Big board: 51-60 here.
There are some board favorites here. We’re reaching the point where some people are both way higher and way lower on certain prospects. So that's where it gets fun.
Any of these players could be had at the 51st pick, or maybe the Grizzlies find a way to trade up or into a higher 2nd round pick. Which of these players are on your radar?
Our participants include: 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 (@EdMemphisPimpin), Jesse Cinquini (@CinquiniJesse).
NOTE: Roko Prkacin was in this section, but has officially withdrawn after this board was built. Shawn Coleman on why you should keep your eye on Prkacin.
A pretty significant decision for the 2021 draft class, as many talented draft minds were highly intrigued by the overall game of Prkacin. He was a logical fit for the #Grizzlies due to his size and ability to contribute in a variety of ways. Could be a Memphis target in 2022 https://t.co/QEFPQZ5hft— Shawn Coleman (@StatsSAC) July 19, 2021
Now to the 41-50 players.
41) Daishen Nix, 6’5” guard, G-League Ignite
Lauren Harvey (31): An excellent passer and solid size for a point guard, Nix has the tools to have a long NBA career. Nix also has a feel for the game that suggests his ceiling is higher than many think. I also believe that playing with professionals in the G-league will help him reach his potential.
Ben Hogan (59): There are some things to like about Nix, such as his size and that he’s already spent one year in the G-league. But, there are some things to worry about. He does turn the ball over too much, and he isn’t that great of an outside shooter. Combine that with a guy who has trouble finishing above the rim, then you have a player with limited upside. That’s why I’m low on Daishen Nix.
42) David Johnson, 6’4” guard, University of Louisville
Nathan Chester (41): David suffered from poor spacing in Louisville’s offense, but projects to be an NBA-quality combo guard in my opinion. He has good size and athleticism and demonstrated a much improved three-point shot as a sophomore.
Shawn Coleman (57): David Johnson certainly is a projectable athlete who does many things at a decent to good level, especially rebounding as a combo guard. However he does not seem to be relevant enough in any one non scoring skill to over come his inconsistency as a points producer.
43) Aaron Henry, 6’6” wing, Michigan State University
Ben Hogan (47): The draft projections for Henry are as wide as I think I’ve seen for a prospect. He’s projected anywhere between the end of the first round to not even getting drafted at all. Former Memphis Grizzly Mike Miller has even called him a “lottery talent.” I like his athleticism, defense, and potential. Plus, we have seen time and time again, Michigan State players being underrated in the draft and end up putting together a very nice career. I think Henry will be one of those guys, and whoever drafts him in the second round will get a steal.
Joe Mullinax (54): He showed the ability to grow his game in unprecedented circumstances and deserves credit for that. He also has a Michigan State connection, which is underrated with Xavier Tillman Sr. and Jaren Jackson Jr. in the fold. But he was streaky as a shooter and I have concerns about how much his game can grow from here. The Grizzlies should take an upside swing somewhere - Henry would not be that. He’s a poor man’s Chris Duarte, and Duarte should be there at #17 if Memphis wants to take that direction. The 2nd round pick - where Henry makes sense - should then be used on upside…which Henry does not have as much of.
44) Charles Bassey, 6’10” big, Western Kentucky University
EdMemphis (34): Charles Bassey is a serious sleeper. He’s another big that is seriously underrated. My biggest mistake in my BIG 60 Draft board was not ranking Bassey top 15-20. Excellent production and activity all over the court, he also projects to be a solid 3 point shooter as he continues to show improvement shooting the ball. Very efficient finisher and dominated major D1 competition often. I can see Bassey becoming one of the better big men of this class in the future.
Lauren Harvey (Not Top 60): Bassey is an excellent shot blocker and rim protector, but his pick-and-roll defense leaves a lot to be desired. Bassey is also raw offensively and will need to add additional tools to stick in the league. If you add in potential injury concerns, there are more appealing prospects in the second round.
45) Luka Garza, 6’11” big, University of Iowa
Also view Joe Mullinax’s profile on Garza here.
