We’re entering the part of the board where it’s super far out of the Memphis Grizzlies’ region. A lot of these prospects are good players that are probably reaches at 17, but are too high to be in the 51 range.
However, you never know what could happen on draft night. The Grizzlies could very much make another deal in the late first-round or earlier in the 2nd round to nab any of these guys.
If that’s the case, which of these prospects could be in play for the Grizzlies?
31) Miles McBride, 6’2” guard, West Virginia University
Parker Fleming (25): Miles McBride has the prototype to be a strong combo guard at the next level, as he’s 6’2” with a 6’8” wingspan. He also hounds his opponents defensively, while having a nice off-the-dribble game on the other side. He’s going to slide in perfectly as a lucky team’s 3rd guard that can operate the offense or serve as a co-pilot.
Nathan Chester (44): Miles McBride falling this low is more of a consequence of how much I like players ahead of him rather than real issues with him. I still think it’s a valid question as to what position he plays in the NBA and whom does he guard in the NBA.
32) Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, 6’9” big, Villanova University
Jesse Cinquini (27): Robinson-Earl staked his claim among the most polished and versatile defenders in this draft. At nearly 6’8” and 242 pounds, he has the quickness to deter guard/wing dribble penetration and the brawn to play bully ball with taller counterparts. Couple that with his excellent rebounding production for a wing (8.5 per game last season) as well as his ability to attack closeouts in the half-court, and Robinson-Earl has the foundational tools for a prolonged career.
EdMemphis (44): He has a great motor, and is smart player who has continued to develop over his two years at Nova. He’s also a limited athlete and shooter thus far, but has a solid two-way floor. He can come in and contribute right away, if he develops his shooting more, he can be a key role player. Solid floor but not much ceiling, so I see him more as a later value play.
33) JT Thor, 6’10” wing, Auburn University
Justin Lewis (25): I am shocked I am the highest on Thor. Granted they were just work out videos in an open gym, Thor’s three point stroke looks better than the 30% number he shot in his lone season at Auburn. He was a top 10 defensive player in the SEC and has a high ceiling.
EdMemphis (54): JT Thor is a monster athlete and specimen but not the most savvy even at his strength which will be defense. He certainly can be a contributor but may need some time to polish his feel for the game and improve his shooting — although Thor does project to be a solid shooter on the NBA level.
34) Na’Shon “Bones” Hyland, 6’3” guard, Wichita State University
Jesse Cinquini (30): If you look up “scorer” in the dictionary, you’ll be greeted with a picture of Hyland. He’s a bonafide three-level sparkplug who can pull up from Curry range, create mid-range looks with hesitation and change of pace dribbles, and craftily finish at the cup, where he is aided by his giant-for-his-size 6’9” wingspan. Hyland could potentially be a starter in this league if his defensive potential comes to fruition.
Brandon Abraham (44): Hyland is a natural at scoring the basketball, and has the potential to be a spark plug off the bench in the right situation. When his shot is falling, Hyland is great, but when he’s having an off shooting night he tends to force things and doesn’t do much outside of shooting the ball. I’d like to see him be more involved on the defensive end or even just doing more to create for his teammates offensively.
35) Brandon Boston, Jr., 6’7” wing, University of Kentucky
View Nathan Chester profile on Boston here.
Nathan Chester (31): BJ Boston significantly underachieved as a freshman at Kentucky, but I think some of the backlash against him is extreme. After all, Ziaire Williams is a very similar player with similar struggles , and he’s projected to go top-20 in many mocks. 30-35 sounds about right for him.
Justin Lewis (47): We know that Calipari has a well-documented history of misusing his guards in college, but sue me for not being in love with a wing that shoots 30% from deep. Boston produced one of the lowest Offensive Ratings I have seen while scouting this draft class. The Grizzlies don’t have a need for another inefficient 6’7 wing player, one is more than enough.
