The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t been the best at drafting since 2009. Because of it, a role player is now irreplaceable and detrimental to the team’s success.
JaMychal Green is a solid basketball player. He can rebound the ball. He has a nice shooting touch from behind the arc – a coveted skill for the modern day power forward. In addition, he’s a versatile defender, guarding post players like Karl-Anthony Towns or wings like Kevin Durant.
His skill-set alone makes him a coveted player, but his potential replacements make him irreplaceable.
Since the turn of the decade, the Memphis Grizzlies have drafted quite poorly. If you want an idea of how bad, there are only three of their first round picks still on the roster: Mike Conley (2007), Jarell Martin (2015) and Wade Baldwin (2016).
Even Martin and Baldwin haven’t performed up to standards. While “trusting the process” is alive and legitimate, they needed to draft players ready to contribute now and hope they can become something greater.
Yes, Martin and Baldwin have upside. They’re both super athletic for their respective positions. They have great builds. In addition, they’ve flashed how good they can be … in spurts. For the most part, we’ve seen the ugly out of “trusting the process.”
Now just imagine if the Grizzlies passed on Martin and drafted Larry Nance Jr. or Montrezl Harrell. They would have a young power forward ready to shine in case a JaMychal Green reunion wasn’t in the cards.
Nance has displayed elite athleticism for his size, a nice scoring touch (6.3 points on 52.6 percent shooting for his career) and quick hands on defense (1.1 steals per game for his career). They would also have a nice big man who can run the floor. In addition, he’d be a great pick-and-roll option with Conley.
Harrell has a similar game to Kenneth Faried. Both players are high-energy big men who are absolute dogs on the glass. He would help patch up the impending rebounding woes with Randolph gone and would give the Grizzlies a different look if he saw minutes at the 5.
The verdict is still out on Wade Baldwin. While he can be good, no one knows if he will be good. However, if they wanted the JaMychal Green replacement, they should’ve drafted Skal Labissiere, a hometown prospect.
Last season, he was one of the biggest beneficiaries from the DeMarcus Cousins trade. After the trade, he averaged 10.8 points and six rebounds. With his frame, he looks more like a 4 than a 5, but his upside is crazy good. He’s already shown a feathery touch around the rim and elite rim protection. He’s also long and mobile enough to guard players out on the perimeter.
They should’ve just listened to a gut instinct:
There might be hope for Jarell Martin and Wade Baldwin, but the time to contribute is now. Hopefully, the Memphis Grizzlies can settle a deal with JaMychal Green. If not, they’re in trouble.