After a lively Friday it was a pretty quiet weekend for NBA draft news. The report that Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio took over the weekend news cycle instead. Here’s hoping the Spurs stay strong and refuse to send him west. Let the Lakers fend for themselves in free agency. As for the Grizzlies, a few quick notes to get the week started. We’ll check in daily here the rest of this week, since my next official writing home is still under construction.
Chicago Road Trip: The Grizzlies were among the teams in Chicago last Friday for an invite-only medical examination of Michael Porter Jr., an on-again/off-again affair that was ultimately scaled down from an expected workout to only an evaluation after Porter was reportedly limited by hip problems.
All is mum so far on the results of this examination. I had Porter ranked #5 on my own draft board last week, based on optimistic reports about his health. That was still too low for the Grizzlies pick at #4, and given my belief that the Grizzlies need to balance upside with minimizing risk with this pick, there’s no way I could comfortably take Porter. He could become the best player in the draft, but he won’t be the only prospect available at #4 about whom that can be said. Give me the guy who hasn’t had back surgery nearly a year ago and still hasn’t looked normal since.
Parsons Deals: One of the rumors from late last week was that the Grizzlies might seek to pair the #4 pick with Chandler Parsons’ contract (2 years left at a max-type salary) in trades. I don’t necessarily put a lot of stock in these reports, but I did a little tweetstorm on Friday to illustrate the different types of deals this could be.
Short version: Trades designed to use the #4 pick as payment for teams to take Parsons’ deal are both very unlikely and almost certainly a bad idea for the Grizzlies. However, two other types of deals are more realistic and more worth pursuing: One would essentially be the #4 pick for a current player, with Parsons’ contract needed for salary matching purposes. The other would be trading down in the draft, with the Grizzlies payment for moving down being able to flip Parsons for a more useful (but still well-compensated) player.
These types of deals are worth exploring, but I still suspect that Parsons’ contract is so onerous that including it lowers the value of that #4 pick too much. Staying put or trading down in a way that doesn’t include Parsons as an anchor are probably better long-term paths. Are the Grizzlies focused enough on long term?
I had some fun last week with that concern:
Workouts Still Likely: Though nothing has been announced yet, I’m hearing there will likely be another Grizzlies draft workout at FedExForum tomorrow and there may be another on Wednesday. I’d expect these to be for second-round prospects.
Mock Draft Roundup: Looking at the latest editions of 10 high-profile mock drafts (some I take more seriously than others), the spread of Grizzlies predictions at #4 is: Luka Doncic (4), Jaren Jackson (4), Michael Porter (2). None of these 10 mocks has Marvin Bagley available at the fourth pick.
In the mocks that include second-round picks, the #32 picks are: De’Anthony Melton (2), Jalen Brunson, Josh Okogie, Jevon Carter, Melvin Frazier, and Jacob Evans. This array of names underscores my sense that the Grizzlies should get a pretty promising prospect at #32 in this draft.