Picking at the back end of the NBA draft last night, the Grizzlies deployed a strategy that's worked well with a couple of recent picks — take the highly rated prospect that unexpectedly slides.
It worked with Sam Young (an early second-rounder projected to go about 10 picks higher) and especially with Darrell Arthur (a late first-rounder projected to go in the late lottery), and now the Grizzlies hope it will work with young combo guard Josh Selby, whom they drafted at #49 last night.
A former top high school prospect who played one rough year at the University of Kansas, Selby — ranked 32nd on ESPN.com's Chad Ford's big board — was projected to go as high as #17 to the Knicks in this draft, but slipped further than anyone expected due to both questions about his maturity and college production and, apparently, some health concerns.
"I think most people feel like if he'd stayed in college for another year he would have been a certain first-rounder, with upside," Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said this morning. "But he didn't have the kind of year at Kansas that people expected."
But Selby is only one year removed from being ranked the top player in his high school class by at least one prominent source, ahead of #1 pick Kyrie Irving and #3 pick Enes Kanter.
The NBA Draft is tonight. Long considered a national holiday at the Beyond the Arc headquarters, the event arrives this year with less anticipation than in any year in my NBA-watching lifetime — a result of a weak draft class and the Grizzlies having only the #49 pick.
So instead of the usual weeks worth of draft-related stuff, I'm instead emerging from my post-playoffs hiatus for some quick thoughts ahead of tonight:
The Latest Rudy Rumor
The New York Post's Peter Vecsey wrote early in the week that the Grizzlies and Warriors are discussing a Rudy Gay-Monta Ellis deal, with the Grizzlies "offering Rudy Gay."
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace shot this down rather quickly, going on a local radio program to say that the team had not offered Gay to the Warriors. Wallace repeated the same assertion to me later that morning, and I certainly believe him. But it's a narrow denial.
Putting the pieces together, I'm pretty sure that the two teams have had discussions — which, in and of itself, isn't that newsworthy; this is what GMs are supposed to do — and also pretty sure that Vecsey's take on the situation came from a Golden State perspective.