Grade the Trade: Grizzlies swap 2024 first-round pick for recent lottery selected big

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers
Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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Laying out the trade

Coming into this offseason, the belief among both fans and media pundits alike is that the Grizzlies should strongly look into bolstering their highly depleted center rotation, as the front office opted to gut the position mid-season with the pre-deadline deals that shipped Steven Adams to Houston and Xavier Tillman to Boston.

To some, the course of action needed to properly address the pivot is to seek young and cost-efficient prospects in this draft, with names such as UConn's Donovan Clingan being tabbed as an ideal option to consider.

However, even if they did happen to land the number one selection and, thus, had pick of the litter, Buckley believes that it may be worthwhile for the ball club to pursue already established big men in the association to man the middle, as he proposed a trade for Detroit Pistons sophomore Jalen Duren to help them add on "more physical force" to their frontcourt depth.

No. 1 pick for Duren

The 13 overall selection from the 2022 NBA Draft, Duren has proven himself to be a quality rim runner and board gobbler who, through 61 games played in 2023-24, posted solid per-game averages of 13.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and just shy of a block while shooting 61.9 percent from the field.

A tremendous athlete who can sky high for alley-oop lobs and set strong screens, Buckley argues that pursuing a guy like the Pistons big, even at the cost of the number one draft selection, could be a great idea for this team, as his play style and size could serve as a much-needed replacement for the likes of Adams at the five all at an age of 10-years his younger.

"Remember, their February deal with Houston left a Steven Adams-sized hole in the center rotation, and while the 250-pound Duren isn't quite as bulky as the 265-pound Adams, he could be just as active on the glass while adding a different dimension as a lob-finisher.

There would be an argument for Memphis standing pat and taking a young big at No. 1, but there might be a better argument for moving down the board and adding a rotation-ready player like Duren in the process."

Zach Buckley

Duren may be limited in his offensive game outside of slam dunks and has proven to be rather foul-prone, but there's still a ton of upside attached to his game and, at 20 years old, still has plenty of time to hone his craft.

If the Pistons are on board, should the Grizzlies then look to make this trade?