On draft night, Grizzlies fans were caught off guard when Memphis made their second trade of the night to select David Roddy. Memphis had kept their draft plans under wraps, so when the Memphis Grizzlies traded De’Anthony Melton to move up and get their guy, it left Grizz fans with many questions, such as: who is David Roddy?
At 6’6” and 255 pounds, Roddy has a unique body type for an NBA player. Not quite a guard, not quite a forward, Roddy can play and defend multiple positions. His size makes him an interesting addition to a loaded Grizzlies roster. The frontcourt is stacked, so could Roddy find minutes at the three? He possesses the necessary agility and ball-handling to thrive offensively, but his size could cause mismatches when he defends smaller wings.
He played three years at Colorado State, averaging 15.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists during his college career. The Grizzlies have shown in recent drafts that they gravitate toward players that played multiple seasons in college and Roddy fits that profile. With each year, Roddy showed significant improvement, and in his final season, he averaged 19.2 points on 57.1 FG% and 43.8% from beyond the arc, while tallying 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
In NBA Summer League, Roddy showed off his playmaking and three-level scoring ability in Vegas. Roddy recorded 20 points and three rebounds in a win over the Brooklyn Nets — and tallied 16 points and five rebounds against the Utah Jazz in another outing.
In Memphis’s first preseason game on Saturday, Roddy led the Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points. He drained two threes and grabbed five rebounds. Against the Magic, on Monday, Roddy only played 12 minutes, all in the fourth quarter. He shared the court some with Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke, but Roddy — for the most part — played with other rookies. Roddy finished with four points, four rebounds and two assists. He went 0/2 from deep and struggled defensively against quicker players.
It was notable that Roddy did not make the 10-man rotation in the first preseason game with the Grizzlies’ starters. He was the sixth player off of the bench and only played 12 minutes to, fellow rookie, Jake LaRavia’s 21. Friday’s game against Miami will be telling as to where Roddy ends up in the rotation. The season has yet to begin, and Taylor Jenkins will certainly alter lineups throughout the year, so the door is not shut on Roddy cracking the rotation.
Roddy is from Minneapolis and kept in touch with fellow Minnesotan Tyus Jones ahead of the draft. The rookie even went as far as to say that Jones was a mentor for him growing up. Roddy and Jones faced off in the Twin Cities Pro Am Championship game in August.
After Roddy was selected, Grizzlies fans were also left wondering what this meant for Kyle Anderson. The veteran forward was an unrestricted free agent, and after Memphis spent two first-round picks on forwards, it seemed unlikely Memphis would bring back Anderson. He had been a valuable veteran for the GrzNxtGen, but the front office was ready to move on. Ultimately, Anderson signed a 2-year deal with Minnesota worth $18 million.
Even with Anderson gone, Memphis has a major logjam at forward. Outside of Jaren Jackson Jr., no one is guaranteed minutes, and the competition for playing time will be intense. Brandon Clarke proved himself in the playoffs, and he and Jackson have played well together as a frontcourt duo. Santi Aldama is in his second season and from Summer League and two preseason games, Memphis’s coaching staff has made it obvious they think highly of the Spaniard. Xavier Tillman is still on the roster, but there is no reason for him to take playing time from the Grizzlies’ newest additions. LaRavia and Roddy bring different skillsets, but they will still be competing for playing time. Memphis could also play Brooks at the four in a small-ball lineup, as Anthony Sain outlined last month. And of course, there is the outside chance, new fan-favorite, Kenny Lofton Jr. finds his way into the rotation.
The Grizzlies would not have traded Melton, a valuable contributor to Memphis’s success last season, if they did not plan to get Roddy involved. Through two preseason games, Grizzlies fans are yet to see him get significant playing time with Memphis’s core, but Roddy’s shooting and playmaking should take pressure off of Ja Morant and Bane. Roddy may not be a Rookie of the Year candidate, but he certainly has the potential to be an essential role player for Memphis, and his college experience will be valuable for a Grizzlies team that is ready to compete now.