2014 NBA Draft: Memphis Grizzlies Must Take A Shooter

By Nathan Grubel
P.J. Hairston
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

For the past few years, the Memphis Grizzlies have lacked that one knockdown shooter that big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol can kick the ball out to when they are double-teamed in the post.

Point guard Mike Conley has tried to be that guy, but he has failed to be a constant threat from beyond the 3-point line even though he has made slight improvements to his shooting numbers over the years. Mike Miller made an effort to be that guy for the Grizzlies this past season, and even though he was healthy enough to play in every game, Miller could not bring enough tenacity on defense to warrant big minutes.

Memphis has just struggled to find that 3-point shooter who can also play enough defense to not compromise the team on that end of the floor. Until now.

The 2014 NBA draft has plenty of young prospects who have the potential to be lethal shooters while also being able to guard their position on the defensive side of the ball. Elite shooting prospects near the bottom half of the lottery, such as Nik Stauskas, James Young and Gary Harris could be a trade away for the Grizzlies, or the team could stay at their spot at No. 22 and go with one of the other shooters available in the late first round, including P.J. Hairston, Cleanthony Early and Adreian Payne.

Any of these young shooting prospects would be a great fit for the Grizzlies, who could potentially have room anywhere between the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions depending on if the team still deems Tony Allen a starter, if Tayshaun Prince is still with the team come next season, and if Randolph opts out of his contract.

The Grizzlies were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA last season, ranked 26th in 3-point percentage overall. If Memphis could get its hands on one of these young studs, then they could be in line for a major boost to their offense come next season, especially with Conley and Gasol still developing their games, and Randolph still being able to contribute at a high level down low.

The bottom line is that the Grizzlies cannot afford to draft a player who cannot shoot, or trade the pick in an attempt to clear cap space. The Grizzlies need to make right on this first-round pick, or else the team could once again lose out on a top talent or quality role player.

Nathan Grubel is a Memphis Grizzlies writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @The_Only_Grubes, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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