Deyonta Davis and Ben McLemore are Grizzlies no longer. Both arrived in Memphis as physically and athletically-gifted prospects with loads of unreckoned potential at a low cost. Deyonta Davis had been a projected lottery pick, and tantalized with the makings of a modern rim-protector that could roll to the rim on the pick-and-roll. Ben McLemore was the 7th pick in his draft, and shot nearly 40 percent from deep in the season before joining the Grizzlies.
Why did Deyonta fall so far in the draft? Tom Izzo blamed his shyness. Why didn’t McLemore live up to expectations in Sacramento? He languished under four head coaches in the turbulent Boogie era. Both were good buy-low bets on tremendous potential. Neither worked out, and it was time to move on.
Deyonta Davis had ample opportunity to show progress as the only real backup center once Wright left. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to use his size, strength, and bounce to his advantage, with defenders routinely pushing him out of position for rebounds, or Davis never making a strong enough effort to get into good positioning. He may have fared better had he played more games with the Grizzlies' developmental league affiliate, but roster constraints in Memphis didn’t afford him that opportunity.
If he’d been here during the Zach Randolph years, perhaps ZBO would've imbued Davis with his fiery drive to rassle for position and clean the glass. Those guys should really link up! But it was time to pull the plug on DD’s time in Memphis, especially with Triple-J on the horizon. At least we have the memory of Vince Carter building Deyonta a room in his house (that Davis never visited).
a lot of people are wondering why the kings traded for mclemore and deyonta but I’m pretty sure it was because vince Carter misses deyonta davis— ㅤflemdawg1hunna (@Flemdawg1Hunna) July 17, 2018
Ben McLemore’s time with the Grizzlies feels like the distant memory of a hazy dream. He broke his foot in a pickup game before the season began, and by the time he returned from injury and joined the team, Conley was injured and the season was a wash. BMac does leave Memphis with one lasting impression, maybe the most memorable play of the last few seasons.
The Grizzlies have turned the page on longshots for high potential this offseason. For now, it appears they’re done with rolling the dice on unproven players that theoretically could widly outperform their contracts. Instead, they’re turning to players seen as “sure things” that are safer bets. We saw this when the Grizzlies signed Kyle Anderson. We’re seeing it again with Memphis shipping off DD and BMac for Garrett Temple. They want players who understand what they can do, and who can operate at a high level within a team context. They want guys who are reliable and have a high basketball IQ.
Adding Garrett Temple while shaving down the roster size and shipping off two players that won’t work in this Grizzlies era is a win, even if they had to pay Sacramento to do it. He’s a good 3-point shooter, and has proven his efficacy with good teams before joining the Kings. He’s a much better bet to improve after leaving Sacramento than McLemore ever was. I think the Grizzlies are on the right track picking solid players that should improve the stability of their rotations.