Nathan Chester (29): Luka Garza is one of the most productive players in recent NBA history and had a 15-game stretch where he was averaging 30 and 10 this past year. He’s a good shooter and as good of a low post player that you’ll find in this draft. He has significant defensive concerns, but he seems like a sure bet to be a productive rotation player, which is a good selection at the end of the 1st round/beginning of 2nd round.
Parker Fleming (Not Top 60): I’m worried that his offensive game won’t make up for his defensive woes at the next level. In a system that’s even more spread out, and has the “defensive 3-seconds” rule in place, he could get played off the court fairly quickly.
46) Kessler Edwards, 6’8” wing, Pepperdine University
Justin Lewis (42): My man is 6’8” and shot 40% from deep during his three-year career at Pepperdine. He is coming off a season scoring 17 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. A +5.6 player last season, Edwards is solid on both sides of the ball. Don’t sleep on him because he was at a smaller school, the kid can hoop.
Brandon Abraham (52): Edwards had a fine 3-year career at Pepperdine, improving each season, but there’s only so much stock you can put in playing in the WCC if you’re not Gonzaga. Edwards is a solid shooter and scorer, but I’m pessimistic it will translate in the NBA.
47) Isaiah Todd, 6’10” big, G-League Ignite
Also view Brandon Abraham’s profile on Todd here.
Brandon Abraham (29): I’m extremely high on Isaiah Todd due to his untapped potential. He had to take a backseat to Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga this past season for the Ignite, but Todd still showed flashes of why he was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school. Todd’s a natural scorer who should only get better as he matures and grows into his body.
Nathan Chester (Not Top 60): Todd represented a bit of an oversight for me, he should have definitely been on my board. My biggest question for him though is simple: What is he good at? That still isn’t clear after his overall solid stint with the G-League Ignite.
48) Vrenz Bleijenbergh, 6’11” guard-big-wing, Belgium
Also view my profile on Bleijenbergh here.
Parker Fleming (31): A 6’11” player that can function as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll! Aren’t those players unique? If a NBA team puts Vrenz in a spot to play his game — even as a de facto backup point guard — he’ll prove himself as one of the top 30 players in this draft class.
Joe Mullinax (58): Ah yes, the Poku of this draft. Draft Twitter has fallen in love with Vrenz, but I am more skeptical. His defensive prowess is limited at best, non-existent at worst. He is far too slight in terms of frame and does not possess near-elite speed so his style of play likely cannot translate to the NBA in the short-term, if at all. He has unique vision and shot creation given his height, so as a draft and stash perhaps he makes sense. But as a member of the roster immediately? I have serious questions about the legitimacy of that.
49) Filip Petrusev, 6’11” big, Mega Bemax
EdMemphis (30): Filip Petrusev is a stretch big man who displays pretty good three level scorer potential as a big. In other drafts, he would certainly be a top lock for top-10 draft pick. Reminds me of Andrea Bargnani but more active and not as lazy.
Ben Hogan (48): He has had success both in college at Gonzaga and overseas in Serbia. Maybe I did rank him a tad too low, but his game seems more like that of an overseas guy instead of the NBA. He’s good in the low post on offense and can knock down the three, but things get a little dicey on defense. It’s unknown if he can handle bigger centers down low, and he’s got to get better in protecting the rim.
50) Neemias Queta, 7’0” big, Utah State University
EdMemphis (High, 29): I’m very high on Neemias Queta & for several reasons. He’s been highly productive in the 30mpg he’s received. Neemias is what I call a “Two-Way Playmaking Big”. He scores, defends, blocks shots, assist in scoring, rebounds & plays the passing lanes very well & all of this even translates on the stat sheet. How he isn’t at least more in the lottery discussions, I’m not sure. I do know if falls to the bottom of the first round or early second, he will likely prove to be a huge steal.
Joe Mullinax (Low, 57): He can defend the rim with the best of this class, but I worry about his health issues with his knee. He already struggles moving laterally/is a bit stiff in terms of his defensive shifts, and while he should be sound in drop coverage (something Memphis does utilize) if he cannot be versatile in terms of scheme he becomes predictable. He is a talented player, but there will be better options for Memphis at 51.
Could any of these prospects be 2nd round targets for the Grizzlies? Stay tuned with the big board, as we conclude the 2nd round tomorrow.