space.
These draft picks and their cap space in 2020 are huge for the Grizzlies’ future flexibility that could make this Boston pick forgettable.
The Pick to Boston may not be that Good
I’ll probably have a bunch of Celtics fans in my mentions after this take, but the pick to Boston may not even be as great as many anticipated.
Before this year’s draft lottery, I was frightened that the Grizzlies would be sending the number one pick to Boston in 2021, as they would have the 8th pick in the 2019 draft and the 5th or 6th pick in 2020. Now, I’m not too worried.
If the Grizzlies end up conveying the pick to Boston this year, and miss out on the James Wiseman sweepstakes, it’s cool. The best spot Boston has is the 7th pick.
If the Grizzlies keep the pick, that’s fine too. They would have another top-six pick to pair with Jackson and Morant. In addition, they would have the cap space to acquire a young player on a long-term deal.
I don’t doubt that a third-year Jaren Jackson Jr., second-year Ja Morant, Jonas Valanciunas, Brandon Clarke, a top-six pick, and maybe someone like Malik Beasley or Bogdan Bogdanovic could be a solid team even in 2021.
Regardless of what happens to this pick, Boston won’t be striking gold here. This could be a similar situation Boston found themselves in with the Sacramento Kings this year.
Don’t worry about conveying this year. Just enjoy watching these young fellas this year, regardless of the outcome.
Enjoy watching Jaren Jackson Jr. blossom into a NBA unicorn.
Enjoy watching Ja Morant grow as a NBA floor general, in the midst of both the highs and lows bound to happen to a rookie point guard.
Enjoy watching Jonas Valanciunas obliterate people like a real-life grizzly bear for offensive rebounds.
Enjoy watching Brandon Clarke fly all over the court for dunks and blocks.
Enjoy watching another young player or two surprise you.
Enjoy watching Taylor Jenkins grow with this young team.
The conveying conversation isn’t worth having this year. Despite the debt they have to pay, the front office has crafted a situation that nullifies it, creating a bright future for the Memphis Grizzlies.