Should the Grizzlies Draft a Kansas Jayhawk Prospect?

SAN ANTONIO, TX – MARCH 31: Devonte’ Graham #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives past Eric Paschall #4 of the Villanova Wildcats during the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four semifinal game at the Alamodome on March 31, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Considering the Memphis Grizzlies’ second round NBA Draft selection, they should strongly consider choosing a product of the University of Kansas.

The Kansas Jayhawks have four starting guards who are potential second-round draft picks and another prospect in big man Udoka Azubuike. Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Malik Newman are all three officially entered into the NBA draft. Lagerald Vick has declared for the draft without an agent for now, but it seems like he will be going pro as well.

All four of these guards are guys who will be taken in the second round if they’re selected at all. They are all worth looking into for the Grizzlies either as a possible selection or as an undrafted free-agent.

Devonte’ Graham

Devonte’ has been a special player during his time at Kansas. He came in as a three-star prospect and is going out as a Big 12 player of the year during his senior season. He is currently projected as an early-mid second round pick in this year’s draft. The Grizzlies should have the chance to take him if they should choose to.

The Grizzlies may not feel like they need to take a point guard in this year’s draft. However, if they choose to do so, taking Graham would make a lot of sense. He spent four years in college where he grew a lot. He would be a great fit as a backup to Mike Conley.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Svi is a guy who has been labeled as a draft prospect since he came over to Kansas at 16 years old. He kept coming back to college to improve his game and that’s what he did. He had his best defensive season by far and developed a deadly corner three this season.

Mykhailiuk was much more assertive on offense this season. He shot 44.4% from three-point range while taking 6.6 threes per game. He also averaged a career-high 14.6 points per game. Svi also brought his assists per game up to 2.7 after averaging 1.3 per game in 2016-17.

Malik Newman

As Sascha Paruk from mentioned, when Malik Newman decided to sign with an agent, he joined fellow Kansas products Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk in the top-60 of most scouts’ draft boards. Malik Newman’s draft spot is listed at O/U (48.5).
Newman broke out in the NCAA tournament. He struggled early in the season but he really caught fire late. NBA teams know he struggled for a chunk of the season but they saw how special he looked in postseason play. He is a guy to keep a close eye on.
His performance against Duke was one of the great performances by any college player this season. He shut down Duke star Grayson Allen on defense while also scoring every point for the Jayhawks in overtime. Performances like that make it possible for him to be drafted.

Lagerald Vick

Lagerald might be the most interesting of the Kansas Jayhawk prospects. He is projected to go undrafted in a lot of mock drafts but earlier in the season some had him going in the 40s. It seems strange to me that he was not even invited to the combine. That does not mean he cannot get drafted, but the combine was a place where he could have really impressed.

He had some good moments this season but he struggled for much of his time at Kansas. Vick averaged 12.1 points per game this year with 4.8 boards and 2.1 assists to go along with that. Vick may not stand out as an elite prospect but he will come in and compete to try and earn a spot on the roster of whichever team gives him a chance.

Udoka Azubuike

Udoka Azubuike seems like the least likely of the five Jayhawks to get drafted in this year’s draft. He is a very raw big man who just isn’t that good of a fit in today’s game. He doesn’t have the shooting or athleticism to be a good player in today’s game.

His strength is something that doesn’t come around often though. He has the strength to battle down low with any big man in this league. He also has the potential to develop more skill. Udoka is a much better passer than he’s given credit for and he is only 18 years old so he still has a lot of time to grow.

It seems unlikely that he is gonna stay in the draft this year but you never know. His mother came over for the Final Four and he may try and do whatever it takes to keep her here. He is not a great pro prospect as of now, but that is not to say he cannot become a good pro. That being said, the Memphis Grizzlies should not consider drafting Udoka, but if he goes undrafted and gets picked up, he would be worth a tryout.