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2019 NBA Draft Lottery: Memphis Grizzlies Q&A

SB Nation logo SB Nation 5/14/2019 Joe Mullinax
a group of baseball players that are standing in front of a crowd © Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I took some questions on Twitter in preparation of this big night.

In case you missed it, tonight is the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery.

Check out our preview of this evening’s festivities here. If you’re anxious and want something to help you feel better about the current situation for the Memphis Grizzlies, here’s over 30 minutes of cute puppies doing funny things. It helps.

On the eve of the big day, I took to Twitter and asked for questions from followers about expectations and overall outlooks on what is sure to go down as one of the most impactful days in Grizzlies history, regardless of result. Here are some of those questions, and my responses-

Tank is such a dirty word.

I want to lose...but with purpose.

If the Grizzlies do indeed send their 1st round pick to Boston this evening, it opens up quite naturally the ability for the new-look Memphis front office to fully embrace the rebuild. As they put it themselves, no more reactive moves. No more scratching and clawing just to have a hope at the postseason. The time has come to be proactive - and that means looking to the future.

The best way for Memphis to obtain long-term talent is through the draft. The best way to get top-tier talent is to be near the top of the draft. Not the only way...but the best way.

Do the math.

Now, if you hire a great coach, and he (or she) gets the team rolling, and you’re winning despite Jaren Jackson Jr. (or possibly whoever comes in after a Mike Conley trade) being your best player? That’s fine! In no way, shape, or form, should Memphis build a team designed to lose just to lose.

A young-ish team, with pieces surrounding Jackson that will make him the best version of himself, should be the priority. Historically speaking, those teams don’t win a ton of games. But if it’s done properly, the losing won’t be done in vain, and in a year or two (probably two) you’re back on track.

I am a supporter of a three year plan. Sell Memphis on that, Grizzlies, and by the time you need to decide to max Jaren Jackson Jr. you’re back in the mix. Patience will need to be a virtue.

Two tweets. One question, and one answer within a question.

(For the record, I will continue to cover the Grizzlies...I will just be quite sad).

Cam Reddish could be an absolute stud. He has an NBA frame and skill set. But does he have an NBA drive and mentality? I think that is fair to question after an inconsistent, and overall underwhelming, year at Duke. He was not able to fully take advantage of being the 3rd option behind Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, and the Blue Devils struggled at times because of it. Now he is supposed to come in and be a key contributor for an NBA franchise?

Consider me skeptical at best, doubtful at worst.

Bol Bol and Sekou Doumbouya are contenders for this as well, but neither of them are consensus top-5 possibilities. Multiple mock drafts see Reddish as that type of prospect...and while the physical gifts back it up, production to this point does not. That makes him a pass for me...but at #8 overall? You could do worse...in theory.

Here is my ranking-

2nd - 4th

1st - 8th

There it is. There’s the list.

You could make an argument that regardless of the lottery it is time to move on from Mike - if not for the sake of the Grizzlies, then for the sake of Conley. If you are trying to convey a pick to Boston, however, it does not make a ton of sense to trade Mike Conley. He is one of the top 20-ish players in the NBA, and he will help you move that pick.

It is much easier to make such a trade after taking a Zion, RJ, or Ja Morant, however.

The energy and excitement that would come with “winning” the lottery in such a way would make moving on from Mike more palatable. A Jaren/any of those three/whatever you get back in a Conley trade core, plus Jonas Valanciunas (probably), Delon Wright (almost certainly) and others would probably make you good enough to be outside of the bottom six of the NBA next season, meaning that 2020 would be the time the pick gets sent to Boston. It’d be close - and essentially another season of the “convey or don’t convey” debate.

But it would at least mean another foundation type piece or two has been added alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. That makes moving Mike OK.

Picking 4th or 8th? Not so much.

If the Grizzlies convey, I’d argue Conley should not be on the roster moving forward. Send him to a contender with the right mix of young talent (a Gary Harris, a Domantas Sabonis) and a pick (or two if lesser players are involved) to make it worth your while and let him go compete. Having him be on a fully rebuilding roster makes no sense. If, and only if, he is needed to keep fans engaged and the team on a path to conveyance before the pick becomes unprotected in 2021 should he stay a Grizzly.

Thank you for everything, Mike. But the time has come - and I think you’re ready, too.

Absolutely! A Conley trade could include a 2019 1st, if Memphis wanted it, with the Lakers being the most likely lower-lottery-pick-having squad that could be interested. That would probably have to come after a free agency strike out or two for LeBron and L.A., however.

The more likely outcome, though, would be obtaining a 2nd round selection. The Justin Holiday trade sent out what would up being the 38th pick in this draft for Memphis - boy, that smarts - but with teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers possessing three 2nd round picks, there should be opportunities for the Grizzlies to send future 2nds (like the rights to the 2022 2nd from Detroit and the 2024 2nd from Toronto) or even the legendary “cash considerations” to them in exchange for a swing at a pick in the 30’s or 40’s.

Admiral Schofield, Shamorie Ponds, Carsen Edwards, and Dedric Lawson could all be good fits in those spots.

Stick with GBB in the days and weeks ahead. We will have prospect breakdowns, trade possibilities, and other fallout from this unfortunate scenario if it plays out. As of now...I would hope for Darius Garland or Coby White to fall. If they are gone, assuming Jarrett Culver or DeAndre Hunter are also off the board, I would personally prefer Brandon Clarke or Doumbouya to Bol or Reddish. The goal would remain to convey before 2021 for me, and Doumbouya or Clarke (especially Clarke) give you a better shot at being competitive faster than those others.

Thanks to everyone that submitted questions. It’s almost time. GBB will have immediate reaction tonight, no matter how the ping pong balls bounce.

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