Every year, SB Nation puts together a community mock draft with bloggers from all the team blogs with first-round picks. This year is my first one as the Site Manager, and these exercises are always cool to highlight the different routes each team could pursue.
For the Memphis Grizzlies, I wanted to use these 2 first-round picks (22 and 29) to add depth. In doing so, I ventured both directions to Zach Kleiman and company have taken in the past 3 drafts. One pick was going to be the undervalued upper classman that slides down boards due to age and physical limitations (like wingspan), and the other was going to be an upside swing.
Let’s start with the 22nd pick.
With the 22nd pick in the 2022 SB Nation NBA Mock Draftthe Memphis Grizzlies select Dalen Terry, University of Arizona
Here’s my reasoning for the pick:
The Memphis Grizzlies could lose both Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson in free agency, and they may use the draft to replace either player. How about someone that could potentially replace both of them? Terry won’t be able to fulfill this role right away, and they could bring back either free agent on short-term deals in the interim. Nonetheless, he has a versatile skillset as a 6’7” combo guard.
Terry fits a lot of the team’s philosophy. With his 7’0” wingspan, his defensive impact is profound—jumping into passing lanes to generate turnovers, an area in which the Grizzlies thrive. Taylor Jenkins also wants to have as many playmakers on the floor as possible, and they experimented with lineups without a traditional point guard when Ja Morant was hurt. Dalen Terry can seamlessly fit into that system with his playmaking prowess and his pick-and-roll potential. His offense can take another leap as well, showing shooting promise at the end of the season.
At the 22nd pick, there aren’t many upside plays better than Dalen Terry here.
The counting stats aren’t going to wow anyone. In his sophomore season this past year, he averaged 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, while shooting 50.2% from the field, 36.4% from 3, and 73.6% from the free throw line. He did have two other potential first-round picks with me, including potential top-10 pick Bennedict Mathurin as the go-to scorer.
The raw numbers don’t tell the story with Terry. He’s a big guard that plays with an infectious energy. He jumps passing lanes, flies in transition, and finds his teammates with wicked passes.
Terry has a baseline as a glue guy, Something he mentioned several times in his combine interview with former ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz. His skillset indicates he could be even more than that type of role player. At 6’7” with a 7’1” wingspan, he has the versatility and ball skills to initiate the offense or complement another primary ball-handler — in this case, Ja Morant. He should also slide through and defend positions 1-4, and wreak havoc while doing so.
As the Grizzlies enter this offseason, roster turnover is a high possibility. Both Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones are entering free agency. Then, both De’Anthony Melton and Dillon Brooks are the team’s two likeliest trade candidates. Terry is an option that could fill in off the bench to give doses of what Anderson, Jones, and Melton provided. Playmaking with size has been a priority for this Grizzlies front office and for Taylor Jenkins’ system. Dalen Terry would fit it to a T as a versatile big guard that makes plays on both sides of the ball.
When exploring upside outside the lottery, Dalen Terry is someone that comes to mind. With his combination of an interesting skillset, versatility, and energy, Terry has one of the best chances of anyone outside the lottery to become a top-5 player in this draft class. The outside shooting is a major swing skill here — though, he shot 46.5% from 3 in the final 18 games of the season. At the 22nd pick, for a team with their foundation set, they can afford to swing on a fascinating upside pick like Dalen Terry.
With the 29th pick in the 2022 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select Christian Braun, University of Kansas
More on my rationale on selecting Braun:
Let’s go to the other side of the Memphis Grizzlies’ brand: the older college prospect that slips in the draft due to physical limitations or age. Christian Braun out of Kansas is a fiery competitor that fits the culture for this Memphis Grizzlies team. He’s a feisty defender that can guard positions 1-3 and rebound quite well for his size. Offensively, he’s a versatile scorer that’ll be a plug-and-play fit — “very good” to “excellent” ratings in transition (1,187 PPP), pick-and-roll handling (0,904 PPP), cutting (1,262 PPP) , and hand-off (1,086 PPP) efficiency, via Synergy Sports. For a team looking to compete for a championship next season, Christian Braun is the type of rookie able to answer the call when his number is called upon next season — while also getting the luxury of rounding out his game in the G-League.
This is really why I want the Grizzlies to pick Christian Braun.
Christian Braun will likely slide due to his age (21 years old) and his wingspan (6’7” with a 6’6.5” wingspan), and it could be a benefit for the Memphis Grizzlies once again. He was an instrumental component in the Jayhawks’ title run. He was a great sidekick for Ochai Agbaji on the wing — serving as a 3-and-D glue guy.
Braun also fits the Grizzlies’ philosophy. He’s an ultimate competitor that’s a good shooter, passer, and defender. Over his past 3 years at Kansas, he shot 37.8% from 3 — while connecting on 38.6% from 3 on 3.3 attempts per game last season. He also upped his playmaking, bumping his assist average from 1.9 to 2.8 from his sophomore to junior season. His size on the wing and his ferocity also make him an asset on defense.
With his scoring benchmarks I mentioned above, it highlights Braun’s scalability as he transitions to a role player with minimal scoring responsibilities. He could fit any sort of role. On this Grizzlies team, he’ll likely toggle between the main roster and Southaven. Like John Konchar this past year, he should be a solid emergency role player whenever there are injuries over the course of the regular season.
Christian Braun could become another older, overlooked draft prospect who shines in his role with the Memphis Grizzlies.
In this mock draft exercise, the Memphis Grizzlies came away with an upside swing and an older prospect — and both of these players could be factors in the Grizzlies’ rotation plans next season. Both Terry and Braun add depth on the perimeter, especially at the 2 and the 3 spots. They’re both also winning players with versatile, unselfish skillsets — something that’ll bode extremely well in this organization.
2 more days until we see all this materialize. Can’t wait to see how it goes down.