Nikola Velickovic  |  Thu 16th May   | NBA

Apart from the New Orleans Pelicans, the biggest winners during yesterday’s lottery were the Memphis Grizzlies.

The franchise from Tennessee will get to pick second and has a nice opportunity to boost their rebuilding process and shorten the time of waiting for some significant result to come up.

The Grizzlies started with the reconstruction this summer, then sent Marc Gasol to Toronto, and broke their long-lasting duo with Gasol-Conley, leaving the experienced, and expensive guard in Memphis.

Memphis Interested in Morant

It seems that Conley is about to get a competition for the spot of the point guard. According to all the latest news from various insiders from the league, the board will pick the 19-year sensation Ja Morant at the upcoming draft.

This might come as a surprise for all those who follow the NBA daily, because Morant isn’t the type of a playmaker who would suit their style of play. Energetic, fast, with very explosive motions, Morant is totally the opposite to Conley who is the old school type of a leader who likes to do things slowly and play tough defense on the other side of the court.

Is this an indication that Memphis might change their philosophy of play, and adopt more offensive-minded and quicker basketball, we’ll see in the future.

About Morant. He played for Murray State, led them to the NCAA tournament, where he posted unreal performances. For example, in the win against Marquette, the youngster posted a triple-double, becoming one of only 8 players to do so at the NCAA Tournament. Although he scored just 17 points, Morant added 16 assists and had 11 boards.

Throughout the season he averaged 24.5 points and had 10 assists per game, managing to become the only player who posted 20 and 10 per night since NCAA started counting assists back in 1984.

So, his background is more than good to change the Grizzlies towards better.

New Grizzlies

What might be the ultimate goal of the franchise is to pair up him and last year’s No.4 in the draft, Jaren Jackson Jr. who proved to be an incredible talent and started contributing right after the start of the previous season.

Along with Jackson, who is also long and athletic type of guy, Morant could make the Grizzlies look more of an Oklahoma City Thunder. Of course, with a better defense under the rim, as they have Jonas Valanciunas and Joakim Noah.

Morant’s ability to play one-on-one is something this team desperately needs. To force the defenders to protect the paint more, and to leave some open shots for other teammates. Also, one very important thing is missing to all the experts.

Morant is healthy, and that is a luxury in Memphis. Just look how many missed games Conley, Parsons, and other players had. Plus the two above mentioned are very expensive.

Conley is probably the biggest mistake one team could have done in the past when talking about max contracts. Parsons’ deal expires after the next season, and $25 million he has will no doubt be invested in something much smarter. And that plus Jackson and Morant, with a few sidekicks, could mean that the Grizzlies are once again a respectable force in the NBA.

Nikola Velickovic