A sampling of reaction around the web on the Grizzlies draft:
He likes us! He likes us! He really likes us!
ESPN's Chad Ford gives the Griz draft an A-:
Analysis: I am not a huge fan of Thabeet but understand why the Grizzlies went that way. Ricky Rubio wasn't cooperating, and Thabeet can help the Grizzlies, who needed a big, athletic shot-blocker. He is limited offensively, but he can change the game on defense.
Later in the draft is where the Grizzlies really shone. I loved the Carroll and Young picks. They give the Grizzlies toughness and two players who can come in and contribute immediately.
I've been pretty harsh about some of the Grizzlies' shortcomings in the past, but for the second year in a row, I think they've drafted really well.
CNNSI's Scott Howard-Cooper is even more generous, with the A:
Defense, defense, defense. The Grizzlies gave up a ton of easy baskets last season and went about doing something about it by drafting the player with the best chance to turn games as a shot-blocker and general inside nuisance, Hasheem Thabeet, second overall. Then they took two other hard workers for the frontcourt, energy guy DeMarre Carroll at No. 27 and athletic, experienced Sam Young at No. 36. All should make the team. All should make the team better in an area of need.
NBADraft.net gives Griz an A-:
The Grizzlies wanted to improve their rebounding, defense and overall toughness. In those regards, this was a great draft. Thabeet certainly makes a lot of sense here and has tremendous potential. Carroll and Young will compete for playing time but each brings something to the table.
Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer gives the Griz a good grade, but I might agree with him about Marc Gasol:
Young will help right away, and that's about it. Carroll can play, and Thabeet will become a hell of a player. It's become obvious that the Grizzlies don't know what they have in Marc Gasol, but we'll save that criticism for another column. For now, a solid trio of players, well worth their picks.
Not everyone was impressed though. CBS' Ken Berger labels the Griz a loser:
Grizzlies: A team that lacks scoring punch and a reliable point guard blows off the one commodity this draft had — a full menu of point guards — and takes a player who can't score. Hasheem Thabeet might evolve into an elite shot-blocker and rebounder, but with the No. 2 pick? Gotta do better than that. Even if the Grizzlies weren't in love with the point guards, they could've traded the pick to someone who was.
Chris Mannix labels Griz a "potential loser":
GRIZZLIES — The 7-3 Thabeet's skills are undeniable: He's a dominating shot-blocker who, as Syracuse guard Flynn says, "has the ability to just come out of nowhere." He also has offensive potential, which Thabeet has been developing with the help of Scott Roth, a former NBA assistant coach. Roth believes that in a few years Thabeet could have a nice jump hook and a 10-to-12-foot jump shot in his repertoire. However, the Grizzlies have been collecting point guards like trading cards over the last two years and it is curious that they would pass on Rubio and Evans, two potential solutions at the position. Memphis did pick up two serviceable players in DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young, but if Thabeet, who benefited from the college rules that allow him to camp out in the paint, turns out to be more Shawn Bradley than Dikembe Mutombo, the Grizz will have blown a significant opportunity.
Mike DeCourcy weighs in on both first-round picks:
Thabeet can make a good team better, but there’s reason to be concerned about what impact he can have on a bad team. We know he’s not an offensive player, and that’s likely to change only incrementally. If he’s going to be a great defender, though, he has to grow stronger and do a better job holding his ground. If he’s just blocking shots as a help defender, he won’t be worth many victories.
On DeMarre Carroll; I have my issues with DeCourcy, but I think he's dead-on with this:
It doesn’t feel good to say anything bad about Carroll, because he delivered a solid college career, and he plays with intelligence and zeal. But he doesn’t really have a game. He’s not a great shooter. He’s not a power forward. He’s strictly a player who’ll blend into a team and fill a role. There still are guys on this board who can do much more than not get in anybody’s way.
For now, Ian Thomsen has the Griz pegged 14th in the West right now:
Finally, Bill Simmons has fun with the Thabeet pick in his annual draft diary:
4:46: The Grizz take Thabeet. Of course they do. It would be funny if Rubio and his entourage were celebrating. Woohoo! We're not going to Memphis! My take on Thabeet: He's either a homeless man's Dikembe Mutombo or a rich man's Keith Closs Jr.
4:48: "I'm not sure [Thabeet's] offense is ever gonna get there," Bilas tells us, adding, "He has to get stronger … DeJuan Blair absolutely beasted him … and he really has to refine his offensive skills." That's followed by Thabeet's getting the ESPN graphic, "Must Improve: Offensive Game." Somewhere, Darko Milicic is screaming, "I'm off the hook! I'm off the hook!"
4:50: Jones asks Thabeet, "What does it mean to be the first player in the NBA from Tanzania?" This could be a long night. On the bright side, Thabeet apparently bought Andre the Giant's voice on eBay. I keep waiting for him to challenge Big John Studd to a lumberjack match.