Now we’re in prime territory.
Any of these prospects could be up for grabs for the Memphis Grizzlies this draft. Where you rank these players, and who you want the Grizzlies to go after, is honestly all preference — especially at 40. Do you think the Grizzlies need another big man? Or a 3rd point guard as insurance for Ja Morant and Tyus Jones? Or should they target another wing? Preferably a shooter!
Nonetheless, check out what our writers have to say about these prospects. Do you think any of them should be on the Grizzlies roster next season?
Big board participants — myself (@PAKA_FLOCKA), Joe Mullinax (@JoeMullinax), Brandon Abraham (@bcabraham), Nathan Chester (@NathanChester24), Shawn Coleman (@StatsSAC), Ben Hogan (@NotTheGolfer), Justin Lewis (@J_Timberfake_), Lauren Harvey (@DragicKingdom), EdMemphis (@SquareBidness), Greg Ratliff (@GregRatliff), Jesse Cinquini (@CinquiniJesse).
41) Vernon Carey Jr., 6’10” Big, Duke University
GBB Staff Writer Jesse Cinquini (29): Carey is an interior scorer first and foremost who utilizes his 6’10”, 270 pound frame to bully post defenders and get buckets hanging around at the dunker’s spot. In addition, he’s arguably the top rebounder in his class (14.1 per 40 minutes) due to his solid fundamentals, namely his ability to box out opponents. The lefty also possesses a smooth shooting stroke, and while he didn’t shoot the three-ball all too often (0.7 attempts per game), he managed to convert an excellent 38.1% of his treys as a Duke Blue Devil.
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (54): I’m low on Vernon Carey compared to the consensus because of his fit in the modern NBA. He only shot 21 3-pointers (hitting 8 of them), and his defensive fit in the NBA is questionable. He could end up being a fine 4th big someday, but he’ll need to refine his game a bit to fit the modern NBA. He’ll benefit immensely from being drafted by a playoff team late in the 2nd round and developing in the G-League system.
42) Payton Pritchard, 6’2” guard, University of Oregon
GBB Senior Staff Writer Justin Lewis (33): Ok...call me a hypocrite, because I hated on Desmond Bane being a senior, but this dude is different. To steal a line from Joe Mullinax, “since when do we not want a 3 and D player?” While Payton might be more three and less D, he’s one of the best snipers in this draft. He shot 6 threes per game at 42%. What’s not to like about that? He’s an immediate role player on a good team. I’d make his ceiling a peak Luke Ridnour. Dude can flat out play and might surprise people like Tyler Herro did this past season.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Shawn Coleman (51): The things that jump off the page in regards to Peyton Pritchard, outside of his shooting, are his intangibles. And at his age, that increases the chances that his upside is likely a backup point guard. That certainly is a valuable player, but it also offers a lower and less valuable ceiling than other options that could be available in the second round. Furthermore, his defense could make him a rotation piece that ideally is used for only 15-20 minutes a game.
43) Cassius Stanley, 6’5” wing, Duke University
GBB Senior Staff Writer Shawn Coleman (36): Cassius Stanley has been recognized as one of the most athletic basketball players to come out of Southern California in the past 20 year. While there is only so much value that athleticism can provide, Stanley has shown he can do plenty with it. He is a nightmare to defend as a finisher in the open court and as a cutter and lob option, and showed good rebounding and blocking ability for a guard. He also flashed decent to above average ability as a shooter, and if he continue to utilize his athleticism into effective movement with and without the ball, he has significant potential in the NBA for teams that love to play fast.
GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham (52): Stanley is a freak athlete, but he doesn’t really do anything well other than being a freak athlete. He can crash the boards fine and can make some great highlight plays but he often gets tunnel vision with the ball and lacks the ball handling skills and vision to actually move the ball at the NBA level. Simply, he won’t be able to use his athleticism to dominate in the NBA like he was able to in High School and most of college.
44) Daniel Oturu, 6’11” big, University of Minnesota
GBB Staff Writer EdMemphis (33): Daniel Oturu reminds me of Dewayne Dedmon with a more polished burner. I see him being a stretch paint defender.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Ben Hogan (49): My biggest knock on Daniel Oturu is that teams will be limited in what they can do with him. He is a throwback big, and unless you are one of the elite, playing time is limited. As fellow GBB’er Joe Mullinax pointed out, he needs to develop more of an outside shot if he wants to find himself part of an NBA rotation.
