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Grizzlies Free Agency Profiles: Denzel Valentine

Injuries have derailed his career so far. Would the Grizzlies provide the change of scenery he needs?

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DENZEL VALENTINE – GUARD/FORWARD, MICHIGAN STATE

26 years old, 6’4”, 220, 6’10” Wingspan

Draft- 2016, 1ST Round, 14th overall by Chicago Bulls

Experience- Three years, all with Chicago

Career Stats- 170 Games, 42 starts, 20.9 MPG, 7.8 PPG, 3.6 REB, 2.1 APG, 0.7 STL, 0.1 BLK, 40.1 FG%, 36.6 3PFG%, 75.3 FT%, 50.6 eFG%, 10.9 PER, 0.48 Win Shares Per 48 Minutes.

2019-2020 Highlights

Denzel Valentine has had an up-and down NBA career so far. He was drafted in the lottery and was highly regarded coming out of Michigan State for his winning pedigree, length, and high basketball-IQ. He started 37 games in his 2nd season in 2017-18. It seemed as if Valentine was going to be a part of the Bulls’ plans moving forward.

Then, an ankle injury cost him his entire 2018-19 season. This past season, Valentine was cleared for play but he never seemed to get into a rhythm and then soon found himself in the crosshairs of Coach Jim Boylen. Valentine soon found himself on the outside looking in for rotation minutes.

Valentine has not shown yet that he can be relied on to provide good play consistently off the bench. Another knock on Valentine is that he will be 27 years old when next season starts. Sure, there are some players that come into their own later, but it’s not often.

Numbers that make Valentine

Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

35.4 – Percentage of Valentine’s shots that are catch and shoot 3’s. It shows that he has confidence in his shot and isn’t afraid to pull the trigger. The Grizzlies finished sixth in the league last season in pace. A guy that can shoot in rhythm quickly will allow them to spread the floor.

82 – Valentine’s wingspan in inches. As I mentioned in the beginning, Valentine was drafted in part for his length. He still has that and can guard 1-4 depending on the matchup. That length alone would give the Grizzlies options when it comes to rolling out different lineups.

Numbers that may make the Grizzlies pass

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

$4.7 Million – The amount of the Bulls’ qualifying offer to Valentine if they choose to do so. I feel like if that is offered up to Valentine, then that could (and should) price the Grizzlies out of the running.

138 – Number of games Valentine has missed in his first 4 seasons. While it is important to note that 82 of these games came in the 2018-19 season that he lost to an ankle injury. Last season he dealt with a hip and a lingering hamstring injury. Valentine has been hit with the injury-prone label, and it’s hard to argue that.

Pulse of Grizz Nation

It only took three tries, but I finally have a definitive answer on a free agent poll. Results show that the Grizz fanbase is not in favor of bringing in Valentine. The two reasons why most people said they were against the signing were age and injuries. One person did refer to him as a less efficient Kyle Anderson, which is a near perfect comparison. Valentine is not know for his athleticism and could hinder the up-tempo pace of the Grizzlies.

Final Offer

For starters, I do think the Bulls will extend the qualifying offer to Valentine and that should in turn, put him out of the Grizzlies price range. I’ve seen multiple reports of Valentine looking pretty good in the Bulls minicamp. Valentine is a guy that could use a change of scenery, and the Bulls are providing that with Billy Donovan now their coach.

I am intrigued by Valentine’s length and do feel that he would have a spot in the Grizzlies rotation, but there are other guys I would prioritize first.

Final Offer: 1 year/$3.5 million

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