Grizzlies Pick: Why Celtics should consider moving Memphis asset

Nick Friar
January 07, 2020 - 10:35 am
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(NOTE: In addition to their own first-round slot in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Celtics have Memphis and Milwaukee’s 2020 first-round picks. However, the Grizzlies’ pick is top-6 protected. The Bucks’ is top-7 protected. If either pick is not conveyed, it will be unprotected in 2021.)

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For a while now, it’s looked like the pick from Memphis would convey to the Celtics for the 2020 NBA Draft. But last week was the first time it really seemed like Boston would get saddled with a non-Lottery selection.

Of course, it would be ideal for the Celtics if the pick didn’t convey this year and the Grizzlies somehow handed over a valuable unprotected pick for the 2021 NBA Draft. That doesn’t seem likely anymore, either — even if Memphis somehow landed a top-6 pick in this year’s draft.

Reason No. 1: Ja Morant is a stud. And he’s a winner, unlike some of the other stat-sheet stuffers in the league who play on underachieving teams.

Second, Jaren Jackson Jr. has improved in his sophomore season — after a good rookie season.

Third, Dillon Brooks has bounced back strong from his 2018-19 injury.

There’s more to Memphis, but the point has been made. The Grizzlies a legit young team on the rise. They’re inches away from being a 2019-20 playoff team. Both Memphis and Portland are 15-22, while San Antonio is slotted at No. 8 in the Western Conference with a 15-20 record.

Plus, the Grizzlies just knocked off the Clippers. Now, Los Angeles was without Paul George and Patrick Beverly, but beating Kawhi Leonard, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams — and dropping 140 in the process — is a major achievement for this young group.

When it’s time to check in on Memphis’ status next week, they could very easily have moved into that last playoff spot in the West. After a matchup in Minnesota (14-21) on Tuesday, they host the Spurs on Friday, following by a visit from the Warriors (9-28) on Sunday.

If the Celtics are going to make a move — and multiple reports indicate they’ve been reaching out to teams — it’s time to consider using the Memphis pick as a bargaining chip. It could be helpful for a team set to rebuild. Whereas, for the Celtics, it’s starting to lose value by the day.

The Memphis pick would still be Boston’s highest of the 2020 draft. But do the Celtics need to add three more rookies to next year’s team, especially if none of them are taken early? No, they certainly do not.

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