The Memphis Grizzlies came into the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery tied for the third best chance at the No. 1 overall pick. So when the team walked away with the fifth pick in June’s upcoming draft, the results weren’t great, but could have been worse.
Kind of like last year’s first round selection at No. 4 overall, Mike Conley. Conley wasn’t a bust, but isn’t ready to be a starter yet in the NBA.
After trading away their best player in Pau Gasol and receiving complete bullshit in return, in the form of Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittenton, the Griz are hoping to make more of a splash this year. They need to make an effort to get help to budding star Rudy Gay and his decent supporting core of Mike Miller, Hakim Warrick, and Juan Carlos Navarro.
I’ll break down three draft possibilities for the Memphis Grizzlies, and make my selection that I feel would help the team the most.
Jordan might have the most upside of any big man in the draft. Although he was inconsistent in his one year at Texas A&M, he averaged 7.9 PPG and 6.0 RPG. He is limited to the paint offensively, as he doesn’t have the midrange jumper seen in a lot of big men in today’s game.
Love was one of the best players in the country as a freshman last year. He averaged 17.5 PPG and 10.7 RPG. He has the ability to shoot midrange jumpers as well as the mature body to bang in the post.
Along with his scoring and rebounding, Love also is an incredible passer for a big man. His full-court chest passes became a thing of legend towards the end of the season.
Mayo might be the most talked about prospect in this year’s class, because of his actions both on and off the court. He has long been hailed as one of the most talented players in this year’s draft class, and didn’t disappoint at USC.
Mayo averaged 20.7 PPG, 3.3 APG and 4.5 RPG in his first year at the NCAA ranks. However, he seemed to dominate the ball at times, slowing down the offense so that he could get his touches. He showed that he wasn’t afraid to shoot the ball, but also might of shot too much.
The Grizzlies would be best suited by picking Kevin Love. Here’s why.
Jordan didn’t put up great numbers in the Big 12 last year, so the Western Conference probably won’t be kind to him either. He does have the size and potential to be good, but Love is better in every facet of the game right now. If “The Love Shack” is still available, Jordan is the inferior pick.
As I mentioned, the Grizzlies really don’t need another young guard. And if they do draft Mayo, how are the shots divided?
Gay and Miller already jack the ball up enough. Mayo would take away from their growth, and also stunt any progress Mike Conley Jr. could make offensively. He is not the answer, and if they pick him, I might renounce them as a favorite.
The Grizzlies actually have a pretty good starting lineup to build around if they pick up Love. Here’s how they would project:
-Point Guard: Mike Conley Jr.
-Shooting Guard: Rudy Gay
-Small Forward: Mike Miller
-Power Forward: Hakim Warrick
-Center: Kevin Love
With that type of core, the talent is in place for better years to come. Let’s hope general manager Chris Wallace can make the right decision.