The Grizzlies’ 2023 Draft: What do they need, and who can fill those roles?

Memphis Grizzles general manager Zach Kleiman-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzles general manager Zach Kleiman-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 7

“Did we really need to triple down on youth at the beginning of the season?” Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Zach Kleiman asked rhetorically in his exit interviews in late April. In sports, regret is often an emotion left unstated: within the machismo punditry of American athletics, regret and humility are gawked at as signifiers of weakness. The quote serves to convey a sense of self-aware, self-afflicted purgatory. Humility to supplant ire, a PR stratagem.

Suspended in this purgatory, and increasingly ready to be slammed back down to the Earth, are the effects of Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension, a looming Dillon Brooks trade with festering questions about possible return value, and the aftermath of Steven Adams’ injuries over the past two years. That doesn’t even include questionable futures for former Grizzlies first-round picks like Jake LaRavia and David Roddy.

They also have a nearly filled roster (currently 14 out of the maximum 15), a new CBA and its consequences, an aggressively middling off-season free-agent class, and a draft filled to the brim with NBA-ready role-players. Players like LaRavia and Roddy could still become something, but losing Coach Darko Rajakovic, who handled much of the Grizzlies’ developmental heavy lifting to Toronto last week, along with Kleiman’s aforementioned “youth” quote, muddies their waters.

The Grizzlies don’t exactly have a clear or concise objective for this draft, largely because they have a metric ton of possible options. Thus, writing about the draft right now might be all for naught. The possible finagling needed to get decent returns on a Dillon Brooks sign-and-trade might require the reallocation of the Grizzlies’ picks this year.

Who knows how much confidence the front office has in a development staff that might be gearing up for a transitional year. Also, the sun might explode tomorrow, killing all forms of life within our solar system. So I’m gonna try anyway.

I’ve compiled a list of six categories of players the Grizzlies are possibly looking for. Each respective group will be given a bit of an introduction/overview. Prospects likely to be drafted on Thursday will fall into one of said six categories. I’ll highlight my favorite one out of the grouping, giving the chosen prospect a bit of a deeper dive, and then a list of some other possible options that I don’t like quite as much. So, this is kind of a hybrid off-season primer and draft overview. Let’s kick things off by addressing what they could do with the point guard spot.