|2017-18 W/L: 22-60||2018-19 W/L: 33-49|
Team Needs: SG/SF/C
Finished 12th in the Western Conference (Missed Playoffs)
Team Option: Ivan Rabb
Player Option: Jonas Valanciunas
Pick 1: 1st Round-2nd Overall
Expected to select Ja Morant
Other Potential Fits: RJ Barrett
The Grizzlies only have one pick in this years draft after trading the 38th pick to the Bulls in the Justin Holiday trade, and the 46th picks to the Magic in the trade involving Ivan Rabb. The outlook on what they plan to do with the second pick is all but determined with sources saying since the combine that the Grizzlies will be taking Ja Morant with the second overall selection. While this pick makes sense as the franchise is entering a new era in Memphis, it was a bit of a surprise that this decision was leaked so early in the process with the Grizzlies having Mike Conley under a large contract for the next two seasons as well as an additional year with a big player option. Expect Memphis to look to move Conley in the summer and before the season begins, however if they do not find a team willing to take on his deal then they reportedly are satisfied with the idea of Morant learning the ropes from one of the better point guards in the league over the last 10 years. Conley is not only a solid lead guard with his physical abilities but his basketball I.Q. with the ball in his hands is something that every young ball handler could learn from as they look to make their name in the league. With that said Conley is only 31 years old and is still playing well and despite the large salary left on his contract if the Grizzlies are serious about moving him they should be able to find a team that feels they are a point guard away from competing for a title. It should be noted that there have been sources coming out saying that a team is 100% taking a player but those reports turn out to be wrong. With the Grizzlies having the #2 overall pick there is not a lot that could happen in front of them to adjust their thinking like a player dropping, so the margin for error is not as large with these sources.
Whether it is with Morant learning from Conley for a short period of time, or being handed the keys to the car from day one, it is clear that the Grizzlies are moving into a new direction that will be built around last year’s first round pick Jaren Jackson and Morant. It is possible that Memphis will try and make a trade to get another pick helping add young talent, and obviously if a Conley deal is made there would most likely be some draft picks or young players involved in that transaction. With the roster currently constructed as it is they really could use help and depth at every position to help the team move towards a new core of talent, but with the expectation that they will draft Morant it would seem they have their point guard and power forward. With the style of play that Morant plays he will need to be surrounded by shooters and athletic wings which should be the focus of the team to give him the best possible chance at success in the leagues most important position. Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson can play, but they are not cornerstones for a franchise, and Avery Bradley is a solid two way guard that can help younger players on the defensive end so they do have some pieces to start adding to. Assuming they trade Conley and do not re-sign Chandler Parsons or C.J. Miles after the 2019-2020 season, they will have a ton of cap space allowing them to trade for a star or try and bring one in through free agency. With another potential high draft pick in next years draft they will need to be holding on to some of that cap space or at the very least be structuring the deals they make to guarantee they have the money necessary to sign keep their young stars when the rookie deals are expired. The Grizzlies have an opportunity to build a strong team if they make a solid deal for Conley and draft well over the next couple of seasons, and if they do select Morant it will be an exciting team to watch going forward.