Grizzlies could prevent 'nightmare' scenario with NBA Draft day trade

The Memphis Grizzlies could potentially prevent a "nightmare" scenario from happening in the Western Conference with one particular trade in the 2024 NBA Draft.
Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks
Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

This Wednesday the 2024 NBA Draft will have finally arrived, and, still, no one seems to have a strong sense of what the Memphis Grizzlies plan to do on the night.

Since clinching the ninth overall selection in the festivities, conversations and speculation have been swirling rampantly concerning the front office's intentions.

Though Memphis finds itself coming off a putrid 27-33 season, when fully healthy -- which they'll presumably be next year -- they are stocked to the brim with star talent and sensational role players, so their approach to this year's draft will likely be much different than that of actual cellar dwellers like the Portland Trail Blazers (21-61), Washington Wizards (15-67), and Detroit Pistons (14-68).

As a result of their team makeup and previous successes, the franchise can afford to be rather flexible with their decision-making on the night. Some suggest they should draft based on rotational needs, while others urge them to take the best available player should they stay put at No. 9 on the board.

However, another course of action could realistically be trading up to a more lucrative selection, and one move, in particular, could be seen as beneficial for not only them but the rest of the West.

Grizzlies should try to trade for Donovan Clingan before Thunder do

During a recent episode of Locked on Grizzlies, hosts Joe Mullinax and Damichael Cole discussed the hotly buzzed-about idea of the Grizzlies making a move with the Houston Rockets to acquire the third overall pick.

The thought behind such a hypothetical is that Memphis could then use the pick to snatch up coveted prospect Donovan Clingan, who has been rumored to be on their center-needy radar for quite some time now.

However, adding the 20-year-old in this fashion could theoretically be about more than just filling a rotational need, but, rather, strategically thwarting a particular scenario that Mullinax described as having the potential to be an absolute "nightmare" for the Western Conference and, possibly, the league as a whole.

"I don't know if I would give up multiple firsts to get up to three, and that might be what it costs. Oklahoma City could pay that. Could you imagine Clingan and Chet Holmgren together? That would be a nightmare down with the Thunder. That would be a major problem for everybody in the west."

Joe Mullinax

Like the Grizzlies, the Thunder are a young and promising team rolling out lineups with a superstar point guard (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), budding young studs (Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren), and, when healthy, have proven to be a top-tier team in the standings.

Also similar to Memphis is the fact that they, too, need more size and depth within their frontcourt, which is why they are viewed as a team that could opt to move up in the draft to try and scoop up the 7-foot-2, 280-pound youngster.

Of course, as Mullinax correctly noted, his addition to Oklahoma City's already tantalizing core could end up being an absolute terror for the entire Western Conference, which, obviously, includes the title-hungry Grizzlies.

Coming off his second straight NCAA Championship with the UConn Huskies, the bruising behemoth of a big man finished his second and final season at the collegiate level boasting averages of 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.5 blocks all while shooting 63.9 percent from the field.

With his ability to crash the boards, defend the rim, and, based on his individual pre-draft workouts, his improving efficiency in the three-point shooting department, many have dubbed Clingan as a player who could fit brilliantly on this Memphis Grizzlies team.

This alone has already piqued the ball club's interest in moving up in this week's draft to acquire him. However, with the rumblings that a direct threat to their championship hopes in the Thunder is also considering targeting him, it should add more incentive for them to pursue the center, almost as a way to play defense from a strategic standpoint.