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.
First up is a guy that many Grizzlies fans seem to want to have no part of: Kentucky freshman, PG Marquis Teague.
I know the loudest argument against taking a PG here: We already have Josh Selby and Jeremy Pargo on the roster — and possibly might bring back Gilbert Arenas as well. And, I’m one of the people that cannot wait to see what Selby is able to do with a full slate of Summer League games and training camp under his belt, as I believe that he is a very talented player who will be able to play at a high level in the NBA. However….he didn’t do it last year, and PG is one of those positions where depth is really a necessity, not a luxury. We all saw what happened when starter Mike Conley got worn down by too many minutes late in the season. That’s why you cannot discount taking a PG — especially if he is the most talented player available.
Marquis Teague was rated in the top 10 by every recruiting/scouting service in the country prior to last season. That means he’s talented, which is the first thing that Chris Wallace is looking for. He was also a PG who led his team in minutes played — a team that won the national championship. That means he played an important role on a good team that needed him. That’s the second big thing to like about him.
Teague’s strengths are eye-popping on occasion. His athleticism is beyond impressive, and he has good size for his position. His ability to lead a fast break was unparalleled among college players this season, as both his attacking instincts and court vision resulted in numerous easy buckets for the Wildcats. He has a knack for getting to the rim virtually whenever he wants to, as his speed allows him to blow by most defenders with ease. His speed and passing lends itself to the pick-and-roll game, which will probably be his bread-and-butter at the next level.
His struggles come when the game slows down to a half-court game. His decision-making is suspect, as is almost always the case with young players. He doesn’t seem to have a great feel for creating opportunities for others in half-court sets and tends to dribble too much, waiting on others to do something to get themselves open. Also, his shooting is nothing to get excited about at this point — from anywhere on the floor. At the other end, he has the tools to be an excellent defender, as long as he expends the necessary energy consistently.
The best situation for Teague would be to find himself on an uptempo team that utilizes the pick-and-roll frequently. Sound familiar? He has lots of upside, provided that he is willing to put the hours in at the gym, honing his suspect shooting and learning the tricks to creating in the half-court. He will probably be among the most talented players available late in the first round, which is why he heads the list we’ve created, and why he is certainly worth a look.