This draft-day live notebook will be updated throughout the day and night. See here for Clay Bailey's AP news story on the Grizzlies picking Morant.
Last words: (10:12 p.m.): You can read the news story from the night here, which will be updated if and when the Grizzlies front office calls it a night and talks. I'll regroup for some next-day thoughts and analysis tomorrow. The captain of the NBA:
Memphis will be one of the most fun young teams in the NBA next season with those two running the break and catching lobs from Morant. – Jonathan Raven (The Ringer)
Athletic, between that trio, the Grizzlies are going to be Lob City, Grit-and-Grind edition, with Morant tossing just ridiculous touch passes that those two easy finish. ̵
The Grizzlies are building what appears to be one of the most athletic teams in the NBA and at the very least will be a NBA League Pass favorite for the hards. – Jonathan Givony (ESPN)
Jaren's squad (9:13 pm): Years Jackson publicly greeting another new teammate:
???????? lets get to work Brodie @ brandonclarke23 ???
– Years Jackson Jr. (@jarenjacksonjr) June 21, 2019
Some more Clarke reactions (9:02 pm):
Grizzlies peeps: get your popcorn and your tickets now . 
So @JonathanTjarks said on our show Pro hoops in the 901 is going to be fierce, real soon
– David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) June 21, 2019
In their final years of college before the draft, Years Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke combined to block 9 shots per 40 minutes
– Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) June 21, 2019
Instant reaction on Clarke (8:58 pm) : I'm not as sold on Clarke as some. At 6-8 with a limited wingspan he's a little undersized for an interior player. But he's an electric athlete who was extremely productive at Gonzaga and whose energy and ability to finish in transition should fit well with Morant and Jackson in the near and long term. I wouldn't assume too much re: Valanciunas.
One note on Clarke: Due to his acquisition of the Conley trade, which will not be completed until July 6, Clarke will not be part of the Grizzlies post- draft news conference on Friday.
Grizzlies move up to No. 21, select Brandon Clarke (8:49): The Grizzlies traded up from No. 23 to No. 21 to select Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, by Shams Charania. The Grizzlies are sending a 2024 second-round pick to Oklahoma City to complete the deal, a source tells The Daily Memphian
Chuma Okeke off the board, four picks away from Grizzlies pick (8:33 pm): Chuma Okeke, the Auburn forward who was endorsed in this space for the Grizzlies pick at. 23 went to the Orlando Magic at # 16. It's four picks away from Grizzlies' second pick and the droppers are Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke and North Carolina's Nassir Little. Buckle up
Yes Morant out for Summer League (8:10 pm): Morant said on a media conference call that he will not play in Summer League. More from Morant's media session to follow.
Cam Johnson at No. 11? (7:48 p.m.): We're a dozen picks away from the Grizzlies pick (via Utah) at no. 23 and we've got our first theoretical candidate for that pick off the board. Phoenix (via Minnesota) takes North Carolina shooter Cam Johnson at No. 11, a player no one was going until the late teens.
Reaction time: The Athletic (7:43 pm): This is from Sam Vecenie:
"His personality is not out of tune with the grit-and-grind mentality of the city if he is really hard worker, but he'll bring the child of the flash to the backcourt that the team offensively lacked at times during its previous era. "
– Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) June 21, 2019
Reaction time : ESPN (7:15 pm): From Jonathan Givony:
"Memphis ushers in a new era by handing the keys of the franchise to Yes Morant, who will have every opportunity to learn the ropes on the job alongside One of the top rookies in the NBA last year in Jackson. Morant's speed, playmaking ability and flair for the spectacular will help transform the Grizzlies into one of the most ent in order to watch the NBA on a nightly basis, even if it will likely take time to translate to the win column. "
Changing of the guard (s) (7:13 pm): If Mike Conley jerseys outnumber Yes Morant jerseys at more than three-to-one at the Grizzlies' Thursday night FedExForum
The longest-tenured Grizzly and franchise-leading scorer, Conley's departure from the Grizzlies, from the January announcement that he was on the trading block to his eventual June trade to Utah, was a long goodbye. But why not watch it?
But make a mistake, this is a change of the guard for the Grizzlies – metaphorical and literal.
A week after Conley and longtime Grizzlies pick-and-roll partner Marc Gasol were Facetiming at the end of the NBA Finals, Morant and future Grizzlies pick-and-roll Years Jackson Jr. were making the scene at the NBA Draft in Brooklyn. The early-to-dynamic duo exchanged pounds and hugs on the pre-broadcast red carpet, and Jackson was the first person to greet Morant after his post-selection interview.
