The Grizzlies don’t own a pick in the June 22 NBA draft.
With the youngish core of a two-time playoff team in place, the Grizzlies could address one of their immediate needs (backup point guard and three-point shooting) or simply look to add talent.
After workouts that focused heavily on guards, the Grizzlies attempted to do both in one pick: Addressing a primary need (backup point guard) while taking a swing at high-upside talent.
The team bypassed a couple of forwards, slipping projected lottery pick Perry Jones III (not seriously considered) and projected second-rounder Draymond Green, who had wowed in his Memphis workout and was probably the team’s runner-up.
Instead they took freshman Washington guard Tony Wroten Jr., a dynamic athlete with an enticing combination of size and vision at point guard.
Green had been brilliant in his local draft workout (this was the last season that media was allowed in) and as a veteran from an elite college program (Michigan State) was considered an NBA-ready player who could step into an immediate role on a playoff team like the Grizzlies.
But the Grizzlies were deep at Green’s projected position, power forward, with Zach Randolph, Darrell Arthur and Dante Cunningham all then on the roster.
Wroten had an ostensibly clearer path to playing time after the team had juggled backup point guards the previous season, and seemed to have a higher ceiling as well.
Mayo-Kevin Love decision a few years earlier, the Grizzlies bypassed “safe” in pursuit of a star, only to find that what had been considered merely safe would have actually yielded a star.
Memphis Grizzlies draft picks through the years.