The Memphis Grizzlies have the talent to get into the playoffs and make some noise. This has been evidenced by the playoff pushes the team has made the past few years, even going as far as the Western Conference Finals last season.
The Grizzlies’ core of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol is a solid one in terms of both offense and defense. Randolph can score on the block and impose his will on the glass by grabbing both offensive and defensive rebounds, Gasol is a great paint defender who can use his size and length to block shots and disrupt offensive flow and Conley is a quick and agile guard who can create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Sounds like a pretty balanced attack, right?
It is for the most part. However, the Grizzlies lack that guy who can go out there and contribute offensively night after night with those three as well as play solid enough defense to not be a liability.
It is possible to find veteran shooting help in free agency during the offseason, but there are multiple players in the 2014 NBA Draft who could help the Grizzlies now. They are also young enough to be viable options for years to come, as opposed to signing an older player and aging the roster more than it already is.
The best example of a player who can spread the floor as well as potentially keep the perimeter defense intact is James Young.
Young is a 6-foot-7 small forward out of Kentucky who came into the season with the reputation of being a knockdown shooter with the athletic ability to also slash to the rim and be a factor on defense. While Young disappointed many scouts during the regular season, his play in the tournament opened eyes and showed scouts why he was talked about as a lottery pick before the season started.
Through the tournament, Young averaged 14.4 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from three. Young displayed his shooting touch and athleticism in his knack for finding the right spots for himself on the floor and creating scoring opportunities in cutting to the basket and getting out in transition. The Grizzlies need an athletic scorer like Young who can shoot, and his length and size on defense give enough promise to him being able to develop into a player who can be counted on to play defense down the stretch.
Along with Young, Rodney Hood out of Duke could also be an option.
Hood did not have the best performance in Duke’s lone game in the tournament, but he did average 16.1 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting along with 42.0 percent from three and 80.7 percent from the free throw line. Hood proved to be an efficient scoring and shooting option during his time playing alongside Jabari Parker. Hood also has great size at 6-foot-8 and enough athletic ability to turn into a defender similar to Young.
Both players offer a versatile scoring upside, but neither have as deep of a shooting range as Nik Stauskas out of Michigan.
Stauskas played well during his freshman season, but this year during his sophomore campaign He exploded onto the scene as not just a three-point shooter, but as an athletic scorer. Stauskas showcased a multidimensional set of scoring moves, from floaters in the lane to athletic plays around and above the rim. He’s not an elite athlete, but he is fast enough and aggressive enough to get into the lane and create scoring opportunities pulling up from mid range or getting to the basket. His most talked about skill, however, is his deep ball.
Stauskas shot 44.2 percent from three during the regular season, and hit 15-of-35 threes in the tournament. Stauskas can light it up from deep; the knock is that he does not have as much defensive potential as Young and Hood.
The Grizzlies have options in this draft; there is no need to overpay.