The Memphis Grizzlies have been arguably the best team when it comes to the NBA Draft in recent years. Just about every player taken by Zach Kleiman, the team’s young general manager, has panned out well.
In fact, the argument could be made that the team’s worst draft pick in the past few years is Jaren Jackson Jr., and to be clear, Jaren Jackson Jr. is a great player. The only reason that I’m calling him the team’s worst draft pick is because he has not yet come close to his ceiling as a player. That said, he still has room to grow and there’s no doubt that he’ll develop into an All-Star player.
But even though we’ve come to know the Grizzlies as a team that drafts extremely well, the franchise held the rights to one of the biggest draft busts of all time in OJ Mayo.
What if OJ Mayo wasn’t a bust for the Memphis Grizzlies?
Okay, technically OJ Mayo was not drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, he was taken with the 3rd overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies wouldn’t acquire him until later that day via trade.
And out of the gate, Mayo looked like he was ready to live up to the hype. He would finish second in the league’s rookie of the year voting, solidifying himself as one of the stronger young players in the league. In his second year, he’d continue to play well, averaging over 17 points per game.
It looked like he was shaping up to be a great pickup for Memphis. But then year three happened.