Grizzlies

Minott’s Upside Worth the Risk for Memphis?

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This past season for the Memphis Grizzlies exemplified how quality depth can add to a team’s success.

While star point guard Ja Morant was injured, 2-3 players made up for his absence, one of whom was rookie Ziaire Williams. The Grizzlies have drafted well since Zach Kleiman took over, taking players ready to step in and produce. With a solid young core now in place, can the Grizzlies now afford to take a chance?

Josh Minott is a well-known name to Memphis-area folks, as he played for Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers this past season. The 6’8’’ forward from Boca Raton, Florida averaged 6.6 points per game this year, hardly stuff to set the world on fire.

He had his moments over the course of the season, however. He got an uptick in minutes around halfway through the season and had a few impressive performances, including a 15-point, six-rebound game at Wichita State.

While there were certainly flashes this past year for Minott, his minutes dipped towards the end of the year around tournament time, and he didn’t really get an extended run to impose himself on a game.

That said, what exactly does he bring to the table for potential suitors in the draft?

Minott’s Might

Minott has the potential to be a great sleeper pick for someone should he fall lower than his projections. A former ESPN 100 player out of high school, Minott had some tremendous performances that didn’t always produce a “wow” factor because of his style of play. When he’s at his best, he’s getting to the rim and finishing with effectiveness, usually on the receiving end of a pick and roll.

While he finishes at a consistent clip, Minott’s best attribute is his superior athleticism. This allows him to better recover defensively than others his size and grants him many different ways to finish offensively, too. His frame combined with his athletic ability creates problems for any opposition.

Minott was a solid defensive player, as he averaged 2.3 steals and 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes with a 92.7 defensive rating last year. This led the Tigers to the second-best defensive rating in the AAC at 96.7. His size and athleticism allows him to guard one through five efficiently, and Minott is adept at disrupting passing lanes for easy steals.

Areas of Improvement

While Minott was effective in his minutes for the Tigers last year, there were some facets of his game where he struggled heavily. The upside is there, but these areas could be make-or-break for him finding consistent NBA minutes.

As noted above, Minott was stellar defensively last year, but one thing he struggled with was ball security. After making a great defensive play, he followed it by turning it right back over a time too many. Not just in the transition offense, but in the half-court sets too, Minott surrendered numerous possessions with lazy offensive awareness.

Perhaps the more crucial area in need of improvement for Minott would be his shooting. He shot just 14.3% from three at Memphis and lacked consistency from the mid-range, too. Even though he is a very good rim-finisher, he needs to develop a shot to compete in today’s NBA.

This may involve a total reworking of his form, which lacks fluidity and confidence.

Does He Fit?

This is a tough question to answer.

On one hand, it seems Minott would fit right in with the culture instilled in the team already. He could also find minutes by playing the role Brandon Clarke does for Memphis should BC be moved into the starting rotation.

But would this be the type of player the Grizzlies would want at this stage– a rim-running forward that is a below-average shooter at best?

Draft projections have Minott going as early as a late first-round to a mid-to-late second-round pick.

Either could be a realistic scenario.

His upside is off the charts with his athleticism and frame, but the drag-backs of his shooting could turn a lot of teams off.

If he is available in the late first round or even in the second round, however, the Grizzlies should seriously consider him. He fits with what they’re trying to do and could potentially add another young star to this budding team.

It could be just the roll of the dice King Kleiman decides to take, and quite possibly have a big payoff.

About Ian Sparks

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