Happy NBA Draft Eve, everyone! If you haven’t been paying attention until now, fear not - we here at GBB have you covered with over 60 articles and over 50 prospects profiled heading in to the 2020 festivities. No one covers the Memphis Grizzlies organization like us, and no one that follows the Bears of Beale Street has put out the content on this draft that we have. Check out all of that and more via this link.
(Patiently waits while you catch up)
Now that we’re on the same page, the time has come to once again put on display the strength of Grizzly Bear Blues - our staff. This two-part Roundtable will have me joined over the next two days by some of the best and brightest our GBB family has to offer. Here in part one, we will look at what might have been if Jeff Green never existed (in Memphis, relax) while also wishing for falling stars and longing for trade rumors to involve more than just the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
This Roundtable features me, GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming, and GBB Senior Writers Shawn Coleman, Justin Lewis, and Brendan Smart.
The Memphis Grizzlies do not have a 1st round pick in this draft due to conveying the pick to the Boston Celtics (finally). If Memphis did hypothetically have that pick at #14, who would you have wanted the Grizzlies to take?
GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax (@JoeMullinax) - The SB Nation NBA Blogger Mock Draft (which was nice to not participate in for once, thanks CelticsBlog!) is a solid tool to use for this question. No one knows their respective squads as well as these collective staffs around the country, so the names available here are likely realistic ones. While the Boston Celtics took Obi Tobbin at #14 in this event, I do not think that is what I would have done if the Grizzlies were making the pick. As tempting as reaching for Desmond Bane would have been, I probably would have gone the safe route both in this mock and in real life and selected Saddiq Bey, forward out of Villanova. Bey has a relatively low ceiling, but his floor is one of the highest in the draft. He likely is a key rotation wing from day one for Memphis.
On a side note, Deni Avdija fell to the Spurs at 11 in this mock...because of course. If trades were allowed (they weren’t) and I was involved, I would have tried my best to get to that pick and bring him to the Grizzlies.
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (@PAKA_FLOCKA) - I’m going to go with RJ Hampton, who’s been a trendy pick for the 14th pick in recent mock drafts. I have him 6th on my board, because of his unbelievable burst of athleticism, ability to get to the rim, and a budding outside shot — thanks to former Grizzly Mike Miller. He strikes me as a player that could surprise people with extra pop as a rookie (like an athletic Tyler Herro) next season, especially since he’s likely to land in a good situation like Boston, Dallas, Miami, or Brooklyn. Given his size and his 3-level scoring potential, he’d slide in either as the perfect running mate for Ja Morant, or the microwave 6th man off the bench.
GBB Senior Writer Shawn Coleman (@StatsSAC) - If the Grizzlies still had the 14th pick in this draft, my focus would be doing what I can to get Patrick Williams. I feel he has significant two way potential, with a special, special mindset for a younger player to exceed his high expectations. I also feel Memphis would a place that could help him reach a very significant ceiling as a two way player. However, in the likely case he is already gone, R.J. Hampton becomes my pick, due to being one of the highest upside options remaining in the draft and his connection to Memphis.
GBB Senior Writer Justin Lewis (@J_Timberfake_) - Tyler Herro! Oh this years draft, right. I’m glad we conveyed the pick, can I opt to trade? I’m not really interested in anyone in this range, I’d rather be later and take Grant Riller.
GBB Senior Writer Brendan Smart (@bsmart21) - This isn’t a particularly deep draft class, so Memphis seemed to convey that pick at the perfect time. With that being said, with the 14th pick Memphis would have excellent options at PF and PG. None of which right now are a position of ‘need.’ Cole Anthony, Precious Achiuwa, and RJ Hampton are all clear cut first rounders, but Memphis doesn’t have a need for any three of those guys. The only one out of the three would be Precious to pair with Jaren Jackson Jr., in the paint, but even then that leaves Brandon Clarke in limbo.
Not a single guy at 14 or around pick 14 make sense for the Grizzlies *if* they were to have the 14th pick. Thankfully, the Grizzlies don’t have to worry about that pick anymore.
Which player with a first round draft grade per the GBB Consensus Big Board is most likely to be available at pick 40?
