NBA Draft 2021 Rumors: Grizzlies Interested In Trading Up After Acquiring No. 10 Pick

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 27, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JUNE 2: Head Coach Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies huddles with his team during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 2, 2021 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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)
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The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly looking to trade up in Thursday's 2021 NBA draft again after acquiring the No. 10 pick in a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported Monday the Grizzlies are trying to get high enough in the draft order to land either Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.

The deal with the Pelicans, which also saw Memphis acquire Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe and a top-10 protected pick in the 2022 draft via the Los Angeles Lakers, gives the Grizz a potential for three first-round selections in next year's draft in addition to the top-10 pick Thursday night.

That's a lot of draft capital to keep adding talent around a core that posted a 38-34 record to earn a playoff berth during the 2020-21 season. The Grizzlies were knocked out in the opening round of the postseason by the Utah Jazz.

Kuminga, 18, spent last season in the G League and held his own against pro competition. The versatile forward averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists across 13 appearances. Offensive efficiency is a concern as he shot just 38.7 percent from the field, including 24.6 percent on threes.

"I know for sure I'm a top-five pick, but I'm not worried about that," Kuminga told reporters last week. "The NBA teams didn't drop me, that's just the rankings. We don't know where I'm going to end up, so I'm not really concerned about dropping because I don't really look into it. I know for sure I haven't dropped; that's just how I see things."

He may not be a top-five pick in the end because of a star-studded class of prospects, led by Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes, but he's a virtual lock to land inside the top 10.

The story is much the same for Bouknight, a dynamic guard who struggled with his shot across two seasons at UConn. The 20-year-old New York City native shot 45.6 percent from the field and 32 percent on threes in 43 games for the Huskies.

"I think I'm a player that can go into the league and, right away, make an impact," he told reporters Monday. "I'm not saying it's going to be sweet and I'll be a killer from day one. There are definitely going to be rookie curves, and adjusting."

The Grizzlies have a strong core in place with Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr., so they can afford to take a player like Kuminga or Bouknight, who have ample talent but might need a couple years of experience before they become high-impact players in the NBA.

It's possible one of them slides to No. 10 even if Memphis can't trade up again, but the team's front office may not want to take that risk of waiting.