The Memphis Grizzlies are loaded with one of the best young rosters in the NBA, and they have the potential to add more in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Grizzlies have three picks, including the 22nd and 29th overall selections in the first round. Picks at the back end of the first round are less likely to be home runs, but the Grizzlies have recently struck gold. They selected Desmond Bane with the 30th overall pick in 2020 and Brandon Clarke 21st in 2019.
Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson are headed for free agency. If they’re not in the franchise’s future plans, Memphis could draft their replacements or it can bolster depth at other spots.
Either way, the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23 figures to be one in which the Grizzlies can maneuver around the board, be creative or stay put and strengthen the young core.
Here’s who I’m watching for the Grizzlies’ three picks in the draft:
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Round 1, No. 22 overall
NAMES TO WATCH: PG Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee), SF Nikola Jovic (Serbia), SF MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite), C Mark Williams (Duke), SG Wendell Moore (Duke).
This is the Grizzlies’ most prized pick, and how Memphis uses it will dictate draft plans. Several players who can step in and be productive should be available, but this could also be tantalizing pick for a trade — whether that’s moving up the draft boards or acquiring another player. Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler, who played at Briarcrest Christian in Memphis, would be a big swing for point guard depth, while Nikola Jovic and MarJon Beauchamp are both versatile forwards who can play multiple positions.
Round 1, No. 29 overall
NAMES TO WATCH: C Walker Kessler (Auburn), PG Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga), SF/PF Patrick Baldwin (Milwaukee), SF Bryce McGowens (Nebraska)
If the Grizzlies move up with the 22nd pick, this is the most likely selection to be packaged with it. However, enticing names who have noticeable specialties as shooters, shot blockers and floor generals will be on the board. Walker Kessler was a block machine at Auburn, and Andrew Nembhard was a top-tier point guard on multiple elite Gonzaga teams.
Round 2, No. 47 overall
NAMES TO WATCH: SF/PF Josh Minott (Memphis), PG/SG Marcus Sasser (Houston), G/F Jordan Hall (Saint Joseph’s), SF Caleb Houstan (Michigan), PG JD Davidson (Alabama)
The first two draft picks come with a guaranteed contract, so this selection could be for a player with sky-high potential who could spend time with the G-League Memphis Hustle. Memphis natives are familiar with Josh Minott’s untapped potential, though he became a bit of an unknown after his freshman season with the Tigers. Jordan Hall is a big playmaker who compares similarly to Kyle Anderson coming out of college.