The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the Memphis Grizzlies 2018 NBA draft profile.
Only a year removed from the playoffs, many Memphis fans expected this team to at least be competitive heading into the 2017-2018 season. This would not be the case. Memphis finished with the second-worst record in the NBA due to an anemic offense that couldn’t even manage to score 100 points per game.
The leaders like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley played fine for most of the season and they were able to get help out of Tyreke Evans but the rest of their rotation left a lot to be desired.
The Grizzlies did not have a first-round pick last year but did have two seconds in Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks. Brooks played in a lot of games this year and showed flashes but, is not a franchise type player and honestly is probably better suited coming off the bench. Rabb rarely played at all throughout the season.
This team needs to start a full rebuild after finishing in the bottom five in points per game, field goal percentage, rebounds and assists. Not only that but Gasol is 33, Conley will be 31 early in the season and Evans will be 29 as well. This team needs to get young and draft at least one core player they can start rebuilding around.
Picks and Needs
As of now, the Grizzlies have two picks in this year’s draft.
First Round: No. 4
Second Round: No. 32
Memphis may field offers for number four as they need much more than just one player or potential superstar to be good. It is unlikely however that they would trade it until draft night in case someone who they love falls to them. Having two picks in the first 32 can definitely help them find some quality players. Especially considering their first pick last season wasn’t until 35.
Targets and thoughts
Pick No. 4: Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia
As stated before Memphis needs just about everything so, they will go with the best player on the board. In this scenario, it is Luka Doncic. If he were to fall to the Grizzlies, then Memphis fans should be elated. There are many out there who think he could make sense as the first pick.
This 19-year-old can do it all, score, pass, rebound, play defense, etc. He is not necessarily going to excel in one area at the moment but a player with his skill set can set up a team in need of a piece to build around very well.
He also slots right into a starting role as he won’t be taking Conley or Gasol’s spot. Many see him playing a similar role to Ben Simmons who also can do everything while still having holes in his game.
Doncic will need to become a better scorer not only as a finisher but, also as a three-point shooter. Luckily he will be given the time to develop on a team that shouldn’t expect to contend for a few years in the stacked Western Conference.
For a team that needs a major piece to officially start their rebuild, the Grizzlies couldn’t be luckier as the top seven players in this draft all have major impact potential. Doncic can especially bring his impressive skill-set to a team that is sorely lacking in a lot of areas.
Pick No. 32: Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan
Another European coming to Memphis. While he did play at Michigan for the last three years, Wagner hails from Berlin. With Gasol getting old and this team needing some bodies in the paint, Moritz fits in well. His 6’10, 240+ frame was a major reason why he was able to nab 7.1 boards per game in his last year at Michigan.
The big man out of Michigan also showed on multiple occasions that he can score in a variety of ways. While he did not take a lot of three-pointers he did shoot 38.5% from behind the arc in his career. This went along with a 53% field-goal percentage overall and almost 15 points per game.
There are some pretty glaring holes in his game though. During a decent amount of the tournament, Wagner was nowhere to be found early on. He would step it up later on including having a solid game in the National Championship but, his struggles are still worth noting.
His biggest weakness comes at the stripe. Not only did he rarely get there, 2.8 attempts for his career but, when he did he only made about 70% of them. Wagner is going to have to learn to not only draw more fouls but, also make a higher percentage of them. For a man who can shoot so well from three, it is unacceptable to not be a better free-throw shooter.
The Memphis Grizzlies will only just be starting their rebuild. That means that patience will be required from fans as they wait for the Western Conference to slow down a bit and for their younger players to develop.
Memphis will be addressing their scoring issues in a big way with this type of a draft. Both of these players have solid potential, Doncic could be an absolute monster. If they turn out this haul, then their first draft of the rebuild will be a huge success.
That concludes the Memphis Grizzlies 2018 NBA Draft profile. Be sure to check back tomorrow to read the Dallas Mavericks 2018 NBA Draft profile!
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