Since I live in Buffalo, I went into the draft anxiously hoping the Grizzlies would select either of the college players who made their name in the Buffalo area. Those players would be St. Bonaventure forward Andrew Nichoslon, and Buffalo forward Mitchell Watt. Well, my hopes for a Nicholson pick were dashed when the Magic snatched him up with the 19th spot, and Watt went undrafted. It looked like my dreams of a Buffalo basketball star getting a spot with the Grizzlies were dead on arrival.
Then, something wonderful happened.
Yesterday, the Grizzlies signed Watt to play in the summer league. I’m guessing to most fans this isn’t a big deal; just another undrafted free agent who won’t make too many waves. But trust me: Watt has more than enough skill to make it in the NBA. He was the MAC Player of the Year last year, and routinely dominated opposing teams. He is extremely explosive, and a quality shooter. If he lives up to his promise in the summer league, he could go on to provide great energy off the bench for the Grizzlies.
So, why wasn’t he selected? Well, you could chalk it up to a prejudice against mid-major players, although considering the rise of Damien Lillard, I’m not sure how true that is. A likely reason is that Watt didn’t truly emerge as a dominant player until this season, and with such a deep talent pool in this year’s draft, he simply got lost in the shuffle. That doesn’t mean he can’t play, however, and he could go on to do great things in Memphis.
Maybe I’m a homer for getting so excited about a prospect from my hometown, but this has all the makings of a secretly great signing. We know that the Grizzlies will likely have to choose between Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur, and Watt could go on to soften the blow from losing one of those talents. Maybe I’m wrong and he’ll end up getting cut, but if he can play anywhere close to how he played at Buffalo, he’ll be a great signing, and give some energy to the Grizzlies second unit.