For the first time in a long time, the Memphis Grizzlies was a legitimate playoff contender last season. However, the hopes for an NBA Championship were dashed in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs when Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant was injured in Game 3 in their semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors.
However, the Memphis organization did not stand pat this off-season because the Grizzlies ended up wheeling and dealing in the NBA Draft. After the draft was over, Memphis ended up with four new draft picks added to the roster. Here is a look at the new selections.
Round 1, Pick 19: Jake LaRavia - SF - Wake Forest. 6'9", 228 lbs (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.0 bpg, 38.4% 3-PT FG%).
Although LaRavia plays at small forward, he is able to bring the ball up court in transition and initiate the offense like a point forward or can spot up on the wing for long-distance shots. Scouts were concerned about his lack of speed, but the way he anticipates plays allows for him to be efficient at both ends of the court. He should see some time off of the bench since the Grizzlies did not re-sign Kyle Anderson.
Round 1, Pick 23: David Roddy - F - Colorado State. 6'5", 252 lbs (19.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.9 spg, 1.2 spg, 1.1 bpg, 43.8% 3-PT FG%).
Roddy primarily played at power forward at Colorado State, but he played at all five positions in college. His position-less play could possibly thrive in the NBA. He could possibly find time off of the bench as well because of his shot selection and because he can be used to exploit mismatches against opposing teams.
Round 2, Pick 8: Kennedy Chandler - PG - Tennessee. 6'0", 172 lbs (13.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.2 spg, 38.3% 3-PT FG%).
Chandler will add even more point guard depth behind Morant and Tyus Jones. He could also see time because of his defense and because he also thrives as a spot-up shooter along the baseline. The NBA emphasizes height in the draft, but Chandler is a steal in the second round.
Round 2, Pick 17: Vince Williams, Jr. - SG - VCU. 6'6", 210 lbs (14.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.1 bpg, 38.7% 3-PT FG%).
Williams, Jr. is a very good defender that can make plays on the offensive end with his passing and his perimeter shooting.
Adding these four players and rookie free agent Kenneth Lofton, Jr. ensures that Memphis will have one of the top five deepest teams in the NBA for this upcoming season. Grade: A.