It is well known that the Memphis Grizzlies have never drafted well. From Hasheem Thabeet to Josh Selby to Jamaal Franklin to as lately as Wade Baldwin IV, the team has swung and missed on draft selections not merely consistently, but as well when the franchise acquired large room for error.
As I wrote (shameless plug-in the nut graf no less!) in a recently available content on Dillon Brooks, who may buck the supposed trend of poor drafting by the Grizzlies…
The Grizzlies’ draft history has been a dark, dismal road lit only by the slow-to-build but yet mighty fire that’s Mike Conley. Without his extraordinary transformation, there’s very little else you can indicate in terms of success in terms of the Grizzlies’ draft record.
The second sentence there is an incontrovertibly true statement, and I will show you why soon. But primary, let’s check out whom the Grizzlies have drafted over the last ten years, excluding the newest draft because there was no statistical data on those players during this research.
Certain players stand out or appear to be missing here. For example, Kevin Take pleasure in resides in the 2008 spot as the Grizzlies did actually draft Kevin Take pleasure in in 2008. Even so, the team traded him on draft evening for O.J. Mayo. Mayo, while a preternatural scorer in his rookie time, declined in ability and stature every time since. Second case in point: Marc Gasol is usually nowhere to be found on this list. That is because the LA Lakers selected him in the 2007 NBA Draft, afterward traded him to Memphis for his brother, Pau, later that same time.
If you’re worried that the players on the above list aren’t representative of real Grizzlies draft picks, don’t worry, those worries and more are accounted for.
I returned through and double checked that every player listed here played his first game with the Grizzlies. If he didn’t, he either got taken off the list or I tracked down the players he was traded for, confirming whether or not they were rookies. If that traded-for player(s) was certainly a rookie, I again checked to find if he first played for the Grizzlies. If he hadn’t I repeated the above procedure until I either struck on a new player who initially played in Memphis (and for that reason counted him), had not been a rookie (and for that reason didn’t count him), or was waived (also didn’t count him).
Tl;dr version of the above paragraph: the criteria thus far are that a player should be a rookie, and must have played his primary game with the Memphis Grizzlies. That allows a new player like DeMarre Carroll, who was simply drafted by and performed for Memphis but currently plays somewhere else, to remain on the list. In addition, it allows a new player like Gasol to become counted toward the Grizzlies (and Love not to be counted), despite the fact that he had not been technically drafted by the team.
Also, I set a minutes limit of 500 minutes per season. This is necessary so as to weed out some outlying data that could possess allowed some crazy skewing of the data which, among other things, initially allowed the New York Knicks-the Knicks!-to be the most successful team in the draft over the last decade (Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brother, Thanasis, set up an ungodly .291 win shares per 48 minutes amount in six total minutes over two video games in 2016 that led to that aberration).
The mins limit is significant in our case since it cuts folks like Jarell Martin and Baldwin out of the picture. But it also controversially nixes Thabeet, an undeniable fact which is adjusted for, as you will notice.
You could be wondering why these stipulations are needed in the first place. In order to determine how well the Grizzlies have drafted, I gathered the win shares and win shares per 48 mins stats for the players who fulfilled the above criteria, added the figures up, and averaged them.
I then went and did this for each and every team in the group and found the mean win shares and win shares per 48 mins of the whole draft population of the NBA from 2006-2016 to be able to provide context.
The final condition I applied to this research was that whether or not a new player stopped playing for a team, his total win shares and win shares per 48 mins numbers were used for the team which drafted him. This is done to better identify how well a team-in this context, the Grizzlies-actually drafted.
In the DeMarre Carroll case in point from earlier, he earned the two worst type of marks for WS and WS/48 of his career with Memphis before being traded and subsequently waived by Houston. Since then, nevertheless, he has played far better, earning him one of the better ratings of any of the players drafted by Memphis. The Grizzlies should be rewarded for recognizing and seizing on Carroll’s talent before anyone else do, despite their inability to mold or retain him.
This exercise is about drafting, not roster turnover.
Finally, I chose win shares and win shares per 48 minutes because they’re the advanced stats I trust most. If you’d prefer to learn what accurately both of these stats do, I would recommend going to underneath of this link and reading through to them. But basically, these stats make an effort to assess just how many wins a player plays a part in his team per time and per 48 mins, respectively.
So, with those conditions and guidelines in place, these are the nine player whom the Grizzlies “drafted” from 2006-2016.
As you peruse that list, you will need to admit, it’s filled with pretty stable players. That assertion is usually verified by the Grizzlies’ mean win shares and win shares per 48 minutes marks, which stack up well when compared to remaining league.
