The Grizzlies went into the 2017 NBA Draft without any picks, having traded them both away, but the general consensus was that they’d find a way to get into the second round. The Grizzlies had amassed a small stockpile of other teams’ future 2nds, and with the launch of the Memphis Hustle this fall, they have plenty of places to stash guys who aren’t signed to NBA contracts after training camp. It only makes sense that they’d try to get into the second round of a deep draft and find some gems that had fallen through from other teams.
They traded Brooklyn’s 2019 second round pick to the Orlando Magic for the 35th pick in last night’s draft, and then used that pick to draft Ivan Rabb, a sophomore forward from Cal. Rabb was projected to be a lottery pick in last year’s draft, but opted to stay at Cal another year. He struggled, and thus his draft stock was much lower this year, even as his upside stayed the same. According to his DraftExpress profile, Rabb has NBA potential but also has a long way to go to prove it. While the Grizzlies’ GM Chris Wallace is always a guy willing to take a chance on a player who was highly ranked coming out of high school, it seems like there are enough questions around Rabb to wonder if there weren’t better players available to take this kind of a flyer on.
Overall it’s definitely a classic “Chris Wallace” pick:
CHRIS WALLACE CHECKLIST:— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) June 23, 2017
McDonald's All American ✔
Top 10 High School Recruit ✔
Very possibly injured ✔
(activate draft pick)
But the Grizzlies also grabbed a second rounder who was supposed to go in the lottery last year, and it turned out to be Deyonta Davis, who is very possibly the future of the franchise at the center position (it’s early, but his instincts are already impeccable). Why not try to capture that same magic twice? At the very least, he’s roster fodder for the Hustle.
I have a hard time feeling like Rabb was the best player available, but I also know nothing about scouting these guys once we get into second round territory. I would maybe have preferred some kind of guard, or a Euro-stash prospect to use as an asset, but Ivan Rabb it is. It's certainly a smart move if, as it appears, the Grizzlies had him high on their draft board.