MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Grizzlies know taking the next step toward an NBA championship is going to require adding a scorer.
While it may be difficult to predict who will be available when Memphis makes it picks (three second-round selections) in the NBA Draft on June 27, Friday’s predraft workout produced players who not only feel like they help them take that step, but did their homework before coming to town.
Memphis had its second draft workout, with embroiled head coach Lionel Hollins and general manager Chris Wallace in attendance.
It was a guard-heavy lineup that included Syracuse forward James Southerland, Iowa State guard Will Clyburn, Arkansas sophomore guard BJ Young, 7-foot Southern Cal forward Dewayne Dedmon, 7-foot Colorado State forward/center Colton Iverson and Florida Gulf Coast dunking guard Sherwood Brown.
“The workout was great. I feel like I can come in and produce some energy off the bench, some instant offense,” Young said, “… really some scoring and some defensive guard pressure.”
The work included popular 3-on-3 play along with the drills. Young, a St. Louis native, said in an elevator on his way out of FedExForum, he enjoyed the workout more than his previous trials. He said he has seen a share of Grizzlies games live and can be the shooter they’re looking for, despite his struggles from the field this season — he shot 23 percent from behind the arc.
“I like Tony Allen, the bigs they have, Conley. I think (shooting) is something I’ve always had in my game,” Young said. “The year before, I shot 43 percent from 3 and 51 from the field.”
The 6-foot-3 guard showed off his leaping abilities post-workout in a dunking exhibition with Southerland and took a few alley-oop passes from Brown.
Brown is accustomed to doing the dunking, the second such athlete the Grizzlies have worked out, after Elizabeth City State’s Angelo Sharpless Wednesday.
Iverson is ready for the league, said Memphis director of player personnel and basketball development Stu Lash.
“Both (bigs) have legit NBA size. Iverson’s a tough, physical kid. His body’s really changed. Dewayne has some good upside and is a little bit of a late bloomer.”
Lash credited Brown with pumping some life back into the workout when it started to lag and said Young’s development could determine whether he plays the point or shooting guard. Lash didn’t want to label Young. Young has his own label.
“Right now, I’m just labeled a killer,” Young said, then smiled. “I can play anything and look like I fit. I think this is a unique skill set to have.”
Tennessee Tech guard Jud Dillard, Arizona State guard/forward Carrick Felix, Arizona small forward Solomon Hill, Providence guard Ricky Ledo and Sharpless worked out here Wednesday morning.
The Grizzlies will hold their third workout Monday, but were still scheduling the participants.
Southerland came prepared and could be the sizeable (6-8, 215) shooter Memphis needs. A floor-spreader, he talked about current Grizzlies by name and knowing what Hollins and the staff look for. He showed off his shot at the NBA Combine, hitting 14-of-25 from deep.
Lash likes his shooting ability and size and quickness at his position. He could add some front line athleticism.
“They like to see high energy level and they also like to see guys play defense,” said Sutherland, who said the 3-on-3 drills showcased the guys’ abilities to move through screens. “I can definitely spread the floor, helping guys like Z-Bo and Marc Gasol create inside presence. Similar to my school, a lot of guys sunk their defense in. When I was out there, they couldn’t do that, because I help spread the floor a lot.”
Southerland (6-8, 215) had just come from working out with the Wizards and had a long list of places to go.
Not as many places as Iverson, a Minnesota transfer who has a tie to Hollins, playing ball with Hollins’ son in Minnesota.
“This is my ninth team workout. I think I lead the league,” he said.
Iverson was pleased with what he called a “very competitive” workout.
“(I would bring) just a physical presence. I’m a hard worker. I think I’ll bring defense and rebounding right away,” Iverson said. “That always translates to the next level.
“This team plays hard. They have a lot of energy and I think I play the same way.”
If Young ends up in Memphis and if Hollins is still his coach, Hollins’ hard-nose style won’t phase Young, who said his Arkansas career has prepared him for that tough hand of justice.
“Coach (Mike) Anderson is tough of his guards too,” Young said, then laughed. “Playing 40 minutes of hell, it’s demanding.”