With the draft quickly approaching, we here at 3 Shades of Blue figured it was time to start taking a closer look at the players that the Grizzlies might be interested in at their current draft position in the #25 spot. Now, through multiple conversations over the past few years with Grizzlies’ VP Chris Wallace, we have a pretty good idea of what he’s looking for when it comes to evaluating talent — especially late in the first round. The key word there is “Talent”, because drafting for need is almost never a good idea in the NBA. This is definitely the case when dealing with a first-round pick that will receive a guaranteed contract.
Yesterday, we took a look at Kentucky frosh PG Marquis Teague. Today, we’re going to examine Andrew Nicholson, the big man from St. Bonaventure.
After suffering injuries to Darrell Arthur and Zach Randolph early on last season, the Grizzlies know the value of quality big men coming off the bench. Given that it is likely that only one (two at most) of Arthur, Marreese Speights, and Hamed Haddadi will be back on the roster this season behind Randolph and Marc Gasol, it makes sense that Memphis will at least look at some of the talented big men left on the board.
Nicholson is an interesting player to study, given his physical stats and skillset. At 6’9″, 225 lbs., he has the size and length of a PF or even a C in some cases. His post game proved to be polished during his collegiate career, although he can still improve in that area. With good footwork and an ability to finish with either hand, he should fare well against most of the bench players he will likely face early on in his NBA career.
In addition to his work around the rim, he has improved on his face-up and mid-range game, drawing some comparisons to players like Arthur and Hakim Warrick. With his length, he is able to take unchallenged shots or get to the rack for easy buckets. Given his lack of bulk at this point in his young career, it is probable that he’ll need to extend his range out to 20 feet in order for him to be an effective scorer. He’s a decent rebounder, although he fails to put forth a tremendous amount of effort into it. Defensively, he isn’t abysmal, but his pick-and-roll game will have to improve significantly or he’ll get eaten alive.
For a guy who has only been playing basketball for 6 years, he shows a good aptitude for the game, and an ability to continue to grow as a player. He’ll need to hit the weight room and stay in the gym consistently in order to be something more than a journeyman, but you can’t teach size, so he’ll probably stay in the league for a decade no matter what.