When they get back to Memphis, the Grizzlies will be theirs.
"The feels good to be able to accomplish my dreams," Morant said after his selection as the fifth no. 2 selection in Grizzlies franchise history. “How I got here was crazy. I'm just very excited. ”
His pocket square was a picture of himself. Beneath his collar was stitched a message from his mother: "Beneath No-One." Pretty fitting for a kid who had just completed a two-year journey from scrawny, unranked high school prospect to explosive consensus No. 2 prospect (and No. 2 pick) in the NBA Draft.
BREAKING NEWS (6:52 pm): The Grizzlies selected Yes Morant with the second overall pick. Very unexpected. Let the record show it happened at 6:46 pm, Memphis time
Morant's first words after donning a Grizzlies cap: "It feels good to be able to accomplish my dreams. How I got here was crazy. very excited. "
After he was done with his post-selection television interview, Morant's first pound-and-hug was from new teammate Years Jackson Jr.
A Yes Morning Moment (6:33 pm) :
– NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 20, 2019
Grizzlies Q Ratings? A flux (6:23 pm): A quick gaze across the room at the Grizzlies draft party yields these jersey rankings:
- Mike Conley – 6
- Years Jackson Jr. – 2
- Yes Morant – 2 (one Murray State, one Grizzlies)
- Dillon Brooks – 1
- Zach Randolph – 1
- Marc Gasol – 1
- Shareef Abdur-Rahim – 1
- Lorenzen Wright – 1
- Jon Leuer (!) – 1
Speaking of Brooks, he joined the show and said that he was fully healed from his season-ending surgery and would be ready for full contact next week. 19659006] It takes two? More like Grizz take no. 2 (6:18 pm): Rob Base performing (or at least "performing") his eternal classic to the Grizzlies draft party at FedExForum:
Rob Base opening for Ja Morant, sort of. pic.twitter.com/hYcvx2hXa1
– Chris Herrington (@HerringtonNBA) June 20, 2019
Stars, they're just like us (5: 45 pm): As near as I can tell, four Top 11 picks got moved while I was in transit from office to home to FedExForum. My reaction was the same as Yes's:
Yes Morant just turned to Kevin Porter Jr.'s table – "You see all these trades, bro?"
– Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 20, 2019
A Yes Morning moment (4:35 pm): The Grizzlies already knew they were getting into an exciting young point guard. Did they know they were getting an innovator in the NBA Draft fashion story? Top this, Zion:
Pocket square choice for Yes Morant: Himself! pic.twitter.com/UhktVYj937
– Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 20, 2019
With that, the live notebook will hit and pause back up from FedExForum in about in hour. In other words:
Will it be over before it starts? (4:27 pm): Draft spoiler creep is worse than Christmas creep. The NBA Draft is two hours away, but we can get to pick no. 23 before the broadcast ever starts:
Top three picks in 2019 NBA draft are set, per sources:
1. Zion Williamson, Pelicans
2. Yes Morant, Grizzlies
3. RJ Barrett, Knicks
Pelicans hold cards at no. 4.
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2019
Mini-Mailbag: Trade exceptions (4:24 pm): I've gotten several questions today similar to this, in the wake of the Grizzlies creating a huge trade exception in the Conley deal.
Can the trade exception be used multiple times over the next year adding up to no more than the +/- $ 29
– scott mccullough (@ bking53) June 20, 2019
As I understand it: Yes. Like with a gift card, you can use a portion of a trade exception and still use what's left until it expires. Some trade exception basics:
- Can be used for one year after created.
- Cannot be used to take in free agents, only to trade for players on existing contracts (sign and trades are possible). They can be broken up over multiple deals. (For example, the Grizzlies could use a portion of this $ 25 million trade exception and still have access to what's left.
- Trade exceptions themselves can't be traded.
- Trade exceptions can't be combined with other exceptions with with players
Let's hope the tag off (2:44 pm): From the sartorial scoop department:
The hat Yes Morant will wear tonight. one. One like it. pic.twitter.com/8NOGdtWrj2
– Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) June 20, 2019
Afternoon Mocks (2:35 pm) : Since we rounded up six of the higher profile mock drafts this morning, three of them have updated and changed their picks at No. 23:
That makes six different picks from six different mocks.
Mini-Mailbag: Chandler Parsons' future (2:23 pm): A reader question relevant to the roster cru nch:
Parsons are buyout candidate at this point? What is the value in keeping him with the roster crunch? Great article BTW
– Jeff Kaminsky (@jeffkaminsky) June 19, 2019 I've thought – and have said – that Parsons would most likely be gone before the Grizzlies open training camp in the fall. At this point, I was very surprised if the Grizzlies didn't find a way to move along by then.
