Over the next two and a half weeks, GBB will be profiling various players the Memphis Grizzlies may target in the 2022 draft. We'll primarily look at who they may pick with the 22nd and 29th pick or with a pick from a possible trade-up in the draft.
Blake Wesley, Shooting Guard, Notre Dame
- 6'4", 6'9" wingspan, 187 pounds, 19 years old, from South Bend, IN
- Last season with Notre Dame: In 35 Games (29.3 minutes per game) — 14.4 points on 40.4% shooting (30.3% from 3, 65.7% from the free-throw line), 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.1 blocks
- 3 STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon): Usage Rate (31.3%), Steals per 36 Minutes (1.5), Wingspan (6'4")
- 3 STATS TO IMPROVE (per Tankathon): Box Score +/- (1.3), True Shooting Percentage (49.5%), Free Throw Percentage (65.7%)
- AWARDS AND ACCOLADES: 2021-22 All-ACC Second Team, 2021-22 All-ACC Freshman Team,
- CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENT: 27 (Tankathon), 18 (The Ringer), 27 (ESPN), 33 (CBS Sports), 24 (The Athletic), 39 (Bleacher Report)
There is only about a week until the 2022 NBA draft, and the Grizzlies front office should have their big board close to set. One name that could make an appearance at either the 22nd or 29th pick is Blake Wesley from Notre Dame. Wesley has already set up a workout with the Grizzlies, so there seems to be interest from the front office.
Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley said he has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Grizzlies, Heat and Bulls. Wesley worked out for the Wizards this morning and said he previously worked out for the Nuggets, Spurs, Cavaliers, Hornets, Bucks and Pistons.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 13, 2022
Wesley was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school, but many did not expect him to be an NBA draft prospect this soon. The freshman shooting guard averaged 14 points per game for Notre Dame last season and immediately impacted both ends of the floor. By the end of the season, Wesley was integral in leading Notre Dame to two NCAA tournament wins and was a projected first-round prospect. His game is still very raw, which is why his draft range is so large, but the potential is there.
Areas of strength
The biggest strength for Wesley is his size and athleticism. With a 6'9" wingspan, Wesley has developed into a solid defender who is excellent at playing the passing lanes off the ball. Wesley intercepted passes all season, averaging over 1.3 steals per game, and often converted on the other end, getting easy dunks. He also has an extremely quick first step and is difficult to contain with the ball in his hands.On top of his physical abilities, Wesley takes pride in his defense, similar to many players currently on the Grizzlies. He reminds me a lot of young Reggie Jackson in his athletic ability and play style on the defensive end. Wesley projects as a good defender who can guard 1-3 in the NBA, and if he ever figures out the jumper, he could be a prototypical shooting guard with three and D capabilities.
Offensively, Blake Wesley has a lot to work on, but the potential is there. He was at his best in the pick-and-roll at Notre Dame, which translates well to the NBA. He was good at making reads, knowing when to attack, when to find his open teammates, and producing points at a high level in the pick and roll.
In over 100 possessions throughout his freshman season, 19-year-old and 6’5 @NDmbb guard Blake Wesley ranked in the 96th percentile as a passer out of the Pick and Roll.— League Him (@League_Him) April 10, 2022
Full Video: https://t.co/HlfJI3LSHa@blakewesley0 pic.twitter.com/iEbHYGeOcF
Wesley is also very quick off the dribble and uses his athleticism to finish at the rim. Wesley also excels on the fast break and is very good at making quick decisions in transition, which he has in common with many current Grizzlies guards. In isolation situations, Wesley has shown the ability to create his own shot and rise above defenders in the mid-range game. He also is adept at using his size to create space with his turnaround jumper.
Areas to improve
The number one area in that Blake Wesley must improve at the NBA level is his shot selection and efficiency. In his first season at Notre Dame, he shot just 40% from the field and 30% from three on over five attempts per game. He also shot 25% or lower from the field ten times during his freshman season, three of these coming in the NCAA tournament. Wesley takes a lot of contested jump shots and layups, which significantly hurt his efficiency numbers. When the ball goes into the basket, it looks spectacular, but he has moments of questionable decision-making. Wesley's shot creation ability is definitely a plus, but at the next level, he will need to play more off the ball and take more open, catch and shoot looks.
He also must improve as a playmaker, which would greatly help his efficiency. He often has tunnel vision when he gets the ball and does not see his open teammates. He reminds me a lot of young Dillon Brooks in that aspect; I even saw some Notre Dame fans call it the "Blake Wesley experience." He was incredible on his good nights, but it was frustrating to watch on the bad nights.
Fit on the Grizzlies
If the Grizzlies were to draft Wesley, he’d be a spark off the bench, similar to the role De'Anthony Melton has played the last couple of seasons. Because of his fast-paced play and defensive prowess, he would fit into the Grizzlies' style that led the league in steals and fast-break points.
The Grizzlies starting two-guard spot is locked up by Desmond Bane for the foreseeable future, but having a guy with Wesley's skill set off the bench could be valuable. In the future, Wesley projects as a 6th man in a Jamal Crawford type of role in Memphis or anywhere else.
If the Grizzlies drafted him with the roster as is, he would struggle to crack the rotation when everyone is healthy. For that reason, I doubt they draft Wesley unless a trade opens up some room for him, but he could be selected for depth. If the Grizzlies do decide to draft Wesley, coaches and the developmental team would have a lot to work with going forward.