The Memphis Grizzlies have new ownership and a new direction, and without a first-round pick to speak of, they'll have to reach deep in order to find a diamond in the rough that can help to take them to the next step as a team on the brink of championship contention.
In 2012-13 they made a bold trade with the Toronto Raptors that shipped star forward Rudy Gay north of the border. Replacing his scoring ability hasn't been easy, but the crop of young backcourt players has managed to pick up the slack enough to where they haven't missed a beat without him. Now, they'll have to add to what they currently have in order to move forward and build upon that success.
Last season, Memphis went with Tony Wroten out of the University of Washington with the 25th overall pick, their lone selection in that draft. He saw very little time on the floor this year playing behind Tony Allen and Wayne Ellington at his own position and falling victim to the fact that Jerryd Bayless and Mike Conley spent a lot of time on the floor together when the team went small.
Memphis may not have a first-round selection (theirs went to the Timberwolves via a 2011 draft day trade), but they have three second-round picks at No. 41, No. 55 and No. 60 overall. In a draft that's not especially top-heavy, that bodes well for their ability to add some depth to a team that already has its core in place.
Point guard: Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless (player option)
Shooting guard: Tony Allen (unrestricted free agent) Tony Wroten
Center: Marc Gasol
Memphis was the best in the league at getting stops, but they were 27th in points per game (93.4) and 17th in points allowed per 100 possessions (104.9). That means that they will try to add some scoring with their selections, most likely at the center position to serve as a backup to reigning Defensive Player of the Year Gasol.
But because there isn't a lot of polish or NBA-ready talent at that position, they can wait to snag a big man.
They could instead immediately seek some more depth on the wings and add someone who could play both the two and three spots to add some versatility and mitigate the loss of Gay.
One of the most sensible potential picks at No. 41 is Archie Goodwin out of Kentucky (scouting report). At 6'5, he's a relatively small choice at the two position, but he's plenty athletic enough to make up for it. If he were to fall to No. 41, the Grizzlies would instantly have another scoring threat off the bench that could allow them to pursue a later-round big man.
One option to add size is DeWayne Dedmon, a 6'11 junior out of USC. At just 239 pounds, he lacks NBA strength but has length that can immediately complement Gasol's shot-changing ability when he fills in for the incumbent off the bench.
Erik Murphy (scouting report) from Florida is another big man who could bolster the front line with scoring ability as a stretch four. He has plenty of seasoning as a four-year collegiate player and could feasibly step in right away to contribute in the scoring department. He averaged 12.2 points per game and shot a stellar 52 percent from the field in his final season playing for head coach Billy Donovan, and could be available at No. 55. He'd likely be a reach at No. 41, but if they like him well enough, it could be worth a shot.