(For reference, here is the board 1-30)
MULLINAX - I could see Robert Woodard II sliding down. He’s going to help a team pretty early on, but he’s like Saddiq Bey in that he is probably going to be a low ceiling/high floor prospect. The problem for Woodard is, he does not have the shooting stroke or maneuverability of Saddiq. While contenders late in the first round could value that end of rotation production ahead of home run swings like Jaden McDaniels or even Tyler Bey (his athleticism is through the roof, but he played center in college - he’s not an NBA center), it seems more likely good now - but likely never great - guys like Woodard could take a tumble.
FLEMING - Probably Tyler Bey, who The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie has going to Memphis at 40 in a recent mock draft. It’s easy to be high on Bey, as he had sensational combine numbers and has the skillset of a modern wing. At 6’7” with a 7’1” wingspan, he can defend and switch across all positions. In addition, he can fly up the court and play in small-ball lineups. If he falls, it’ll be because teams are more focused on his age and outside shot — though he connected 41.9% of his 31 3’s — than his athleticism and defensive versatility.
COLEMAN - Tyler Bey stands out as someone who could fall due to a transition to a new position on the NBA and questions remaining about his offensive potential. I certainly feel there more is more projection with Bey than others his age in this draft, but there is less certainty about his offensive skill set. In an area of the draft where there is plenty of options with shooting potential and other players who have shown encouraging potential as scorers and secondary playmakers, Bey could potentially fall. However, if he does, he would be a steal at 40 for Memphis in my opinion.
LEWIS - I’d say Malachi Flynn, but I’m not sure any of them will be there at 40. Our group did a decent job ranking the guys.
SMART - Jaden McDaniels. Sitting at 6’10” McDainiels is registered as a small forward in the NBA Draft, but has the feeling of Kevin Durant in terms of his upside based upon size. If McDaniels were to fall to number 40 in the 2020 NBA Draft, his length, and ability to rise up on defenders would be great for Ja Morant, Jaren Jackon Jr., and the Memphis Grizzlies offensively. In another progression year for Memphis, McDaniels would have a role most likely off the bench, but his offense is worth taking a chance on at 40.
Which Grizzlies player should be most concerned they won’t be in Memphis long in terms of potential trades?
MULLINAX - It has to be Gorgui Dieng, right? Whether it’s helping make the James Harden or Russell Westbrook trades happen as the third team or getting in on the Buddy Hield “sweepstakes” that may not actually exist, Dieng’s massive $17+ million expiring contract will almost certainly be involved. It could hold real value to a team trying to free up money for future free agency moves, or simply for a squad trying to clear their cap sheet (cough HOUSTON ROCKETS ERIC GORDON ROBERT COVINGTON cough). It’s likely Dieng is here past Wednesday night, but if Memphis does make a big deal Gorgui will very likely be in the mix.
FLEMING - Gorgui Dieng has to be the right answer. He found his way out of the rotation in the bubble, despite being the only other true center on the roster besides Jonas Valanciunas, even when Jaren Jackson Jr. went down with an injury. The Commercial Appeal’s Mark Giannotto pinpointed Dieng’s $17M expiring contract as a trade asset for the Grizzlies to use over the next calendar year. Given his role uncertainty and his value as a trade asset, it wouldn’t shock me if Dieng’s tenure in Memphis is short-lived.
COLEMAN - It feels like Kyle Anderson’s time in Memphis may not survive the offseason. Last year showed he is an odd fit for Taylor Jenkins’s preferences, and in general, Anderson is an odd fit in today’s NBA. However, his contract can he used in matching money in a trade and I also feel there are plenty of contenders, due to his defense and playmaking, that could use him. With the creativity of the Memphis front office in mind, it seems that one of the last remaining memories of the old regime may have a new home in the coming weeks.
LEWIS - It’s gotta be either Kyle Anderson or Gorgui Dieng. I’d say Kyle has most concern because his fit is worse than Dieng and Dieng is already expiring.
SMART - If your name isn’t Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., or Brandon Clarke - you should be concerned. Being part of a rebuild isn’t easy, but Memphis already has their cornerstone guys (as of now). Of course things can change, but while Brandon Clarke could be the odd man out, he is locked in for next season.
Memphis has several options outside of those three guys to ship off in trade. Dillon Brooks, Gorgui Dieng, Grayson Allen, and Jonas Valanciunas in order to obtain future options. The message has been clear from the front office, working to maximize the ceiling of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and whomever that third guy maybe is the focus. Next season will be another season of wheeling and dealing from Zach Kleiman and company in the Grizzlies front office.
Tomorrow we welcome four more GBBers to the table as we prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft!