The Draft Enigma of The Memphis Grizzlies (Analysis + Solutions)

By Eli Yankelevich 

Traditionally, smaller market teams in the NBA have had a harder time breaking out of relative obscurity. The only team to consistently evade this normality is the Spurs and, even so, with the recent turbulence surrounding Kawhi Leonard they may join other smaller markets in reference to limited success. The Memphis Grizzlies struggle in many facets that pertain to building a seasoned contender. The team is constantly riddled with injuries to their key contributors: Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Their profit margins are severely limited because of their location: Memphis. And also the Grizzlies have no way of attracting any free agents because of the surrounding talent and abysmal salary space.

So what can be done to eventually fix or improve this situation? What aids the Grizzlies is how deep the talent level is in this year’s draft. Sure the top of class is decorated with prospects such as Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley but towards the middle and bottom of the first round there are gems like Lonnie Walker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Zhaire Smith and Kevin Knox. Perhaps bundling their fourth pick with Chandler Parsons’ rotten contract could alleviate the necessary cap space to rebound this once competent franchise.

Option 1: (Parsons to the Clippers)

Clippers Receive: Chandler Parsons, 2018 4th Pick

Grizzlies Receive: Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverly, 2018 13th Pick

Analysis: The Clippers in this trade would begin rebuilding rather than repeatedly competing for the playoffs. Yes, the Clippers would have to take on the gruesome contract of Parsons but with the 4th pick they can select their next superstar in order to correctly begin the post Lob City era. For the Grizzlies, they gain a contributor off the bench in Patrick Beverly and versatile up and coming forward in Tobias Harris to plug next to Marc Gasol. With the 13th pick the Grizzlies can then focus on bolstering their backcourt by targeting players such as Landry Shamet, Miles Bridges, Lonnie Walker, or hopefully even Zhaire Smith.

Option 2: (Return to Dallas)

Mavericks Receive: Chandler Parsons, 2018 4th Pick

Grizzlies Receive: Harrison Barnes

Analysis: Barnes is far too old at 26 to fall into Dallas’ long term timeline with Dennis Smith Jr. and such. The Mavericks have the salary cap space to consume Parsons’ deal while the rest of the team reside on cheap short term contracts. In the NBA you have to pay somebody after-all. While the Grizzlies will have no first round pick they receive a proven forward who has played third fiddle before in Golden State. He can seamlessly fit alongside Gasol and Conley in order to once more pivot the Grizzlies into playoff relevance. The Grizzlies can still add support to their two guard spot because they also possess the 32nd pick. With this pick they should look towards selecting prospects like Josh Okogie, Gary Trent Jr., Rawle Alkins, Hamidou Diallo, or even Khyri Thomas.

Option 3: (Parsons’ to the Bulls)

Bulls Receive: Chandler Parsons, 2018 4th Pick

Grizzlies Receive: Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine, New Orleans 2018 22nd Pick

Analysis: The Bulls would be in solid shape in regards to the potential core they could construct. Having two top ten picks is a luxury few organizations can pass up on. In addition to selecting a player like Wendell Carter or Mikal Bridges with the 8th pick they could also select someone like Jaren Jackson Jr. or Mohamed Bamba with the fourth. This trade would guarantee future greatness in the once storied city of champions. For the Grizzlies this trade would equip them with the necessary pieces to be competitive again. Although by no means a star, Bobby Portis is a big man with great appeal in the modern NBA and adding Denzel Valentine and Robin Lopez to a lackluster bench could ensure meaningful stability. With the 22nd pick the Grizzles should target Chandler Hutchison, Aaron Holiday, Rodions Kurucs, Jacob Evans III, Elie Okobo and Kevin Huerter.

While getting rid of Parsons’ is fantastic for the present, Such a trade limits the possibility of competent succession once Conley and Gasol’s reign ends in Memphis. The 4th pick is an incredible organization defining asset to possess and it will be interesting to see which direction the Grizzlies choose to follow. Hopefully management will bring entertaining basketball to the city of Memphis and the state of Tennessee.

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