1. For a team turning the page toward a true rebuild and concerned about building culture, having Parsons on the roster and being worried about whether he's playing or not and if he's not or not probably isn't the distraction.
2. The aforementioned roster crunch means carrying Parsons into the season could mean parting with a player who might be more valuable.
3. If the only rationale for keeping Parsons would be potentially use his $ 24 million expiring contract as a trade chip before the deadline, that seems less pertinent now. The Grizzlies have a roughly $ 25 million trade exception from the Conley deal and now have multiple mid-level expiring contracts (Crowder, Miles, maybe Korver) that can be traded separately or combinations.
Would the Grizzlies trade Parsons this summer? If a deal worth doing were there, sure. More likely to be hearing buyout talk later this summer.
Will the Grizzlies leave tonight with more than two players? (1:59 pm): Five hours before the NBA Draft, the Grizzlies are currently slated to have two picks – at No. 2 and no. 23. But multiple national reports suggest No. 23 could be in play. In addition, the trade exception the Grizzlies acquired in the Conley deal could be used to take back salary and build assets. Woj bomb from a possible path:
Boston has offered center Aron Baynes – $ 5.4M expiring contract – into salary cap space elsewhere, league sources tell ESPN. Without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford on the books, moving Baynes without taking back the salary could get the Celtics to $ 23M in space.
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
The Celtics have picks at 14, 20 and 22 in this draft. Would I like Baynes, who is actually pretty good? Absolutely.
Plus, it would really be a Grizzlies draft if they didn't spin a future second-rounder and / or some cash for a second-rounder this year who they can't believe is still on the board ? (Or maybe that was a Chris Wallace thing.)
Here's one complication: Once the season opens, there are only 15 roster spots. Mike Conley's four players for next season (Crowder, Korver, Allen, No. 23), the room is pretty crowded.
2 and 23, then the Grizzlies currently have 14 players under contract for next season: Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, Jevon Carter, Grayson Allen, Avery Bradley, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, CJ Miles, Bruno Caboclo, Chandler Parsons, Ivan Rabb, no. 2, no. 23.
Additionally, they have five incumbent free agents: Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, Tyler Dorsey, Justin Holiday, Joakim Noah.
It won't be that hard to get to 15 from there – we ' ll deal with one particular player in this regard in the next post – but if the Grizzlies start adding more players tonight, it could get tricky. And that's not factoring in the prospect of dipping into free agency next month.
Who ya got? (1:39 pm): The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks had some interesting Twitter poll today:
Which PG + big man combo would you rather have
– Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks) June 20, 2019
I had Jonathan on our Grizzlies Podcast last week and he mentioned – after we recorded, I think – that he was planning on putting up this poll.
I'm a little surprised the responses have tilted so far in the Grizzlies' direction. I think most NBA fans consider Young and Jackson emerging stars. I think the rationale here is that it is most likely to be a star and collins something less than that. This might be right. But Collins averaged close to a 20-10 last season on 56-35-76 shooting splits. He's also 21 years old. He's really good
When Jonathan asked me about this, I said that I'd like to go with Yes / Years but that until Morant proves something at the NBA level you almost have to say Slow / John. This was apparently an unpopular opinion. Here's hoping the people are right.
What I didn't say, but will now: This could have been a three-way poll. How about De Fox and Marvin Bagley III in Sacramento? Or, now, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson in New Orleans? (Right, Zion would skew the vote no matter the sidekick.)
The point though, and one I'll explore more than we get closer to the season: An era dominated by wings and versatile forwards, the most interesting young cores in the league are trending in the more traditional big / little direction.
Moves Like Marc? (11:45 a.m.): It's hard to turn down a Rob Base performance, which is the featured attraction at the Grizzlies' FedExForum watch party tonight. But the homie Kevin Cerrito has added a sure-shot bit to his draft watch party at Rec Room tonight:
– Kevin Cerrito (@cerrito) June 20, 2019
What was going through Marc's mind? Apparently this. It all makes sense now.
This is what looked like in my mind … thank you Toronto for making me feel like a rockstar for a day! pic.twitter.com/PGMJcbW7dO
– Marc Gasol (@MarcGasol) June 20, 2019
An unbeatable double endorsement (11:37 am): OK, so Chris Vernon and I both have some draft misses in our back pages. He thought Acie Law had more than Mike Conley. I pre-endorsed the Wade Baldwin pick.
