Can Roddy Contribute for the Grizzlies This Season?


Franchises often pine for player archetypes and styles that can be important compliments to their stars and core players.

A self-creating guard takes some of the load off of Luka Doncic, allowing him to be effective and efficient without fading late.

Shooters that share the floor with Nikola Jokic feast off his passes, and their spacing ability is pivotal for Jokic himself to thrive.

Charlotte has desperately—and unsuccessfully—searched for the right lob threat and rim protector that can maximize Lamelo Ball’s playmaking and provide defense. 

The best franchises support their stars with seamless fits, and Memphis is no exception.

Fit The Mold

Since the beginning of Zach Kleiman’s tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies, the franchise has seen success with nearly all of their draft picks. However, those picks rarely follow conventional thinking, with the franchise instead opting for a variety of valuable benchmarks and personality traits that fit the building vision.

David Roddy, 6’6” and 21 years old from Colorado State, hits several of these metrics that the Grizzlies deem so valuable.

Roddy flashed a swiss army knife of assorted skills and talents during his time at CSU. He showed the ability to be a competent shooter, a finisher, and a strong rebounding presence. He also displayed some playmaking chops, as he was able to dump the ball down low or kick it to a shooter once the advantage was initially created for him.

His strong frame provides good upside as someone who could play between Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant, reminiscent of another big body forward in Justise Winslow, albeit more as a role player.

Clearly, Memphis is on the hunt for a player who can rebound and shoot while also throwing his weight around in ways that Morant and Jackson Jr. might lack.

Big Body Roddy

The Grizzlies’ drafting method is very unique with regards to body type—they don’t tend to care about it.

Memphis has never let certain metrics dissuade them from a player—Desmond Bane fell due to concerns about his wingspan, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming an elite shooter. Brandon Clarke had similar concerns, yet he also has proven his worth by demonstrating his tenacity and touch around the basket. It’s clear that this franchise likes to draft players with feel, IQ, motivation, and drive. 

Roddy was a favorite of amateur drafters for his intriguing upsides, but he was seen as limited because of his body type. Concerns of limited defensive ability—a symptom of his strong but “stocky” build that would lead to slow foot speed—didn’t stop Memphis from drafting him for what he might do well.

And after taking into account both Roddy’s Summer League and his collegiate production, it looks like Memphis has another draft hit.

What Can He Bring?

Roddy primarily projects as a plus shooter with size.

In his junior year at CSU before declaring for the draft, Roddy shot a whopping 43.8% from three. It’s too early to tell how well that will translate to the NBA, and it’s important to note that he shot 19.5% and 27.8% from three his first two years at CSU.

Roddy was, however, known as a football player and track star in high school, as he was an all-state quarterback for Breck school in Minnesota and a Class A state title winner in discus. A full time commitment to basketball at the college level suggests that his shot may have legitimately improved with time and effort. 

Roddy’s assist numbers increased year over year, as well, increasing from 1.8 his freshman year to 2.6 his sophomore year, and finally landing at 2.9 assists per game his final year. Roddy’s QB vision allows him to make those nice drop-offs down low and kickouts to shooters, and that will surely translate some flashy dimes his rookie year.

Ultimately, though, what sets David Roddy apart is his surprising fluidity matched with his size and body type. It’s an advantage of both a powerful upper and lower body.

His lower body allows for strong and decisive movements. Roddy’s steps maintain power consistently on drives, and his low center of gravity ensures balance regardless of defensive positioning. Combined with his solid footwork, Roddy can use this advantage to shift his initial drives to the basket into spins or fades that create separation for a clean look near the rim, and he can keep up with smaller offensive players without biting on their fakes.

Add in the upper body strength, causing defenders to bounce off of him rather than affect his direction and momentum, and you have an intriguing role player, one whose power packed into a smaller frame creates a dynamic offensive wrecking ball. These talents can potentially enable his rebounding skills, as well.

Luckily, there’s video evidence of this all coming to fruition in just eight seconds.

Will He Play?

If Roddy wants to see the floor for extended stretches this year, he’ll likely have some very simple tests to pass: his shot needs to fall, and he needs to not be the worst defender on the floor. It’s easier said than done, though, and Roddy was projected lower than he was taken due to beliefs that he may never be a good defender at the NBA level. He’ll need to prove the doubters wrong—and Grizz Lead Content Manager Nathan Qualls right (editor’s note here)—as this team will need him to show real defensive versatility if he wants to play this season.

Memphis hopes that the fluidity and dynamism his offensive game possesses translates to the defensive end, as well. He’ll need to play similarly to larger NFL defensive backs who have size but keep up with receivers with hip flexibility, footwork, and intelligence. Plenty of NBA players are eaten alive by the elite first steps of the league (think Tyrese Maxey and De’Aaron Fox), and navigating those margins while throwing his weight around to stop bigger players will be key for Roddy.

As the most developed player drafted this year and with his solid performance in Summer League, Roddy very well may be the first rookie to crack the rotation. Rookie production will be sorely needed after Jackson Jr.’s offseason injury and the departures of both Kyle Anderson and De’Anthony Melton. With strong early showings and quick adjustments to NBA pace, Roddy could solidify his place as a rotation piece.

He’ll have to earn it, but Big Body Roddy has a real chance to make an impact in his first year wearing Beale Street Blue.


Check out last week’s Deep Dive Piece on Santi Aldama by Luke Hatmaker (@luketeno), Aldama Ready for Bigger Role in Memphis. And be sure to check out the Grizz 901 Podcast, where the Grizz Lead guys get on to discuss these Deep Dive players and much, much more!


About Andrew Hanissian

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