Grizz Draft Targets Clearer After Trade


The Memphis Grizzlies have just traded a cornerstone in Jonas Valanciunas.

The package reportedly includes their No. 17 and 51 picks in Thursday’s draft. In return, they will receive Eric Bledsoe (not expected to stay in Memphis, per Chris Haynes), Steven Adams, New Orleans’ No. 10 and 40 picks in tomorrow’s draft, and a 2022 first-round pick (via LAL).

This sent a shockwave through social media and started the draft week with a bang! The Grizzlies are up to something and pieces could continue to move. Memphis has a deep and high-floor team, so adding to this roster should be strategic and ceiling-raising.

Best 1st-Round Fits

Moses Moody – 6’6″ Wing (Arkansas)

Moody has been one of the top players the Grizzlies have coveted this whole season. He is a good defender, but it’s his shot making that makes him a seamless fit. Moses gets to the free-throw line at a high percentage and knocks down the corner three better than most anyone in this draft. Ja Morant would flourish next to Moody with the kick-out corner three.

Jonathan Kuminga – 6’7″ Wing (G-League)

Jonathan Kuminga just screams potential. He has the highest ceiling, but the lowest floor. The outside shooting isn’t there yet, but the upside of his size and athleticism much outweighs his weaknesses. It may be unlikely Kuminga is available at No. 10, but if he falls, Memphis should scoop him up based on potential alone, as he would have all-star potential alongside Ja.

Franz Wagner – 6’9″ Wing (Michigan)

Wagner’s passion is the first thing that pops off the screen. His length, defense and shooting ability fits nicely in Memphis. If the Grizzlies want to move on from Kyle Anderson, then the best player that could step right in would be Franz.

Wagner wouldn’t be the sexiest pick in the top 10, but one that could pay off for the next 10 years.

Alperen Sengun – 6’9″ Big (Turkey)

Sengun was the MVP of the Turkish league at age 18 and finished third in scoring. His low-post footwork, off-ball movement, offensive rebounding and top-level passing is why all teams will look to draft him. Alperen has potential from deep, but this seems to be his most negative asset. Drafting Sengun is an upside pick and would fit next to Jaren Jackson Jr. for years to come.

You can virtually rule out Alperen as the reason the Grizzlies decided to trade up in the draft, but they could see something we don’t.

Corey Kispert – 6’7″ Wing (Gonzaga)

Kispert could be an easy fit with the Grizzlies since he is a proven shooter. He has a quick release on his shot, high passing IQ and is great in transition. Corey spaces the floor for Morant such as Desmond Bane did this past season. His athleticism is underrated and has a higher upside of getting to the rim than Bane. Corey could have been available lower in the draft, but the Grizzlies may just have Corey in their crosshairs.

Best 2nd Round Fits

The Grizzlies will be picking 10 spots outside of the first round. This is a great spot in grabbing a player that falls lower than they should. Below are five players that, if available, would fit perfectly with Memphis. There is so much talent in this draft that picking 40th could still land you first-round potential.

Tre Mann – 6’5″ Combo Guard (Florida)

Drafting Mann here would definitely allow the Grizzlies to package Tyus Jones and move on from him this offseason or before the trade deadline. Mann would be the backup point guard and potentially play along Morant in stretches. He often reminds us of Tyus because his floater and three-point game is the strength of his offense. He is 6’5” and can guard multiple positions, which would be an upgrade over Jones.

Quentin Grimes – 6’5″ Wing (Houston)

Grimes could be the steal of the draft if he is available at 40. He has been in my top 30 all year long and has the shooting potential to be a top-15 player in the draft. Quentin is a streaky player from beyond the arc, but if you see his combine video you will fall in love. He has a beautiful shot and can create enough to keep teams honest.

This is the guy I want the Grizzlies to get because he checks all the boxes for them. If this is the pick, I will be dancing in my living room for a solid two minutes.

Josh Christopher – 6’5″ Wing (Arizona State)

Ja has signed off on Josh Christopher, so if he is available at 40 then he will more than likely be the Grizzlies pick. Christopher is a good isolation scorer with a decent outside shot and has defensive potential, but would need to be more consistent. Taylor Jenkins and Co. have shown they can work with players to get the most of them. This would be a pick based solely on potential that could really pay off.

JT Thor – 6’9″ Big (Auburn)

Thor is completely an upside potential pick. He would not be a player that would contribute next season and more than likely he would spend more time in the G-League than on the main roster. He needs to add more to his frame, but he has potential in his shooting and playmaking during workouts. JT is a raw asset that has a chance to pay off in the long term.

EJ Onu – 6’11” Big (Shawnee State)

Project Big!

EJ is the ultimate project that will dominate in the G-League. He has the length, shot-blocking prowess, athleticism, and three point potential to be an amazing big in this league. Onu will take time to develop, so if the Grizzlies are looking for upside then he is your pick. The twin towers of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Onu could be a dangerous duo for years to come.

No matter who the Grizzlies take on draft night, have faith in Zach Kleiman and Co. With the teams’ previous success, there’s no better time to swing for pure potential. When the draft concludes, we will have a much clearer idea as to what the front office plans to do this offseason and beyond. The front office, coaches and players have outperformed expectations the past couple of years and I do not see that ending.

Memphis is building something special, and on July 29th, the team will continue its grind!

In Kleiman We Trust!

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About Daniel Greer

Audio Director for The Lead Sports Media. Contributor for Grizz Lead & Bet The Lead. Host of the Grizz 901 podcast.

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