36) Joel Ayayi, 6’5” guard, Gonzaga University
EdMemphis (17): Joel Ayayi has displayed some serious OFF ball potential. He isn’t the best playmaker, but his success off the ball may be a breath of fresh air to teams loaded with on ball players at nearly every position these days. Ayayi is a hustler, highly efficient, and can be a solid two-way guard already comfortable playing off of a star point guard.
Lauren Harvey (52): Ayayi is a respectable playmaker, but I worry about his tendency to die on screens. While he was a very good rebounder in college, I don’t trust that will translate to the NBA unless he adds significant muscle. He will also need to draw fouls at a much higher rate than he did at Gonzaga.
37) Josh Primo, 6’5” wing, University of Alabama
Joe Mullinax (29): If you want to take an upside swing, look no further than the youngest prospect in this draft. No, he didn’t dominate the SEC while at Alabama. But throughout his young career he has shown the capacity to create for himself and others while also having a frame and lateral quickness to be a sound defender. At 18 years old, he can grow and develop with the Memphis Hustle while waiting his turn as the roster consolidation approaches over the next year. And he can be a willing mentee to the likes of Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks - he has the talent, he needs folks to look up to. Memphis has a few of those from a basketball perspective to instill the “Grizzlies Standard” in the young combo guard.
Shawn Coleman (50): My ranking of Josh Primo is not really due to talent, but just in the fact that I feel it makes more sense for him to wait until the 2022 draft. The shot talent is real, but how long will it take for the other parts of his game to make him valuable elsewhere? It could take quite a while for him to develop.
38) Greg Brown, 6’8” big, University of Texas
Lauren Harvey (27): The athleticism and rebounding potential is enough for me to believe in Greg Brown. He’s already an excellent finisher and his jump shot is solid enough to suggest he can be a decent shooter at the NBA level. There’s risk involved with Brown, but the ceiling is there, and it wouldn’t shock me if he ends up a top 10 player in this draft.
Parker Fleming (59): Greg Brown is already so raw, and he has a lot of work to do, especially as a decision-maker (1 assist against 30 turnovers). His motor issues in the combine turned me off, as his game will rely on athleticism and energy at the next level.
39) Joe Wieskamp, 6’6” wing, University of Iowa
Jesse Cinquini (39): Shooting 46.2% from three on 5.1 attempts per game last season, Wisekamp is the best shooter in this draft not named Corey Kispert. He’s a constant threat as an off-ball cutter and works himself into open looks via screens and hand-offs akin to Duncan Robinson. Wisekamp can impact the game as a floor-spacer right away in a league where teams cannot have enough shooting.
Joe Mullinax (53): Let the record show that for what he is, I really like Wieskamp. He is one of the very best shooters in this draft, and Memphis could always use more guys that can space the floor. I also like that given his ability to move laterally and his length that he shouldn’t be easily played off the court in that “specialist” role. However, the Grizzlies need versatility at this stage of the game more than they need just shooting, and Wieskamp is almost non-existent as a ball handler/creator off the dribble. He is an NBA prospect to be sure, and if Memphis selected him it would be a fine pick. But if you are moving up to get him, there will likely be more malleable players with more eclectic skill sets than him available. That’d be my preference.
40) Jason Preston, 6’4” guard, Ohio University
Ben Hogan (39): I like Preston and feel that he is one of the more overlooked prospects in the draft. I am actually surprised that my ranking of him is higher than most on GBB. He has the potential to be one of the league’s best backup point guards, and could be counted on to start or log major minutes due to injury or foul trouble. His bread and butter is the pick-and-roll, as he can take advantage of his matchup and finish at the rim. Preston is also a skilled passer, and can be a threat to flirt with a triple-double when he gets enough minutes. He is a tad slow on the defensive end, and could use a little discipline from the perimeter, but those are things that shouldn’t hurt his draft stock too much.
Brandon Abraham (53): Preston had a nice 3 year career at Ohio, even if his numbers took a step back this past season. He’s a great passer, but I have my concerns with his ability to score at the next level due to his size and athleticism.