Where does Jarnell Stokes fit in?
Rookie big man Jarnell Stokes out of Tennessee was drafted by the Grizzlies in the second round of this year’s draft. As a rookie, he may have to contribute more than a typical young player, especially for a second rounder. It all depends on how well Jon Leuer can fill the backup power forward role, as well as overall team health.
If needed, can Stokes step in and be a productive player? The answer is more than likely yes. He has an NBA ready body as he stands at 6’8” and weighs in at 260 pounds. His game is very similar to that of Zach Randolph‘s, and that should help him along the way as well.
In fact, how well Z-Bo mentors Stokes will greatly impact how quickly he ends up developing. Having a mentor who plays a similar game to you is an enormous advantage when it comes to transitioning into the NBA. Randolph can show Stokes how to use his big body down low, and he might even be able to help spread his game beyond the paint a bit as well.
Rebounding is something that transitions well from college to the NBA, and Stokes is very solid in that category. This is another situation where having an NBA ready body is a big advantage, as he will be able to battle with most anybody in the paint for the boards.
So what exactly will Stokes’ role be this season? If everything goes according to plan, this will be a developmental year for Stokes. He can contribute now, but it would be ideal to slowly transition him into a more consistent role. The Grizzlies are counting on Jon Leuer to do a fair amount this season, but if need be, Stokes could help fill the void.
What it comes down to is that Jarnell Stokes is a very solid rookie, who is only going to get better as his career goes along. Hopefully, we’ll get to see flashes of great play this upcoming season.