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2021 GBB NBA Draft Prospect Profiles: Isaiah Todd

Do the Grizzlies eye a former 5-star with their second round pick?

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Austin Spurs v G League Ignite Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Over the next month, GBB will be profiling various players the Memphis Grizzlies may target in the 2021 NBA Draft. This year we will be breaking it up in to three sections - five to likely trade up for, five potentially available right around pick #17 where Memphis is slotted to pick, and five that surely will be there or perhaps the Grizzlies could even trade back and still select. But now, let’s talk about some 2nd round prospects as well.

Next up in our 2nd round profiles, the former 5-star recruit Isaiah Todd

Isaiah Todd, Forward, G League Ignite

  • 6’10”, 219 lbs (7’1.25” wingspan), 19 years old, from Baltimore, Maryland
  • One season with the Ignite - 24.4 minutes per game, 12.3 points per game on 43.7% shooting (36.2% from beyond the arc, 82.4% from the free throw line), 4.9 rebounds per game, .7 blocks per game
  • ADVANCED STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon) - Projected NBA 3P% (36.4%), FT% (82.4%), 3-point attempt rate (.281)
  • ADVANCED STATS TO IMPROVE - Free Throw Rate (.102), Rebounds (4.9), Effective Field Goal Percentage (48.8%)
  • AWARDS AND ACCOLADES - McDonald’s All-American (2020), Jordan Brand Classic (2020), 5-Star Recruit
  • CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENTS - 70th Overall (Tankathon), 21st Overall (Ringer), 47th Overall (ESPN), 46th Overall (CBS Sports), 51st Overall (The Athletic)

There may not be a second round prospect with more variance in opinion than Isaiah Todd. Todd started the offseason barely on any of the major outlet big boards, and has slowly improved his draft stock over the past few months. Todd wasn’t on The Ringer’s initial top-30 big board and has soared to 21 for Kevin O’Connor.

Todd decided to forego attending Michigan, opting instead to play for the G League Ignite alongside top prospects Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Todd didn’t get the shine and glory that Green and Kuminga got, starting in just 2 games for the Ignite in the bubble in Orlando.

Todd’s numbers don’t necessarily jump out at you, but the flashes of potential were there during the Ignite’s 15 game mini-season. Todd would be a risky, high upside pick, but should it be one the Grizzlies make?

What he does well

2021 NBA Draft Combine Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Although he wasn’t the “go to” guy for the Ignite, Todd flashed his scoring potential this past season. He is great at finishing around the rim, using his athleticism to get tough shots off whether it is a high flying dunk or a tough acrobatic finish. He also flashed his ability to be a true stretch-four with his 36.2% shooting from beyond the arc. He showed off his catch and shoot skills, while also impressing with his ability to create his own shot. Todd is better suited at creating his own shot inside the arc with turnaround jumpers (just check out the game-winner in the highlight video) and various post moves compared to chucking 3-pointers.

Todd has also shown glimpses of being a solid passer for a big man. Whether it’s making the extra pass out of the roll or threading a pass through the defense out of the post, he has shown the vision to create looks for his teammates despite his low assist numbers. His size also gives him potential to be a menace on the defensive end with his wingspan and quickness.

Where he can improve

Rio Grande Valley Vipers v G League Ignite Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Todd spent way too much time on the perimeter for the Ignite, especially considering the Ignite’s lack of size. With just 15 games of film outside of the high school level, it will be interesting to see if NBA teams see his lack of an interior presence as a schematic issue or a personal issue with Todd. He rebounded poorly in the bubble and wasn’t much of a rim protector since he was playing out on the perimeter.

Todd also struggled a bit with shot selection in Orlando. He forced up some shots that were probably allowed in high school but were terrible looks at the G League level. In the NBA, Todd will need to learn when to shoot and when to make a pass and allow the offense to reset. His lack of toughness also forced him to take some ugly midrange jumpers, instead of attacking the basket. The 19-year old will definitely need to bulk up at the NBA level as his thin frame will also get him bullied on the interior.

The fit

2021 NBA Draft Combine Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Todd’s initial fit on the Grizzlies isn’t great. The Grizzlies have, at minimum, 6 guys on the roster who can play the power forward position. That number could grow even higher in super small-ball lineups. The roster will certainly shake up a little bit sooner than later, but there isn’t a path for Todd to play minutes on the Grizzlies roster as it stands for next season.

However, a spot in the rotation could come up depending on what roster decisions the Grizzlies make next offseason. Kyle Anderson, Justise Winslow and Jonas Valanciunas will be free agents after next season, and the Grizzlies may need to decide between Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman following next season. If the Grizzlies let some of those guys go, rotation minutes could be up for grabs for a more matured Isaiah Todd.

The verdict

NBA G League Playoffs - G League Ignite v Raptors 905 Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

It was always crazy to me how Todd was projected to be a pick in the 50’s or undrafted when the regular season ended and some turned their heads to the draft. He didn’t shine like Green or Kuminga with the Ignite, but he also wasn’t atrocious. Todd could shine on a team that allows him to continue to develop and grow into his body.

With the Grizzlies that would likely mean a “redshirt” season where he would spend most of his time in Southaven with the Memphis Hustle, taking on a larger offensive role than he had with the Ignite.

Evaluating the prospects coming out of the G-League is difficult, especially with the condensed 15-game schedule they played due to the pandemic, but it is surprising how quickly it has been forgotten that Todd was a 5-star recruit and at one point was the top rated prospect in his high school class. The promise alone in a player like that, at just 19 years old, is worth the risk, particularly in the second round.

With a plethora of big men, the Grizzlies don’t feel the need to move up from 51 to make a play on Todd. Instead, a team in the 40’s can’t pass up Todd’s potential.

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