Re-grading the Grizzlies draft picks in the Zach Kleiman era

The Grizzlies need to build through the draft and recent misses have played a factor in their slow start.
Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Kleiman
Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Kleiman / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Brandon Clarke goes 21st overall in 2019 and winds up in Memphis after trade

The Grizzlies were not done. Morant became their point guard of the present and future, so Kleiman traded Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz for three role players and two first-round picks. It gave them the 23rd overall pick in 2019, but Memphis used a future second-round pick to move up to 21 to take Clarke.

The 6’8 forward played three years of college basketball and was outstanding in his final season at Gonzaga. He was an older prospect, but teams were intrigued by his potential and ability to stuff the stat sheet.

Grade: B

Clarke leads the 2019 draft class in win shares as of Nov. 30, but there were plenty of talented players still on the board. Nic Claxton, Daniel Gafford, Grant Williams, Keldon Johnson, and Terance Mann went after the 21st pick. Kleiman wanted Clarke, but he has started just 29 games in his first four NBA seasons.

The 27-year-old is expected to miss the majority of the 2023-24 campaign after tearing his Achilles in March. There is no way the Grizzles could have known about that five years ago, but the franchise would certainly rather have Claxton at this stage in their careers.

Credit to Zach Kleiman, though. He found another quality rotation piece in the 20s to keep building the team’s young core, and the Grizzlies earned a solid B grade for this pick.