This year the Memphis Grizzlies will have the number 2 pick in the NBA draft. Last year they inherited OJ Mayo, and Darrell Arthur from the national champion Kansas Jayhawks, as well as Marc Gasol. The year before that, they picked up Mike Conley, before him Rudy Gay, and the year before that Hakim Warrick who had come off winning a national championship himself with Syracuse.
That’s a nice conglomerate of young talent to build around, and who knows more about building a team than the logo himself Jerry West. On paper when you look at this roster they look like a team on the rise, and they are. They now have a chance to draft what could be the final piece to their starting line up the question is what piece will they go for.
They have shown great interest in the teenage point guard from Spain, Ricky Rubio, who they believe will be the playmaker they need to set up scoring opportunities for the likes of Mayo and Gay. But they have also shown a commitment to Conley as their starting point guard who many believe is not playing as well as expected. In response to those doubts about his ability he’s only played two seasons after only one year of college. He’s a young player amongst a team of young players. This year we should see more improvement with a much better team than in years past.
If the Grizzlies do decide to trust Conley as the full time point and move Mayo to the full time shooting guard, then the next order of business would be addressing the frontcourt. This looks like the most likely decision for Memphis, due to the point guard situation and the apparent stand off they may face by drafting Rubio.
Rubio’s camp has expressed that he does not want to play in Memphis; so drafting him could cause more problems than they want. One of the reasons people say Rubio doesn’t want to play for the Grizzlies is because Memphis doesn’t like to pay players, and Rubio’s camp believes he’s a top dollar player that needs to get paid.
With that being considered the Grizzlies are strongly considering Hasheem Thabeet the 7-foot-3 center out of Connecticut. Thabeet can bring the Grizzlies the defense that they’re missing in the paint with his shot blocking ability, and some extra rebounds. He only averaged 13.6 points per game, but scoring isn’t want the Grizzlies are in need of from him. With Gasol, Gay, and Mayo scoring isn’t the problem.
What impressed the Grizzlies about Thabeet are his 10.8 boards and 4.2 blocks per game, but he too may come with baggage. Thabeet cancelled his workout with the Grizzlies on Sunday citing a shoulder injury. Speculation has already started swirling with rumors that he missed the workout, because he doesn’t want to play for Memphis either.
Rather Memphis goes with Rubio, who’s stock is rising with every workout, or Thabeet they will have an increase in the win column this season. However since my job this week is to give you a solid pick expect Memphis to address their defensive needs and draft Thabeet. Rubio would be just too much stress on the organization and it’s believed that they truly believe in Conley. They need help on defense and Thabeet could be the answer.