If you missed part one, check it out here.
Finally, after all the prognostication and countless big boards, we have arrived. The 2020 NBA Draft is here...about five months late. But in this spin around the Sun we would almost all rather soon forget, we will take anything somewhat resembling what life used to be. While this year’s event surely will look far different than the one that saw the Memphis Grizzlies and their fans celebrating the selections of Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke in June of 2019, it won’t be any less meaningful for the 60 young men whose childhood dreams will be realized.
Let’s get right to it. Joining me today are GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham, GBB Senior Writer Ben Hogan, Co-Host of our Starting 5 Podcast Parish Sharkey, and GBB Writer Jesse Cinquini.
Memphis has an almost full roster, but of course there are needs. Assuming the Grizzlies pick only at #40, what “position” should be prioritized?
GBB SITE MANAGER (@JoeMullinax) - It certainly shouldn’t be a big man...unless the gap between the guy at the top of their board and the next prospect is that wide. The presence of Jontay Porter leads one to believe the role of “developmental big” has already been filled. So that leads to a ballhandler or a wing, and the Grizzlies could really use a third point guard (as the Bubble showed us time and again). The best part of that is the Grizzlies could very easily get good value at that pick - using our own handy dandy GBB Consensus Big Board, the likes of Oregon’s Payton Pritchard could very easily be on the board. And that’d be a win - Pritchard can shoot, score, and create for himself and others off the dribble. As long as no unforeseen deals go down, he can develop through the next season or two and perhaps step up to the plate as the back-up to Ja Morant down the road.
If Elijah Hughes of Syracuse or Jordan Nwora of Louisville are the picks here, that’d be fine too. They both strengthen Grizzlies weaknesses. It’s nice to not have a positional “need” in the rotation. Memphis can draft for fit while pursuing the best overall talent available. It’s just convenient that “need” and “best available” seem likely to intersect.
GBB ASSOCIATE EDITOR BRANDON ABRAHAM (@bcabraham) - I’ve been saying for awhile now the Grizzlies need to prioritize grabbing a 3rd point guard at 40th overall. There is a ton of solid depth at the point guard position in this draft and the Grizzlies should have at least a couple of solid options, without reaching, to get an emergency point guard/starter for the Hustle.
GBB SENIOR WRITER BEN HOGAN (@NotTheGolfer) - If the Grizzlies remain at #40, I think they should prioritize the wing. You can never have too many shooters in this league, and I don’t think the Grizzlies have a guy that’s ‘claimed’ a certain amount of minutes at that position going into next season.
GBB PODCAST HOST PARISH SHARKEY (@DaOne_PShark) - Someone that can SHOOT no matter what position.
GBB WRITER JESSE CINQUINI (@CinquiniJesse) - The Grizzlies should prioritize adding a wing to the fold with their second round pick in this year’s draft. With blossoming youngsters Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke manning the power forward/center spots for Memphis and Ja Morant along with the ever-dependable Tyus Jones holding down the playmaking duties, the Grizzlies are set for the future in terms of floor generals and bigs. But the team has no sure-fire long-term member of their core at the shooting guard/small forward spots. While they likely won’t find one at pick 40, the Jordan Nwora’s and Elijah Hughes’ of the world could bolster Memphis’ wing rotation and make an impact from day one with their scoring and long-range shooting chops.
Which player ranked #51-60 per the GBB Consensus Big Board would you be most willing to trade back in to the draft to acquire?
Here is the list, for reference. Check out the 51-60 breakdown here.
MULLINAX: MASON JONES STAND UP!!! In all seriousness, I like the aforementioned Jordan Nwora a lot. Yam Madar has some upside, and Sam Merrill is one of the best (and oldest) shooters/offensive creators in the draft whose Utah State resume holds him back. There are solid arguments for several of these guys, but Mason Jones’ scoring acumen and confidence in his game would have me trying to get back in the late 2nd round. If he hits? He provides instant offense off the bench - something the Grizzlies drastically need. If he misses? Most 2nd round picks miss - no harm, no foul. He is elite at putting the ball through the basket. Memphis could always use more of those guys.
ABRAHAM: I don’t see Mason Jones dropping to the 50-60 range but the Grizzlies should absolutely jump back in if he’s available. Assuming he gets grabbed, I’d love to see the Grizzlies trade back in for Sam Merrill. He’s already 24 years old but dominated at Utah State. He’d have limited upside because of his age but he’s bring the Grizzlies organization great shooting.
HOGAN: Reggie Perry is the guy I would trade back into the draft to take. I do think he is a project, but he has the potential to be a good rotation player. Plus, the Grizzlies have depth in the front court, so they have time to be patient with a player like Perry. This is all of course if they take a wing at 40. If they don’t, I’d be open to trading back in to take Mason Jones.
SHARKEY: Mason Jones. He has the shooting touch along with the length that would fit seamlessly with the Grizz style.
CINQUINI: Mason Jones is the prospect I’d be most willing to consider trading back in for. While there are warranted concerns about his defense, Jones was able to put the ball through the hoop as well as anyone in college basketball this past season. If the Grizzlies are able to pick up an additional draft pick or two along with the rights to Mason, it may be too attractive an offer for Memphis brass to pass up. It wouldn’t hurt to add more draft capital in a league that values picks more than ever before.
Finish this sentence - The Grizzlies will get an “A” grade from me for this draft if they...
MULLINAX: Don’t just pick at #40. There is value in the 2nd round of this draft, and real potential to add talent that the Grizzlies can let develop down in Southaven with their G-League affiliate the Memphis Hustle. A trade isn’t necessary if the opportunity doesn’t present itself. But there should be another transaction or two tonight, even if it’s just two-way contracts getting agreed to. Markus Howard, Lamine Diane, Yoeli Childs, Josh Hall...there are a lot of good possibilities.
ABRAHAM: Stay patient. With a lot of Western Conference teams making big trades (see Phoenix, Portland) the Grizzlies could feel pressured to make big moves draft night. The Grizzlies will get an A if they stay the course and don’t trade away any major asset in a short-sighted move.
HOGAN: Stay the course. I know that’s a boring answer, but with the team having just a 2nd round pick, I’m not expecting much. If they can possibly move Kyle Anderson and gain more picks for future drafts, that would be good too. As long as they don’t do anything drastic, such as break up the core, then I will consider this draft a success.
SHARKEY: Package Kyle Anderson and Gorgui Dieng in a significant trade that brings back a better fit or pick and selecting a shooter.
CINQUINI: Draft a floor-stretching wing at #40 and take on salary in exchange for future picks and/or prospects with legitimate upside (Miles Bridges, for example). The Grizzlies certainly don’t need to make any home run moves, as it’s clear this core has their best basketball ahead of them. But with that being said, they should be aggressive in pursuing opportunities that will put the franchise in position for sustained success once Ja and Jaren reach their peaks.
Be sure to follow along with us on Twitter tonight and stick with GBB in the weeks ahead as the sprint to the 2020-2021 season kicks in to high gear!