The Grizzlies are sorta boned. They play in the West (strike one), they're aging and cap unfriendly (strike two), and their owner has decided this is the offseason for him to go crazy (strike three, boned). But with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. still very good, Zach Randolph still alive and getting a mousepad's vert on his "jump"er, and a willing defensive system in place, they're going to be lingering around that 6-seed in the West, so we may as well go for it in this mock draft exercise.
My goal with this pick can be described thusly: Tayshaun Prince started at the 3 last season. GOAL: Draft Someone So That Never Happens Again Ever.
Welcome to Memphis, T.J. Warren. I trust your 745 mile drive from Raleigh went smoothly.
Warren is one of the more interesting prospects in this part of the draft. He was as proficient as anybody at scoring at the college level -- 25ppg at NC State -- but he's got a funky shot, doesn't have much of an outside touch. Get him in that midrange though, and he's real hard to defend. Finishes at the rim at a stellar rate as well, 69% leads the class. Had almost no help at NC State, finding a true role for him as a non-star player will take some maneuvering at the next level.
Memphis desperately needs scoring, and Warren's strengths -- not being Tayshaun Prince the biggest one -- play to that. He's less inclined on the defensive end, but there's enough help on that side of things that he won't be a huge liability. He can also play some small ball 4 when Z-Bo needs a break, having originally projected as one before losing a whole bunch of weight before his sophomore season.
Warren essentially serves as the reverse Quincy Pondexter, which is as satisfying a sexual position as you'll find, along with creating matchup problems for opponents. He's a win-now player, ready to help make the Grizz less offensively boring as soon as next season.
T.J. Warren brings a much needed element to the Grizzlies, scoring. His superb mid-range game should be exciting to watch in the fold of the Grizzlies dominant post presence on offense. Mike Conley and Nick Calathes should love playing with Warren as he is an excellent finisher at the rim who doesn't need the ball in his hands to rack up points. Although Memphis would liked to have added some immediate perimeter shooting to their roster, Warren's offensive skills suggest that he can possibly develop his 3pt shooting at the NBA level with the right coaching.. Some worry about his defensive prowess, but being inserted into a culture like the Grizzlies' should shore up some of his intensity on that end of the court.
So, cool. Good job me. We're on the last quarter of this thing as the draft inches ever closer, with Sohil picking for Utah tomorrow.