Pelicans, Grizzlies' Updated Draft Picks, Rosters After Bledsoe-Valanciunas Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2021

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 19: Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 19, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

With days to go until the 2021 NBA draft, the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans reshaped the first round a bit.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the teams are nearing a deal in which New Orleans will acquire Jonas Valanciunas and the Nos. 17 and 51 picks in the upcoming draft. Memphis will receive Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, a protected 2022 first-rounder and the Nos. 10 and 40 picks this year. According to Andrew Lopez of ESPN, the 2022 pick is top-10 protected from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported the Grizzlies are expected to quickly jettison Bledsoe when the trade goes through.

Here's what the two teams are expected to look like after the swap:

Memphis Grizzlies Depth Chart

PG: Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, Tim Frazier

SG: Dillon Brooks, Grayson Allen, De'Anthony Melton

SF: Kyle Anderson, Desmond Bane, Justise Winslow

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke

C: Steven Adams, Xavier Tillman, Killian Tillie

New Orleans Pelicans Depth Chart

PG: Lonzo Ball, Kira Lewis Jr.

SG: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, James Nunnally

SF: Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Naji Marshall, Wes Iwundu

PF: Zion Williamson, James Johnson, Wenyen Gabriel

C: Jonas Valanciunas, Jaxson Hayes, Willy Hernangomez

The first-round pick going to Memphis was part of the Anthony Davis trade in 2019. Weep not for the Pelicans because they still have a bevy of first-rounders to either use or turn into trade assets.

Pelicans First-Round Picks

2021: Grizzlies (No. 17)

2022: Own, Lakers

2023: Own or Pick Swap (Lakers)

2024: Own or Pick Swap (Bucks), Lakers*

2025: Own, Bucks, Lakers*

2026: Own or Pick Swap (Bucks)

2027: Own, Bucks

2028: Own

*The Pelicans have the opportunity to take the Lakers' first-rounder in 2024 or 2025

That provides the front office with a lot of flexibility. New Orleans can either continue making smaller improvements, such as replacing Adams with Valanciunas, or it can take a big swing on an All-Star looking to move.

The latter scenario seems the most probably because it's likely to get the Pelicans closer to an NBA title. The Milwaukee Bucks' championship probably doesn't happen if they don't push all of their chips in on Jrue Holiday.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, move up seven spots and thus get the chance to augment their roster with another young star alongside Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

I like this for both. Jonas V is really good, tough, and shoots 3s. Much better fit for the Pelicans next to Zion. But man, I can’t wait to see what the Grizzlies do at #10. Memphis has hit on every draft pick in recent years. Tons of talent available mid-lotto that fits with Ja. <a href="https://t.co/gHoXkyo8CI">https://t.co/gHoXkyo8CI</a>

Using last year as a comparison, Aleksej Pokusevski was the No. 17 overall pick. Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony and Isaiah Stewart all went between Nos. 10-16. Cameron Johnson, Cam Reddish and Tyler Herro fell within that zone in 2019.

Memphis probably isn't getting a foundational talent at No. 10, but the pool of prospects available to general manager Zach Kleiman is a little larger. These are the kind of marginal gains franchises in smaller markets should always look to exploit.