Planning Out The 2024 Draft For The Memphis Grizzlies

June 14th, 2024

by Alan Lu

Memphis Grizzlies’ star point guard, Ja Morant kept making headlines for the wrong reasons, and he ended up being suspended 25 games to start the season. The Grizzlies got off to a horrendous start, and while he came back, they never recovered this season, mostly as a result of Morant’s actions from last season and in the offseason that could have been prevented.

The Grizzlies have had their ups and downs over the years, but they will likely stick it out for at least another season with Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane, even if they had a very disappointing and frustrating season that culminated in their team missing the playoffs after having some solid seasons in years past. (Photo: Brandon Dill/Associated Press, via The Daily Memphian)

While Morant was briefly healthy after the suspension and made the team significantly better, he then got injured and ended up missing the rest of the season, and it was basically a lost year for the Grizzlies anyways. Former Defensive Player of the Year award winner Jaren Jackson Jr. caught a lot of flack in the offseason for his poor rebounding in the FIBA World Cup, and it carried over into the season, especially since he had trouble playing center in the absence of Steven Adams, whom the Grizzlies had dealt away in the offseason. It also didn’t help that they traded away their dependable backup point guard Tyus Jones away, and while they acquired former Defensive Player of the Year award winner Marcus Smart, he wasn’t much help in his first season away from Boston.

There was one bright spot though in their lost season, and their second round rookie forward G.G. Jackson played very well this year, which helped him earn a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie 2nd Team. G.G. Jackson is a very talented forward that should have been drafted in the first round, and he is an intriguing talent that could be one of the cornerstone players of this franchise.

The Grizzlies are committed to being Ja Morant’s team, but Morant hasn’t exactly shown to be a very dependable superstar in the past couple of years. Add in Jaren Jackson Jr.’s stubbornness and unwilling to adapt or accept criticism even when coached by a head coach that has won multiple titles, their current situation doesn’t offer much hope past the they-could-make-the-playoffs stage. If they have higher aspirations than that, they may have to consider dealing one or both of them altogether, and they may even have to consider retooling to build around Desmond Bane instead. If they are happy with the way things have gone prior to this year, then they will continue to march on to build around Morant, Jackson, and Bane together. As I assume that it will be the latter for them, then this plan will tailored around that assumption.

For the ninth overall pick, the Grizzlies already have a lead ball handler, but Jaren Jackson Jr.’s inability to play center, rebound, or guard shooters out on the perimeter is very concerning. Therefore, if Donovan Clingan is still on the board, he would be the perfect replacement for Steven Adams, and the Grizzlies should immediately snap up Clingan if he somehow falls to them at nine.

Otherwise, they could look to take the best player available. If they have confidence in their current players, then they could look to take a wing or a forward that would best fit the talents of Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Bane, and G.G. Jackson. If they are skeptical on being able to win a championship with either Morant or Jaren Jackson Jr., then they should look to draft a point guard or a center, or swing some deals to trade one or both of them to net value in return. However, their stock may be significantly down to the point where both would be untradeable even if they wanted to, because they are both on hefty contracts with multiple years left.

Here is why I did for the Grizzlies in the two test runs of ESPN’s 2024 NBA Mock Draft Simulator.

Test Simulation #1:

A mock draft board for the Memphis Grizzlies.   Image courtesy of Fanspo.
A mock draft board for the Memphis Grizzlies. Image courtesy of ESPN Analytics.

Test Simulation #2:

A mock draft board for the Memphis Grizzlies.  Second test run. Image courtesy of Fanspo.
A mock draft board for the Memphis Grizzlies. Second test run. Image courtesy of ESPN Analytics.

Cody Williams is a very athletic, energetic two-way wing that has shown solid all-around skills, but has struggled to stay healthy, but his versatility and upside would make him an intriguing pick. If Reed Sheppard is on the board, then he’d be a great pick at 9, because he can shoot, pass and handle the ball, and could add a movement component to the Grizzlies. Also, Justin Edwards and Cam Christie would be athletic swingman that could project well into 3 and D roles. In the second test simulation, Edwards and Christie weren’t available at either 39 or 57. Harrison Ingram is a skilled forward that adds wing depth, and his improved outside shot and strong playmaking skills would help Memphis. Also, Cam Spencer is a gifted sharpshooter that makes good decisions when he’s on the floor and would add a movement component on offense. The 2024 NBA Draft will be on June 26 and 27. Thanks for reading.

NBA Scouting Live
error: Content is protected !!