What are the Grizzlies Doing?
Here we are. The week of the NBA draft 2017 and no one has heard or seen anything from the Grizzlies.
Not that this is that strange since the Grizzlies have no draft picks this year.
Not just no lottery picks. Not just no 1st round picks either. The Grizzlies don’t have any picks at all. I could go about explaining all the different reasons the Grizzlies are without a pick this year, in what is considered by many so-called basketball experts as the best draft in years, but it boils down to one point.
They traded them away.
I could tell you they tried to upgrade talent with the first round pick but you’d ask for who and I’d have to say Jon Leuer. Then you’d ask who else and I’d say no one else to Memphis but the Grizzlies gave up Mo Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby plus the pick to get Leuer and you’d swear I was lying.
The sad thing is I’m not but that’s not the real reason they made the trade.
Another reason is simpler. The first round pick was traded to clear cap space on the roster so they wouldn’t have to trade Rudy Gay. Of course they traded Rudy Gay anyway a couple of weeks anyway so I really don’t have a great answer other than it’s complicated.
The 2nd round pick was traded to Denver via Oklahoma City for Ryan Gomes. Does anyone remember Ryan?
So now, in what could become a legendary draft, the Grizzlies don’t have a draft pick for fans to fantasize or demoralize about. Instead of Memphis Fans cheering picks 20 and 49, they will be left watching Portland and Denver, two Western Conference rivals, selecting players instead.
So why are the Grizzlies working out players? That’s right. The Grizzlies front office has been working out players for the last few weeks. They’ve been doing video work.
And they’ve been doing it very quietly. No media announcements or post workout interviews with prospects. No online videos of coaches after the workouts telling fans how impressed they were with the talent on display.
Some leaks have occurred of course but even these have been either dismissed or not commented on by the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are playing their cards very close to the vest in other words. That’s very unusual for a franchise that was among the first in the NBA to give bloggers full access to their front office and owners (and we still appreciate the invites Mr. Wallace).
So why are the Grizzlies working out players?
There are numerous potential reasons. First, the Grizzlies are working (or have worked) out a trade to get back into this draft. The only way to entice someone out of draft pick would be to buy the pick (expensive for a 1st round pick in this draft but reasonable for a 2nd round pick) or to trade someone under contract.If they want to trade someone already under contract then remaining quiet makes a lot of sense. No reason to get local fans upset about a player leaving when you don’t have his replacement in hand to distract them.
The second reason is obvious as well. They are looking at players they don’t expect to be drafted but who may be interesting to bring onto the summer league team and a possible camp invite. The silence would make sense with this group as well. After all, if you are interested in someone who isn’t drafted you wouldn’t want to broadcast out who interests you.
This is likely since it was released in a French newspaper that William Howard has been signed to play for the Grizzlies summer league team. The Grizzlies had no comment about the veracity of this report however so it is just speculation.
Finally the Grizzlies could be looking to stock up players for the Memphis Hustle roster. The G league (formerly known as the D League) will have a team playing in Mississippi but practicing at FedEx Forum. That means other team’s scouts will be able to check out the team’s players without having to travel to Iowa or Sioux Falls.
Memphis could become a very desirable location for a player wanting a chance to show the NBA what he can do. It’s got all the lure of a big city without the expense that usually goes along with it. For someone making under $100,000 Memphis is a pretty nice place to call home.
I have no information as yet but I believe that Chris Wallace has something up his sleeve. No not a lottery pick deal but a deal just the same that will put the Grizzlies in the first round of the draft.
And that is a reason to watch Thursday night’s draft with your favorite beverage nearby to celebrate with…or to console yourself in case nothing happens after all.