A new era has begun for the Memphis Grizzlies. After trading Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz, the Grizzlies had to re-tool via the 2019 NBA Draft. Despite having just two picks in the draft, they knocked both out of the park.
NBA Draft Grade for the Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant (2nd Overall)
No one was surprised when the Grizzlies snagged Ja Morant with the second pick of the draft. The Murray State standout is one of the best prospects in recent memory, making him a no-brainer after Zion Williamson.
Morant became the first player in NCAA history to average 20+ points and 10+ assists in a season while leading the Racers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. His flashy playstyle combined with his undeniable skills is the perfect recipe for stardom at the NBA level.
The Conley trade solidified Morant as the new face of the franchise before he was even selected.
Brandon Clarke (21st Overall)
The Grizzlies picked up the 23rd overall pick in their trade with the Utah Jazz but flipped it for the 21st pick during the draft. With the pick, they halted the fall of Brandon Clarke from Gonzaga. Clarke was considered to be a lottery-caliber talent but landed in the Grizzlies’ lap late in the first round.
Clarke is one of the best defenders of his class, making him an easy choice for a Grizzlies franchise that has historically prided itself in the area. He has some offensive question marks but won’t have to shoulder much of the load alongside Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Overall, Clarke was a relative steal. The Grizzlies essentially grabbed a second lottery pick in exchange for the 24th pick and a future second-round pick. If he reaches his potential, he could be looked back on as the steal of the draft.
Memphis Grizzlies Final Draft Grade: A
Draft night couldn’t have been much better for Memphis. The Grizzlies got the clear-cut second best player in the draft and followed up with a lottery-caliber complimentary piece late at a low cost. Morant has the potential to be the best player of the class and will serve as the face of the franchise for years to come. Clarke adds defensive prowess and inside scoring to the young core in Memphis. The future is bright for the Grizzlies.
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