45) Elijah Hughes, 6’7” wing, Syracuse University
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (26): To paraphrase the Pod-father Bill Simmons, Elijah Hughes is a guy I can see playing in a game 7 of a Finals. He was asked to do too much at Syracuse, but it’ll allow him to stretch beyond his horizons as 3-and-D wing by creating his own shots. With his physicality and moxie, he can also emerge as a good multi-positional defender. Hughes falls in a commodity as a shot-making wing, and it would not surprise me if he was the second round’s big steal.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Ben Hogan (51): To be honest, I graded Elijah Hughes this low because I prefer other guys at the same position over Hughes. He’s a fine player, but there are questions surrounding his defensive ability due to his college scheme. He also needs to improve his shooting.
46) Udoka Azibuike, 7’0” big, University of Kansas
GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham (33): I’m high on Azibuike, because although his game is limited, he plays a position that allows him to be limited but still super impactful. As a center, Azibuke would be a great big off the bench who can come in and protect the rim as well as pick up a ton of rebounds and finish at the rim. He’ll likely never be a solid passer or shooter, but his defensive versitality will make up for those deficiencies.
GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax (51): This dude would have fit in PERFECTLY with Grit and Grind. A physical specimen (7’0 with a 7’7” wingspan, 270 pounds) who moves better than he should at his size, Azibuike can dominate the paint as a rim protector and rebounder. He showed the ability to grow some as a player as well during his final year at Kansas - he wasn’t awful on the perimeter as a defender due to keeping his conditioning up compared to where he was when he was younger as a Jayhawk. The reason he’s low on my list is, beyond the ability to defend and rebound (and finish at the rim), there is little evidence of offensive versatility. And he’s not likely to become an average passer, or a good shooter from outside the paint (42% from the free throw line suggests he will immediately get fouled if on the floor in meaningful moments). He should be good at specific things and in specific situations. Because of that, he should get a real shot at the NBA. But he likely will not be able to rise up beyond the fringe of rosters.
47) Immanuel Quickley, 6’3” wing, University of Kentucky
GBB Staff Writer Lauren Harvey (42): The reigning SEC Player of the year is a reliable shooter who tends to play his best basketball in the biggest moments. He made an impressive leap in his sophomore year and became the go to option for Kentucky in tight games. He will need to improve his passing to stick around at the next level but it’s likely he outperforms his second round draft price.
GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham (50): I’m low on Quickley because I see his offensive upside being limited at the NBA level. He’s a great shooter, but he’s undersized for a shooting guard and doesn’t have the passing or dribbling chops to be a point guard. He’s a tweener at a position where you need to be more than just an elite shooter to be ranked higher, in my opinion. He has the length to be an excellent 3 and D player in the NBA but he’ll need to grow some strength as to not get taken advantage of by bigger guards.
48) Zeke Nnaji, 6’11” big, University of Arizona
GBB Senior Staff Writer Ben Hogan (38): An energetic big man that will make other guys work down low. That’s why teams with a pick in the top half of the 2nd round should look at Zeke Nnaji. He’s a grinder with a little bit of mid-range game and upside to him. He doesn’t give up on plays, which is evident in his 3.1 offensive boards per game at Arizona last season.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Nathan Chester (51): Zeke Nnaji is a very traditional big man that will struggle to adapt to the modern NBA. He could fill an Enes Kanter like role in the league.
49) Skyler Mays, 6’4” wing, Louisiana State University
GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham (44): I’m high on Mays because he is a solid offensive player in this draft. He shot nearly 35% from beyond the arc in his 4-year LSU career, but shot almost 40% this past season. I always personally tend to be higher on guys who are hurt by their age. Mays is still only 22 years old coming out of college and doesn’t rely heavily on athleticism so I don’t see him having to change his game much at the NBA level.
GBB Staff Writer Greg Ratliff (58): Shawn Coleman summed up Mays pretty well as a high floor, low ceiling kind of player. I don’t know how much better he can get. Mays lacks size and athleticism to keep up on defense. Offensively he’s decent but his defensive limitations will keep him from being able to stay on the floor for long stretches.
50) Jordan Nwora, 6’8” Wing, Louisville University
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (41): Though projected to be more of a specialist, I’m high on Jordan Nwora, because he’s a prolific 3-point shooter and a great rebounder for his position. Granted, he can flop like an Austin Daye, but in today’s “pace-and-space,” position-less NBA, I’m willing to bet on Nwora in the 2nd round.
GBB Staff Writer Greg Ratliff (57): Jordan Nwora is a fairly smart player, but I don’t know how his overall game will translate to the NBA. Defensively, I get concerned about fit. He’s not really quick enough to take on the guards but is too small to be bodying up to larger 3s and 4s.
Which of these prospects would fit in with the Memphis Grizzlies? Comment your thoughts below.