MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - The Memphis Grizzlies had one shot in this year’s NBA draft _ a late second-round one at that _ and decided to take a chance on potential talent.
The selection of 6-foot-3 guard Josh Selby with the 49th overall pick was based on his high school past rather than his anemic freshman year at Kansas.
It was a roll of the dice for Memphis, which had only one pick in the draft. Memphis’ first-round pick _ the 20th overall _ was traded to the Utah Jazz in 2010 for Ronnie Brewer, leaving Memphis with only a second-round slot in a draft considered by some to be weaker than previous years.
Utah eventually sent the pick to Minnesota.
Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said they knew they weren’t going to fill their exact needs in the draft with a late second-round pick, and immediately acknowledged Selby’s impact is a mystery.
“Who knows?” Wallace said when asked how he fits with a team that had its best postseason run in franchise history. “It’s a free shot. Josh Selby is a player who did not perform real well for Kansas last year. … We’re taking him off his high school pedigree.”
Selby, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound scorer was a touted recruit out of high school when he averaged 32 points and seven assists for Lake Clifton High in Baltimore in 2009-10. But he fell in the draft with the poor freshman season at Kansas, where he was suspended for the first nine games by the NCAA for accepting impermissible benefits in high school.
In addition to the suspension, Selby was hampered in the latter part of the season with a stress fracture to his foot. He finished his only season at Kansas averaging 7.9 and 2.2 assists.
“I won’t say he was bad. I’ll just say he wasn’t impressive, how’s that?” Wallace said.
The draft night atmosphere was completely different for the Grizzlies. For several years, Memphis was one of the woeful teams in the league, leaving them with a seat on the stage for the league’s lottery show.
But the Grizzlies enjoyed their best season in franchise history. Seeded eighth in the Western Conference, Memphis not only won its first playoff game in team history, they also dispatched the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Memphis eventually was eliminated in the second round by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deciding seventh game.
That put Memphis a long way from its normal slot among the first teams selecting in the draft. Having a late second-round pick, the team didn’t even hold a draft watch party for its fans.
The Grizzlies needs appear to be finding a 3-point shooter or a backup frontline player to spell the team’s formidable tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
While Selby provides a scoring mentality, he is more of a hard-driving guard with a decent outside shot. Grizzlies officials weren’t sure they could fill the shooter’s role from the draft ranks. They think they might have a better chance of finding that player in a trade or free agent market.
“He’s a decent outside shooter,” Wallace said, “but we felt all along we didn’t have to get a shooter with the 49th pick. The odds of a shooter at 49 coming in and making a big difference in your team is a rookie, is a long-long shot. Most of these so-called shooting specialists that are successful in the NBA are more veteran players.”View Entire Story
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