With their recent success largely built via the NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies made moves to keep on building during the 2022 version of the draft held Thursday evening.
Armed with picks No. 22 and No. 29 in the first round, the Grizzlies traded up to the No. 19 slot, snaring Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia, a versatile 6-8 forward. Not many professional observers saw the move coming. LaRavia will get a chance to secure playing minutes with the likely departure of veteran Kyle Anderson.
Memphis wasn’t done dealing in the first round. Fan-favorite De’Anthony Melton was traded to the Philadelphia 76’ers for the No. 23 selection, which the Grizzlies promptly used to draft Colorado State’s David Roddy, a 6-foot, 6-inch forward weighing 255 pounds.
That deal also brought Memphis the rights to veteran guard Danny Green, whose contract is not guaranteed until July 1. The Grizzlies could let the contract expire, allowing Green to become a free agent. NBA rules prohibit the team from speaking about the trades until July.
Still another draft-night move resulted in Memphis securing former Briarcrest High School standout Kennedy Chandler, who starred at guard for the University of Tennessee. Chandler slipped out of the first round and was selected No. 38 by the San Antonio Spurs before a trade to the Grizzlies.
Memphis used its final pick, No. 47, to select Vince Williams Jr., a 6’6” forward from Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Grizzlies announced that several players will be playing in this year’s summer league with the new draftees. Xavier Tillman volunteered to play. Santi Aldama and Ziaire Williams also will play with the new additions.
Memphis likely ended the night with the same number of players on the roster as the team did before the wheeling and dealing. Veterans Anderson, Tyus Jones, Ives Pons and Jarrett Culver are not expected to be on the roster for the upcoming season
Although the draft is done, history and habit suggest Grizz Nation should stay alert because Memphis has tended to hold its cards close to the. Neither more moves nor no moves would be a shock.
The Grizzlies will play in both the Salt Lake and the Las Vegas summer leagues, with the Salt Lake run set for July 5-8 and the Las Vegas competition running from July 7 through July 18.
- The Grizzlies should have no problem signing the three players they drafted.
- LaRavia emerged as one of the more productive, all-around forwards in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The 20-year-old averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1 block over 34.2 minutes per game. He earned All-ACC second-team honors.
- Chandler, an explosive player who can score, will not be the typical second-rounder. He will have the opportunity to make the roster or be on the G-League team as a possible two-way contract.
- Williams averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds with VCU last season. He will complete for either a G-league roster spot or a two-way contract.