The focus of Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery was on the New Orleans Pelicans winning the right to take Zion Williamson, who will become the heir apparent to Anthony Davis as the former No. 1 overall pick departs soon.
New Orleans’ leap into the top pick was stunning, but they weren’t alone in making a surprise jump up the board. The Lakers snagged the fourth pick, with many wondering if they would somehow stumble into Williamson themselves when they were first revealed to have climbed the board, and the Grizzlies quietly snagged the second overall pick.
While Zion has, understandably, been the story of the NBA Draft process, the Grizzlies suddenly find themselves in position to add Ja Morant and begin a surprisingly smooth transition to the future. Given how stubborn Memphis was in rejecting the idea of a prolonged rebuild, it’s rather unbelievable how well set up they seem to be for the future.
The Grizzlies held on to the Grit ‘n Grind era for longer than most objective observers felt they should have, and that likely cost them in terms of getting the most value out of Marc Gasol, who is now starring for the Raptors this postseason. Mike Conley is the last remnant of the most successful period in franchise history, and all indications are he’ll be on his way out in a trade relatively soon, with Utah, Indiana, and others as potential landing spots for the long underrated point guard.