Grizzlies “Locked In” On Selecting Ja Morant

In more draft news coming out of Chicago this evening, Jonathan Givony of ESPN is reporting that the Grizzlies have zeroed in on Murray State point guard Ja Morant as their pick for the No. 2 overall selection in this summer’s 2019 NBA Draft.

Memphis, still looking for a new head coach after the ousting of J.B. Bickerstaff, will look to count on Morant to join last year’s lottery selection Jaren Jackson Jr. in leading a rebuild that began with the trade of franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol earlier this year and could see Gasol’s longtime running mate Mike Conley be traded soon as well.

Last night’s runner-up finish in the lottery was a serendipitous turn of events for Memphis, who only had a 12.3% chance of landing a top-2 pick. For months now, it was rumored that the Grizzlies would have preferred to lose their pick (top-8 protected) to the Celtics, but that was under the assumption that the pick didn’t land at the top of the draft.

However, because the Grizzlies kept their 2019 pick, the Celtics now own Memphis’ 2020 first-round pick if it falls out of the top six. In other words, it may pay for Grind City to be at the bottom of league standings again next season, making it all the more likely that Conley is traded sooner rather than later.

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26 thoughts on “Grizzlies “Locked In” On Selecting Ja Morant

    • stretch123

      That wouldn’t be enough for #2. Think it would be more like Frank Nitiklina, the #3 and a future first for #2. Much better chance Morant becomes a star than RJ Barrett. Regardless the Grizzlies would be dumb to pass on Morant.

      • Not really. There’s no set value like in the NFL. It’s an issue of tiers. Same tier trades don’t carry the premium that jumping tiers do, and jumping one spot within the same tier is different than all others (because there’s no chance the top team can trade down and still get the next guy), sometimes for almost nothing. Vince Carter and Jamison were essentially swapped for nothing.

        You’re the first person I’ve heard suggest that Morant is in a higher tier than Barrett. Most think it’s 1, then 2-3, then 4-on for awhile with different views. Moving into 2-3 from 4-on would require what you say or more. Moving into 1, even from 2, is likely impossible.

        • aamatho18

          Morant and RJ may be in the same “tier”, but Morant is already more valuable as an explosive point guard and distributor. His skill set comes less often than RJ’s.

          • SuperSinker

            Ya Morant looks to be the better player between the two. RJ could pretty easily become Rodney Hood

          • aamatho18 really???
            PG’s are a dozen a dime in the league… I’d rather someone with more special skills like RJ!

          • x%sure

            Not the same tier. Readers of HR have read reports of teams hoping they get Morant. Nobody hopes they get Barrett instead. The Knicks were talking about Reddish.

        • x%sure

          They’re not in the same tier. Nobody was talking about hoping to get Barrett instead of Zion. Espn would put Zion on one side of their grahic and JA on the other.

          Barrett is more of a get-it-and-go player than a fully aware player. Morant can potentially be a player who can move the pieces around.

      • Not sure if agree with Morant being a better NBA player than Jarrett after all is said and done. Talented, but small school, second year, and doesn’t have a solid jump shot to be a great right now at the top level.

  1. Z-A

    A team that trades for Conley would have to think he is key to them moving forward in the playoffs or bring them into relevancy. Magic could dump Mozgov, Fultz, #16 and another protected 1st and then resign Vucevic. Suns could benefit from a veteran PG and use Johnson, Jackson, and a future 1st (doubt they give this years). I don’t think the Lakers make a move for him unless they get desperate after FA begins. Jazz obviously. Bulls maybe if they think that core is ready to take the next step, they dump Dunn, Felicio, attach pick(s) bc Felicio is terrible.. Probably works if they are below the cap.

  2. bowserhound

    Unless Zion doesn’t want to go to the Pels and goes back to Duke, Ja is #2 by a landslide.

  3. Zion always said he would be happy been picked by any team… don’t know why y’all keep saying he won’t go to the Pels? Has he actually come out & said so? Or is just the reporters creating drama?

  4. L Lawliet

    Seem like everybody so sure Zion number 1. Completely ignoring the fact that a morant/holiday backcourt would be deadly soon as next year!!

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