But when we agree? We are never wrong. We campaigned for Kevin Love and against Hasheem Thabeet. We both touted Greivis Vasquez and Draymond Green in drafts.
That's good news for Virginia's Ty Jerome and Auburn's Chuma Okeke who makes Vernon's list of "prospects who won't Fail and were in my "guys I like" notes yesterday. (We also agree on Kentucky's PJ Washington, who seems to be extremely available at No. 23.)
What I wrote yesterday, Jerome is a heady 6-foot-5 combo guard who can pass (5.5 assists) and shoot (40% from three). I see him as a cross between former Grizzlies favorite Vasquez and last year's late-first-round steal Landry Shamet. A classic third guard who can play in different lineups, make winning plays and be a part of the next good Grizzlies team.
Okeke is a 3-and-D forward who is likely to be under-drafted after injuring his knee in the NCAA tournament. He could be this year’s version of Toronto's O.G. Anunoby or another forms Grizzly fave, Darrell Arthur, players who slipped into the draft due to injury / health concerns, but became high-level rotation players. Okeke may not be great to impact next season, but this is not about next season.
23 who is intrigued by, but a little less so: Tyler Herro, Cameron Johnson, Dylan Windler. Shooters, Shooters, Shooters
Are the Grizzlies prepared for this? (11:18 a.m.): If the Grizzlies end up selecting (technically having Utah select for them) a player at No. 23 and keeping him, it will almost certainly be someone the Grizzlies didn't bring into Memphis for a workout since they almost exclusively brought in undrafted candidates. (These fields like G League workouts, and were presided over by the team's G League head coach Brad Jones.)
Perhaps they'll draft someone they watch closely at the Chicago draft combine or saw again at one of the many agency pro days afterward. Maybe it's someone they've talked to, but my understanding is the only player interviewed by Chicago were with Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett.
This is also a new front office structure, whose top layer – Zach Kleiman , Tayshaun Prince, Rich Cho – was presumably not focused on college scouting last season.
Then again, the Grizzlies retained their player personnel / scouting director, Chris Makris who, along with his staff, has been focused on this all season. We don´t know – and can not know – how the internal deliberations will go, but it seems like this will be a time for Makris and the scouts to considerable influence. Do they need some unsolicited advice? That's next.
A Yes Morning moment (11:07 a.m.): Back from my morning talk-radio constitutional. Let's get back to the mix with a little bit of Yes:
– NBA (@NBA) June 20, 2019
Of local interest (9:24 am): There's now Memphis Tiger in this year's draft, but maybe there's almost Memphis Tiger? You've seen Rayjon Tucker show up on any mocks, but it's something to watch for tonight. Even if it is undone, it is likely to be on someone's Summer League team, trying to invite a training camp.
One name to keep in mind for Thursday: Rayjon Tucker. The 6-5 CG transfer from Arkansas-Little Rock (20.5 ppg) committed to Memphis, but stayed in the draft. Ridiculous athletic ability. Multiple teams have their radar deep in the 2nd round or as undrafted FA.
– David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) June 19, 2019
Morning Mocks (9:10 am): A quick look around the most prominent NBA mock drafts to see what people are projecting (predicting, throwing darts) to happen with the Grizzlies pick at no. 23. Best bet: Somebody named Johnson?
Robert Pera and Yes Morant are Our Gang (8:53 am):
Beyond basketball and Memphis, here's one more thing Grizzlies controlling owner Robert Pera and presumed top pick Yes Morant have in common: Spanky gifs!
– Yes Morant (@ igotgame_12) June 20, 2019
– Robert Pera (@RobertPera) July 2, 2016
For the culturally deprived, that's George "Spanky" McFarland, the charismatic leader of the Our Gang comedies of the 1930s and 1940s, aka the Little Rascals. The Pera tweet? A reference to the dual Summer of '16 contracts of Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons. The "throwing money out of the window" metaphor was a little too-the-nose for one of those.
Let's get it started (8:33 am): Since yesterday's draft preview got a little breaking news breaking news, let me repeat myself a little:
Today is the NBA Draft!
