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2022 Memphis Grizzlies Exhibit 10 Prospect Profiles: Jacob Gilyard

Gilyard becomes the second Exhibit 10 player linked to Memphis this offseason

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Providence v Richmond Photo by Bill Wippert/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Although the NBA offseason has reached its dead period following Summer League, teams are still making minor moves on the edges while everyone awaits what ultimately happens (or doesn’t) with Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. It wasn’t a Woj bomb or breaking news from Shams, but ESPN’s Bobby Marks broke the eventual signing of Jacob Gilyard to an Exhibit 10 deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

In case you are wondering what in the world an Exhibit 10 contract is, I wrote about the basics of them a couple of seasons ago. The basics: NBA teams will sign prospects to Exhibit 10 contracts in an effort to basically give them a glorified G League contract. Signing an E10 deal gives the player a significant bonus if they spend 60+ days with the NBA team’s G League affiliate, while also being presented with the opportunity to spend training camp with the NBA team. While Gilyard has not officially signed, similar to Keve Aluma who was linked to Memphis around the draft, the players will likely sign these contracts in a little over a month as the team prepares for training camp.

I briefly discussed Aluma when I broke down the Grizzlies summer league roster last month and with the news of Gilyard, it’s time for Grizzlies and Hustle fans to become familiar with the Richmond Spider.

Jacob Gilyard, Guard, Richmond

  • 5’9”, 160 pounds, 24 years old from Kansas City, Missouri
  • Last season at Richmond: In 37 games (38.5 minutes per game) — 13.3 points on 39.5% shooting (36% from 3, 86% from the free throw line), 3.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.9 steals
  • Five-year college career (all at Richmond): In 154 games (37.3 minutes per game) — 13.2 points on 43.9% shooting (36.2% from 3, 82% from the free throw line, 2.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3 steals
  • AWARDS AND ACCOLADES: NCAA Division I all-time steals leader, 2x NCAA season steals leader (2020, 2021) Atlantic 10 Tournament MVP (2022), 4x Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team (2019-2022), Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year (2020), First-team All-Atlantic 10 (2020) 2x Second-team All-Atlantic 10 (2019, 2021), Third-team All-Atlantic 10 (2022)

Gilyard comes to the Grizzlies organization after finishing up a five-year career with the Richmond Spiders. Gilyard was a force for the Spiders from day one, starting in all 32 games his freshman season. He had a highly-touted collegiate career with the Spiders, highlighted by becoming the all-time steals leader finishing his career with 466 total steals shattering the previous record of 385. Gilyard is an undersized guard but made up for his lack of size at the collegiate level with efficient and creative play.

Gilyard played in summer league with both the Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves where he averaged 2.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.3 and .8 steals per game in nearly 14 minutes of action over 6 games. The limited role in California and Vegas didn’t provide Gilyard to really flash the skills that made him very successful at Richmond.

Areas of Strength

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Providence vs Richmond Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Leading the NCAA in steals for two seasons and finishing your career as the all-time steals leader makes forcing turnovers a pretty great area of strength for Gilyard. He has a knack for forcing turnovers whether it be with his active and accurate hands or his ability to read passing lanes. Gilyard doesn’t lose positioning when going for steals, further making him a pest defensively.

Offensively, Gilyard is a high IQ player which helps him as a solid floor general. He’s a quick shooter off of dribble moves and can be an off-ball threat with solid spot-up shooting numbers to go with a quick release. Gilyard also has great vision that makes him an efficient pick-and-roll point guard. He’s also able to see beyond defenses in transition for fast break opportunities. He’s a solid shooter who was pretty efficient on high-volume from deep where he shot 36.2% on 6 attempts from beyond the arc in his career. Gilyard was streaky in finishing at the rim but as a shooter he’s good with room to grow.

Areas of Weakness

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Providence vs Richmond Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of Gilyard’s weaknesses begin with his size. At 5’9”, his on ball success he found at Richmond will be tough to translate at the NBA level and will be interesting to see how it plays out in the G League. He will be bullied a little bit by bigger guards, so his on-ball defense will likely see a sizeable drop off. Hustle Head Coach Jason March will have to find ways to hide Gilyard one-on-one defensively, while still creating opportunities for him to use his defensive instincts to jump passing lanes. Gilyard’s size also will make it difficult for him to get shots off bigger defenders and will likely have quite a few shots blocked early in his career as he adjusts to the level of play in the G League. Defensively, it will be easy for opponents to shoot over him, so he’ll need to use his quick hands to try and knock the ball lose before opponents get the shot off. Standard shot contests will be mostly ineffective for Gilyard due to his size.

Gilyard is also a relatively predictable pick-and-roll scorer and playmaker. He doesn’t have elite vision, and although he can make fine passes, he isn’t great at improvising if his first or second read is cut off. Scoring out of the pick-and-roll is where Gilyard really struggles with being predictable. He basically uses two moves: a stepback or a straight line drive to the rim. He’ll need to focus on being more creative out of the pick and roll to continue to grow.

Memphis Outlook

Without knowing the Memphis Hustle’s roster for the 2021-2022 season, it is tough to really predict Gilyard’s role with the team. With Ja Morant, Tyus Jones and Kennedy Chandler with the Grizzlies, there isn’t much hope that Gilyard can parlay this E10 deal into an immediate role with the Grizzlies. Shaq Buchanan is leaving the Hustle to play overseas, and Ahmad Caver could decide to do the same if he doesn’t land with another NBA team (he played Summer League with Phoenix). If Caver stays, the Hustle are relatively set at the point guard spot with David Stockton and Caver, especially considering the likelook of some Chandler assignment run. If Gilyard is essentially a Tyrell Terry replacement, minutes may be scarce early on, but March has been creative in the past with dual point guard lineups. Should other incumbents from last years team leave, Gilyard could have an expanded role.

Ultimately there shouldn’t be high expectation for Gilyard, especially at the NBA level, early on. He’s still a really interesting prospect Memphis has picked up though with his defensive abilities. If he can hone in on those skills against the higher levels of competition, he could find himself finding a niche as a defensive-minded 3rd point guard.

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