Draft Day: The Beginning or the End of a Franchise

Trenton WoodleyContributor IJune 22, 2008

By now you all should know the woes and missteps of the Grizzlies franchise.  You know, the team that was the first NBA franchise outside of the U.S when they were in Vancouver.  The team that picked in the first ten picks in the draft for eight straight years.

Oh, and how can I forget about them being the team that holds the dubious distinction of not winning a single playoff game in fourteen tries!  Hopefully, that brought you back up to speed with them.

The Memphis Grizzlies have been hit and miss in recent drafts.  Their most successful year draft-wise was in 2001, their first in Memphis, when they got Pau Gasol and Shane Battier, who ended up finishing one and two in Rookie of the Year ballots, with Pau Gasol taking the award.

Now, the franchise's all-time leader in steals (Battier) and the all-time franchise scorer, rebounder, and blocker (Gasol) are winning games with other franchises—Houston and the Lakers, respectively. 

Now it is yet to be seen if Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, Jr. can be a powerful duo, but what the Grizzlies do in this year's draft will decide where the team is going—whether it be down the toilet, like it has been looking, or whether they will be able to rise above their struggles and make it after all.

As far as team needs go, well, let's face it—they need a team!  But since that is a long shot to happen, necessity lies at shooting guard and center.  Depending on how Minnesota picks, they will have a tough choice of picking between O.J. Mayo and Brook Lopez.

Mayo is a terrific scorer with skills being compared to that of Kobe Bryant's.  Brook Lopez, on the other hand, is a terrific post presence whose playing reminds many of Tim Duncan.

While one can have an immediate impact, I believe that to go with the impact player would not be the best choice for the Grizzlies.  One player can be an integral part of the franchise, and I believe that the choice should be Brook Lopez.

To add a dominant scorer to the equation would possibly bring dissension to the locker room, as Rudy Gay is already the big time guy for the team.  Lopez' contribution could help the team build upon itself and eventually become a powerhouse.  Taking the scorer would not be the right move.

These men are not the only possible pickups—they are the best available at the time.  So Grizzlies fans, heed my words: Pray for the Cardinal, not the Trojan.  Because the Cardinal will stand true, but the Trojan will break on you.