On this magical night, hope is alive across the Association . Large young men in suits will stride upon the stage, and will be greeted with sunny assumptions from fans across the country (and Canada!) That their best basketball selves are guaranteed. Everybody wants to break new sartorial ground (Drew Gooden, "That suit has no buttons," 2002). Some may come bound unexpectedly from the stands, family exhortation at their backs (Greivis Vasquez, 2010). Some may show their dexterity and creativity with elaborate displays of dap (Years Jackson Jr., 2018). Mothers and fathers and siblings and significant others will be spotlighted in the spotlight, and not all will be ready
If you do not want to watch from home, you've got options. The Grizzlies will be hosting a FedExForum draft party with their entire broadcast crew and a cameo from 1980s hip-hop great Rob Base ("It Takes Two," natch). At Rec Room, my buddies Kevin Cerrito, Anthony Sain and Cam Rose will host a Cerrito Live Trivia Podcast collaboration. At The Bluff on Highland, my radio pals at 92.9 ESPN will join Holly Whitfield or "I Love Memphis" and the Grizzly Bear Blues fan blog for a watch party. The broadcast is at 6:30 pm on ESPN
For the Grizzlies, what was already a big night has now become a more intriguing one. Barring a major surprise, the Grizzlies will select Ja Morant at nr. 2. Before yesterday, that was the team's only pick. Now, as a result of Wednesday's Mike Conley trade, the Grizzlies will have a pick at No. 23 to hold everyone's attention later into the night.
I'll be updating this space throughout the day and night with news, notes, links, observations and some random related nonsense. Going forward, I'll be putting new items at the top, but let's start with a couple of initial items.
Mike Conley trade reactions: In case you missed it, yesterday yesterday's Conley trade from a Grizzlies perspective here. Geoff Calkins says goodbye to Conley by remembering perhaps his greatest moment. I really said my own goodbye – to Conley and an entire era of Grizzlies basketball – back to the trade deadline.
Some other reactions:
Friend of the notebook Matt Hrdlicka comes in hot, proclaiming the Jazz (for now) the favorites to come out of the West and this the best trade in Grizzlies history.
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor also sees the trade as vaulting Utah in serious Western Conference contention while providing a good rebuilding haul for the Grizzlies. ESPN’s Zach Lowe makes it a trick, proclaiming the Jazz Finals contenders after the Conley addition while noting the Grizzlies did well in return. Lowe has some interesting notes about other teams in the Conley mix, implying that the Pistons were offering point guard Reggie Jackson and first-round pick, but wouldn't include a second pick. He writes that the Grizzlies wanted two picks and last year's first rounder, Aaron Holiday, from the Pacers, which they were unwilling to completely sacrifice. "Last year's pick, this year's pick and future pick" is basically what the Grizzlies got from the Jazz, but Indiana's 2019 pick (No. 18) is better and Holiday had a much better rookie season than Grayson Allen.
ESPN's Kevin Pelton (in an insider pierce) likes the trade for Utah but loves it for the Grizzlies, with an "A" grade.
The Athletic's Danny Leroux makes a good point easily overlooked (including by late): Getting positive value for Conley three years into a five-year max that was once the richest contract in NBA history, not guaranteed and probably not expected early in the deal, and even less so after Conley had a season-ending heel surgery. Conley's major bounce-back season couldn't push the grizzlies back into the playoffs, but it rehabbed his trade value.
One other notable reaction:
Mikeeee ?? ur one of the best to do this big bro! Glad I was able to learn, watch and grind one of the points GODS ???? you were a better person and you made the city proudly looking forward to battles in the future ????
– Jaren Jackson Jr. (@jarenjacksonjr) June 19, 2019 History lesson, no. 2: This will be the fifth time the Grizzlies have had the No. 2 pick, and the history hasn't been great:
- Hasheem Thabeet (2009)
- Stromile Swift (2000)
- Steve Francis (1999)
- Mike Bibby (1998)
That's one pre -Memphis great franchise, one all-time bust, one pre-Memphis franchise embarrassment and one on raw tools in a historically bad draft. I think you know which one is.
Real talk: The No. 2 pick in general has a rockier history than you might expect. In 2008-2012, these were five straight fifth picks: Michael Beasley-Thabeet-Evan Turner-Derrick Williams-Michael Kidd-Glichrist.
The two best No. 2 picks of the past decade – Angelo Russell (2015) and Victor Oladipo (2013) – both switched teams (twice in Oladipo's case) before breaking out.
The best no. 2 picks since 1980:
- Kevin Durant (2007)
- Isiah Thomas (1981)
- Gary Payton (1990)
- Jason Kidd (1994)
- Alonzo Mourning (1992)
Three of the five were point guards. The best previous Grizzlies No. 2 pick was a point guard. The two best of the past decade were at least lead guards. If you believe in trends, perhaps that suggests Yes Morant is the child of no. 2 pick more likely to succeed