Report: Grizzlies intend to draft Ja Morant No. 2
Of course, Zion Williamson will be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Nearly as likely, the Pelicans – who won last night’s lottery – will keep the top pick and take him themselves.
What will the Grizzlies do at No. 2?
Jonathan Givony of ESPN:
Source: Barring the unexpected, Memphis Grizzlies front office and ownership appear to have locked in on selecting Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and are informing parties in Chicago of such. That clears the way for R.J. Barrett to fall to the Knicks at #3.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 15, 2019
If Ja Morant isn’t the consensus second-best prospect in this draft, he’s darn close. He was the most likely No. 2 pick no matter how the lottery unfolded.
This just creates complications for Memphis.
Morant is a point guard – like the Grizzlies’ best player, Mike Conley. Memphis shopped Conley before the trade deadline. Expect more Conley trade discussions this summer.
Don’t assume the Grizzlies will deal Conley, though. They could keep Conley to mentor Morant. They could keep Conley because they believe the point guards could play together. They could keep Conley because this franchise has shown no vision in years.
But Memphis should explore the market. Conley is 31 and will become a free agent in 2020 or 2021. He’s unlikely to help the Grizzlies win significantly before his contract expires. He could provide more value to another team.
The Grizzlies’ rebuild is in nice shape with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant, a talented playmaker. Getting another long-term asset for Conley makes a lot of sense.
Attention now turns to the No. 3 pick. R.J. Barrett is the most likely selection, regardless of whether the Knicks trade the pick. He appears to be in his own tier, below Morant and above everyone else. But it’s still possible New York views Barrett or another less-touted player differently than the consensus does.