The team averaged 30.89 win shares, second only to (unsurprisingly) the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had the most total and average win shares of any team. Memphis’ typical win shares were almost double the group mean of 17.5 WS over the past ten seasons.
The team’s average win shares per 48 number was more based on the league’s going rate. Memphis’ draftees obtained 0.091 ws/48 over the past decade, best for 15th, directly in the middle of the pack (the San Antonio Spurs-again unsurprisingly-led the group, by a whole lot, in this category). The league mean was .090.
What this data says is that Memphis has actually not really drafted badly at all. Actually, the team has been at the very minimum average and potentially well above average in terms of the quality of player selected.
But, you may assert, the above doesn’t include Thabeet. Interestingly enough, adding Thabeet’s figures in to the mix didn’t change much for the Grizzlies. The team’s typical win shares fell somewhat to 28.28 (ranking third behind the Los Angels Clippers and ahead of the Golden State Warriors) and its own win shares per 48 rose one one-hundredth of a spot to .092 (still 15th). The Grizzlies located so much value in the second round through folks like Carroll and Vasquez, or through trades for folks like Gasol and Arthur, that their relative overachievement considerably displaces Thabeet’s relative underachievement.
Where things get seriously interesting is if you take a look simply at the Chris Wallace era. He became Basic Manager in 2007, days before the team selected Conley with the fourth overall choose in the draft. This qualified prospects me to assume that Wallace in all probability had little to do with the Conley selection, but it’s possible he did. So, as a subject of fairness to him, we’ll inspect his draft history both with and without Conley.
It should be noted that despite the fact that Gasol was picked in 2007, he wasn’t traded until February 2008, when the team was firmly under Wallace’s control. Wallace orchestrated that deal, so he gets details for snagging Marc…actually if Gasol’s rise would be hard for anybody to predict, he still got the offer done.
If we’re not counting Conley, several of the team’s three best players get overlooked of the conversation. Without Conley and Lowry, the team’s 2007 and 2006 first circular picks respectively, the Grizzlies’ ordinary win shares plummet to 11.37 and their ordinary win shares per 48 falls completely to .068 (these are including Thabeet’s numbers).
Weighed against that ten year league mean-which is not a totally fair move to make, considering I just lopped off 2 yrs of draft data pertaining to Memphis. But the figures are close more than enough in this example, so that’s how this is going-the Grizzlies would rank 5th worst in typical win shares and fourth worst in typical win shares per 48 minutes. These ranks plainly reflect extremely badly on Wallace’s draft record.
If we are counting Conley, things change drastically. His 62.8 win shares and .131 win shares per 48 minutes mark buoy the organization’s figures tremendously. The team’s typical win shares still fall without Lowry, but only to 23.66, a lot more than twice as much if Conley were not counted here. That would rank fourth in the Association. The team’s .085 win shares every 48 minutes rate would dip below league average, but would still rank them 16th, one position behind where it was before.
Obviously, if you count Conley, Wallace’s draft record looks substantially better. I am of the view that you ought to not count Conley, but I given both scenarios to ensure that you can choose for yourself.
What this is all boiling down to is that the organization’s drafting has been, at the very minimum, average over the last decade. Standard is not bad, bad getting the nominative term used in most conversations when describing the Grizzlies’ draft history.
What has been negative has been the organization’s capability to either develop the talent they draft and/or its decision to jump ship early on draft talent. GBB’s private Brandon Conner (aka BallFromGrace) observed this in his intriguing random number generator vs. the Grizzlies front business office piece yesterday.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a fairly strong theme of “player X got better after leaving Memphis.”
That’s the circumstance with Lowry, Carroll, Arthur, and Vasquez, who total 40 percent of the significant players drafted by the franchise since 2006. The Grizzlies chose that four of the six greatest players they drafted over the last decade either weren’t worth your time and effort or, in Lowry’s circumstance, were impeding the improvement of another player (Conley). That sentence should be highly concerning.
Few that with the team’s dubious post-Conley drafting and now there seems to be a common denominator in terms of staff decisions: Chris Wallace.
That’s not to say he’s been awful. Piecing together the Grit and Grind Grizzlies was no tiny feat, and he has rightly been lauded for those efforts. However the inattention to developing young players has been damning, as has his draft record if you’re not really counting Conley.
Nonetheless, the team is heading in a new direction. Dillon Brooks and Ivan Rabb may wrap up being 2nd circular draft successes, and undrafted rookie Kobi Simmons could be a revelation as well. If those folks invalidate this entire piece, I would be very Alright with that. But since it stands now, we have to all in all probability be a bit more critical of the job the front office did over the past decade than we give it credit for.