D.J. Stephens is a freak of nature. He actually recorded the highest vertical ever measured by the NBA at 46 inches. And he’s currently projected by CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish to land with the Grizzlies as the last pick in the draft.
It’s also worth noting that this is the same Gary Parrish that wrote how Josh Pastner’s worst recruit [Stephens] might be his most important.
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 22, 2013
But aside from that, he has the mindset that could turn those physical tools into a defensive stalwart. Part of the reason he was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 2.6 blocks per game as a senior.
Stephens also stands with a seven-foot wingspan, much like Kawhi Leonard – and their similar motors could make them an interesting comparison. But his freakish athleticism has him being compared to prospects like Jazz’ forward and former dunk champ Jeremy Evans. Don’t let that fool you though, Stephens game does not consist solely of dunking, and his offensive rebounding can attest to that. It could come in handy alongside the Grizzlies’ rebounding oriented frontcourt.
The only problem? He doesn’t have the purest stroke in the world. But that’s something that can obviously be remedied at the next level. And he actually shot 42 percent from beyond the arc in his time at Memphis. He just didn’t shoot very often – which is an understatement. He could also struggle as a “tweener” early on.
More than anything though, he’s Memphis’ son – the people of Memphis want him to succeed. He’s the kind of prospect the fans could really rally behind. Which is something that could be needed with all the recent changes in the Grizzlies organization of late.
Now, I’ll just let his game (or dunking) do the talking: