When contemplating the Memphis Grizzlies's pick at number 28, one must consider the immense talent and potential that was surprisingly available low in the first round. With Chris Douglas Roberts, DeAndre Jordan, Joey Dorsey and others still available, the Grizzlies opted to move in a different direction- to select what they perceived to be the best talent available. Before one can remark on their selection, one must exercise all options. CDR was a hometown favorite who is highly underrated due to his largely average physical tools. Yet, this does not account for his penchant for in game heroics. (other than their tournament run) Dorsey, a fellow Tiger, is a monster in the paint who can gather rebounds. And, Jordan possesses considerable physical gifts and could emerge as one of the best steals in this draft. Ultimately, the Grizzlies went with Syracuse freshman Donte Greene.
Though he possesses a great deal of potential, this selection makes little sense from the Grizzlies' perpective. Greene is a 6'10 small forward who largely shoots from the outside. He is extremely raw at this stage in his development, and is going to need to add considerable bulk in order to be effective in the NBA. He is a streaky shooter from the perimeter who can detract from his team if his shots are not falling. Greene, at times, hoists shots up at inopportune times. When he decided to go inside, he was able to maneuver in the paint, though this was a rare occurrence. Furthermore, he was outmuscled by stronger interior defenders at the college level. Thus, a strength training program could do wonders for his game. Moreover, his below average ball handling does not make him ideal for an up tempo style. When Syracuse played in transition, Greene was prone to pulling up for three point shots; thus the Orange faced many empty possessions. As such, Donte's understanding of the game must mature for him to be a serious factor in the Grizzlies transition offense.
Secondly, from a personnel standpoint, this is not the most appropriate selection. Rudy Gay is the most coveted talent on our roster, and he will consume roughly forty minutes per game. And, Greene plays the same position as Rudy. Not only that, but both possess comparable flaws. Due to his considerable length, Rudy could stand to improve his handle; however, he has made strides since his rookie season. Similarly, Greene was incapable of driving to the hoops due to his lacksidasical dribbling. He utilized his notable height advantage to shoot over the top of opponents. With this option taken away, it is difficult to determine how he will respond. Greene is very raw at this stage in his development, especially if he is to be utilized in an up tempo offense. Why did the Grizzlies refrain from selecting an immediate rotation player who could provide consistent effort off the bench. With Juan Carlos Navarro gone, the Grizzlies could have used this pick to solidify their backup guard positions.
I suspect that this selection was an attempt to appease fellow Syracuse alum Hakim Warrick. However, this is an underwhelming proposition for most fans because his tweener status has really been a detriment to the Grizzlies team defense. Overall, Donte possesses a great deal of promise, but selecting him with more experienced players readily available and not taking into account his NBA position, could prove to be a costly error down the road.