Building the Memphis Grizzlies’ all-time draft bust starting lineup

Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Memphis Grizzlies have had a really good track record of selecting players in the NBA draft in the Zach Kleiman era, a man who’s served as GM of the team since 2019 and won the 2022 NBA Executive of the Year.

But, before he was installed, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it seemed like the Grizzlies were one of the worst in the NBA at drafting really good, productive NBA players.

There was once a time when Chris Wallace was the GM of the team (2007-19) and fans openly bemoaned having a decent selection in the first round of the draft, because we knew that he would inevitably blow the pick and draft a bust.

It’s no coincidence that the five players I’ve selected for this list were picked during the Wallace era.

What does a starting lineup of the biggest Memphis Grizzlies draft busts look like?

I think it’s undisputed who the Grizzlies’ worst draft pick of all-time is: former UConn big man Hasheem Thabeet.

We’ll start with him and dive into some of the other players that ended up being some of the biggest draft busts in franchise history.

Center: Hasheem Thabeet (2009, Pick No. 2)

Total NBA games played: 224

It’s a no-brainer that Hasheem Thabeet, widly considered one of the worst draft picks of all-time, makes my starting lineup as the center.

It hurts knowing that the Grizzlies could have theoretically picked anyone else from a draft (except for Blake Griffin, who went No. 1 overall) that included Stephen Curry, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Ricky Rubio, and Jeff Teague.

The 7’3″ UConn product never scored more than 13 points in a game during his NBA career, which spanned five years and included stops with the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Where is Hasheem Thabeet now?

Thabeet tried to make a comeback in 2019-20 in the G-League with Fort Wayne, but only appeared in 9 games.

In 2020-21 he played in the Taiwanese P. League+, becoming the league’s leading rebounder and leader in blocked shots. He was named the league Defensive Player of the Year.

He also looks a lot different than you probably remember.