Roundtable Reaction to Grizzlies’ Rowdy Draft Night


The Memphis Grizzlies have been rather unpredictable in the draft since the current front office took over.

After weeks of speculation by Grizz fans and media, they again surprised everyone by trading up to take Jake LaRavia, David Roddy and Kennedy Chandler before taking Vince Williams Jr. with the 47th pick. Not only did they take surprising players, they even traded fan-favorite De’Anthony “Mr. Do-Something” Melton to do so.

After taking a few days to process all of this, the Grizz Lead contributors sat down to recap the draft and what they think it means for the franchise moving forward. Read on to see Chris Ingram’s (@chriman_), Ian Sparks’ (@icsparks22) and Nathan Qualls’ (@MemGrizzHomer) thoughts on draft night.

What were you happiest about after draft night?

Chris Ingram: A big area of opportunity for the Grizzlies this off-season was to address three-point shooting. Percentage wise, Zach Kleiman and company did just that on Thursday night, as all four players they brought in shot over 38% from deep last season. I also loved the versatility each player brings both offensively and defensively. Summer League should be very exciting to say the least, especially with the addition of two-way signee Kenny Lofton Jr.

Ian Sparks: For me, it wasn’t necessarily the talent of the players selected. It was how, yet again, this front office stuck to their guns and went after the players they wanted. Every year before this one they have gotten it right, so I have no reason not to trust who they deem is best for this team.

Nathan QuallsMemphis got win-now pieces. While none of the players were considered big names in the draft, they got guys who could fill in roles and help needs immediately. LaRavia can knock down shots, facilitate offense and use his frame on defense. Roddy can provide a P.J. Tucker type of play with hard-nosed defense and his deep shooting. Chandler figures to be the biggest project, but his explosive talent and shooting is undeniable.

While it’s unlikely every draftee plays a big role on this team, the front office aggressively pursued players to fill needs. They were at the very least successful in doing that, and may have even gotten some steals.

What disappointed you the most from the Grizzlies’ draft?

Chris: The methodology. I love the players we got in the first round, but I feel they would have been obtainable without losing an asset in De’Anthony Melton. I’m very aware that some people may disagree, but I still think we could have gotten them at a lesser cost.

Also, there were multiple reports of solid role players being available for draft compensation. With us being loaded with picks, I figured we would use at least one current or future pick to bring in a veteran role player. I wouldn’t call this disappointing that we didn’t, but it definitely was surprising.

IanSomething I think you’ll hear a lot of people say is how the FO went about getting these picks. While it is respectable and admirable to take a chance on these guys, the way they went about it seemed like it could have been better. But hey, who knows? Maybe this was the only option they had in order to get their guys.

NathanLike Chris, I was surprised Memphis did not use their picks to obtain a role player. There were some names being passed around that could have filled a role for them, and I thought they would package those picks to trade for one. Free agency is rapidly approaching, however, so those moves could still be in the works.

I was also upset when Minnesota snagged Josh Minott a few picks before the Grizzlies could get him. While raw, Minott has a ton of upside, and it would have been fun to see him play actual minutes in some version of a Memphis uniform.

What are your thoughts on the Melton trade?

Chris: I wasn’t a fan. If Memphis’ goal is to go after higher talent to compliment the core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane via trade this off-season like many speculate they should, Melton could have enhanced any package to be sent in return. His contract is attractive and his impact on the court as an instant game changer is beyond valuable. Using him to obtain a late first round pick is questionable.

Bringing back Danny Green who is on a very similar contract to Melton just doesn’t seem necessary for a player that was mocked to go in the second round. I’m not against drafting Roddy or trading Melton, but the method in which Memphis did so doesn’t seem like they optimized their assets.

Ian: I figured they were going to let Melt go at some point this off-season, so I was prepared for it. But in that particular trade, I wasn’t crazy about it. Even though he is streaky and not always consistent, I do think they could’ve gotten a little more value for him than what they did.

NathanWhile I will miss Melton’s Mr. Do-Something moments and his million-dollar smile dearly, I was honestly not as upset about this trade as many Grizz fans.

It already seemed like Melton would be moved at some point this offseason. While the argument that he could have been used to return more value makes sense, I simply don’t believe the front office makes arbitrary moves. If they moved Melton, it was either because he wasn’t going to return any more value, or Grizz fans are undervaluing Jake LaRavia and David Roddy. After watching LaRavia’s film, I’m betting on the latter.

After a few days, are you excited about the draftees?

Chris: Overall, I’m super excited to bring these guys into the fold! LaRavia gives Memphis a new skillset that could space the floor and be essential in the playoffs when games tend to slow down. Roddy gives them a legit three-and-D glue guy that can also create off the dribble. Chandler can keep the same pace and flow of the game and is a close friend of Ja Morant. And finally Williams Jr. can flat out shoot it.

Teams that hold the second-best record in the entire league for a season are rarely able to bring in four rookies in the following draft. Depending on what else happens later in the off-season, this could prove to be crucial for the longevity of GrizzNxtGen’s window to compete.

Ian: I’m always excited about new guys joining the squad. I did go on a YouTube binge-watch of these guys’ highlights and that got me a little hyped. Shooting was obviously the issue Kleiman wanted to address, and he definitely got some young guys who have the potential to be legit snipers.

NathanUnbelievably excited. I already loved Roddy before the draft, and the more I see of LaRavia the more I’m sold on him. Plus, how they were able to get Chandler with the 38th pick? What a steal! Every player the Grizzlies drafted has a chance to be a great role player, if not more. And they all fit the culture.

That’s all without mentioning Williams Jr.’s shooting or them signing Kenneth Lofton Jr. Could you have a more exciting team heading to Vegas for Summer League?

What are your final draft grades for the Grizz?

Chris: I would give the Grizzlies a “B-.” Again, it’s primarily because of methodology. Without losing a future trade asset in Melton, this is easily bumped up to an “A-” for me.

They picked players that fill roles that they desperately needed to address with regards to three point shooting and offensive/defensive versatility. Without question these are high-floor draft picks that will be solid role players in this league.

Ian: I’m going to stick with my draft-night evaluation of a “B/B+.” While I do like the profiles of the players Memphis brought in, those guys may have been available at with the original picks they had. But then again, Kennedy Chandler was an absolute steal at 38.

The front office and scouting department knew what they were after and got their guys, so all credit to them. As far as we know, one or two of these new guys could turn out to be Grizz legends!

NathanThey get a “B+.” It takes a franchise-changing player or haul to get an “A+”, and losing Melton takes the grade down a couple notches.

That being said, the Grizzlies got great players to fit their needs and gave themselves a real shot at improving their team (which just had the second-best record in the league, in case anyone forgot). The offseason moves have just begun for Memphis, but they already have done well for themselves. Luckily we’re only one short week away from being able to see these guys in action at NBA Summer League!

About Nathan Qualls

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