The 2015 NBA Draft is officially over, but nobody’s roster is even close to being set with free agency opening in less than a week. Keeping this in mind, I will go over what the Grizzlies need to add to their roster they currently have. All of this can change at anytime, but it’s doubtful anything else will happen between now and July, 1st. Let’s get going.
By far the most important thing on Memphis’ radar is keeping Marc Gasol, and locking him up for a while with a max deal. All reports seem to indicate that Gasol plans to stay in Memphis, but nothing can be made official until at least next Wednesday. If Marc stays, Memphis will once again be a contender in the West, but if Marc leaves, it will be time to rebuild in Memphis. Memphis also needs to find a backup center to replace Kosta Koufos, who is likely on his way out. Koufos is a top five or ten center in the league. He wants to start, and he is very much capable of starting for most teams in the NBA. Solid big men are hard to come by in the NBA, especially backups. This is one of two gaping holes on the Grizzlies’ roster.
The other need for Memphis is reliable outside shooting. Memphis has a plethora of wing players, but they can’t count on any of them to hit a key three. Last year’s trade for Jeff Green did not work out as planned, and the mistake was compounded when he opted in to his contract for the 2015-16 season. Green was very inconsistent and took shots away from their number one option, Marc Gasol. Don’t be surprised if the Grizz try to trade Green for a shooter. There have been rumors that Memphis is interested in Denver’s Danilo Gallinari, but the Nuggets do not have much interest in Green. Tony Allen and Jordan Adams are probably the wings that are the least-likely to be traded. Allen is the heart and soul of the Grizzlies, and he has proven that he can defend anyone on the perimeter. The Grizzlies may be willing to give up Vince Carter, but his age and health are big concerns to many teams. It is doubtful that Memphis can get much in return for Carter. Matt Barnes, who was acquired Thursday morning from Charlotte, is also unlikely to be traded. The Grizzlies traded a draft-and-stash guy for Luke Ridnour, who they then traded for Barnes the very next day, so Memphis intended to get Barnes to keep. The front office really likes Jordan Adams, and he is still very young and inexpensive. I doubt Memphis is shopping Courtney Lee, but they probably will be if they can’t get anyone to bite on Jeff Green.
The Grizz look to be set at point guard and power forward. Mike Conley and Zach Randolph have their starting spots locked down, but there are a few tweaks to be made to the second unit. Nick Calathes will probably not be a member of the Grizzlies on opening night. This is not a shock as they have a solid backup point guard in Beno Udrih ,and they also are high on the third point guard Russ Smith. Smith may spend a lot of time in Iowa in the D-League, but Chris Wallace, the GM, loves this guy. With John Leuer being traded to the Suns, Jarnell Stokes may get to spend a lot of time in Memphis instead of Iowa. JaMychal Green may also get a chance to prove himself. Green played in Memphis for a while last season, but he was in the D-League for most of the year. The Grizzlies took Jarell Martin in the first round of the draft, but he will likely be playing Stokes or Green, at least at the start of the season.
The Grizzlies won’t have the money to make a huge splash in free agency if Marc Gasol does stay in Memphis. There is still some quality three point shooting that Memphis can make a run at though. Wesley Matthews was a name being thrown around by Grizzlies fans. They were hoping his ACL surgery would help bring his price down, but Matthews has made it clear that he still wants a max contract. If Matthews won’t settle, don’t expect him in Memphis next season. Marco Belinelli, DeMarre Carroll, Mike Dunleavy, Danny Green, and Lou Williams are all guys Memphis needs to try to get. These are realistic guys that could greatly improve the Memphis offense. Three point shooting is what Memphis needs to catapult them into being a serious contender, The inability to hit outside shots and space the floor has been the main reason for Memphis’ early dismissals from the playoffs in recent years.
The Grizzlies went into the draft with only the 25th pick of the first round in their possession. They took LSU forward Jarell Martin with that pick, and then traded John Leuer to Phoenix for their second round pick. They then selected Andrew Harrison from Kentucky with the 44th pick. I like this move because they didn’t have to give up much to get him. Leuer has been very average for Memphis and has not gotten many minutes. Although second rounders rarely workout, the best player on their roster, Marc Gasol, was a second round pick. Harrison won’t be in Memphis anytime soon, but he will develop into a pro as a member of the Iowa Energy. I’m not a huge fan of their first round pick. The Grizz did not need another power forward. This pick made even less sense when they passed over a good outside shooter in RJ Hunter, which is their biggest need. In all honesty it probably does not matter because neither one will ever be amazing, but it was still a puzzling pick. Both Martin and Harrison will likely be in the D-League for a while so I would hold off on buying either one of their jerseys.