March 17, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks (24) shoots the basketball against Iona Gaels forward Jordan Washington (23) during the second half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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The Memphis Grizzlies walked into the 2017 NBA Draft without any picks to speak of. That’s not how they walked out.
The Memphis Grizzlies were wheeling and dealing on Thursday night. Chris Wallace and co. were able to trade into the second round of the draft not once, but twice.
January 5, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Ivan Rabb (1) shoots a basket against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
No. 35 — Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Ivan Rabb never quite lived up to expectations at California. As a result of that, he plummeted into the second round.
After a decent freshman season where he averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, Rabb was thought to be a lottery pick. Instead, he opted to return for his sophomore season and posted a solid stat line of 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. However, he didn’t take nearly the jump scouts were looking for, diminishing his long-term potential that had NBA personnel intrigued in the first place.
The biggest concern about Rabb is his ugly shot. There’s no other way to describe it. His jumper isn’t effective and will limit his offensive ability severely.
Overall, Rabb won’t have much of an impact on offense as he is still very raw. He will need a couple of years to refine his offensive skills.
Defensively is where he fits in perfectly with the Grizzlies. He has a 7’2″ wingspan and could see some time behind Marc Gasol at center.
Rabb is also one of the best rebounders in this class. He does a great job of finding his man when shots go up and gets a body on them before elevating to the ball. However, at only 215 pounds, he is lean and needs to add a considerable amount of muscle mass.
Mar 31, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks during practice for the 2017 Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
No. 45 — Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon
Grizzlies fans should be excited about Dillon Brooks, a three-year player out of Oregon. He’s a high intensity, high energy guy that will grind every single night and fit in perfectly with this Memphis roster. I have a feeling it won’t be long until he is a fan favorite.
Brooks seemingly improved every season in college, finishing last year averaging 16.1 points and shooting a career-high 40.1 percent from the three-point line.
Even though he shot a high percentage from downtown, his three-point shot is still somewhat inconsistent. He’s at his best when he is aggressively attacking the rim and slicing into the driving lanes. He has an explosive first step and is able to use his upper-body strength to hold off defenders after getting that initial leverage on them.
Brooks also posted up some for the Ducks, something that might not translate to the NBA as well given that he will be going up against bigger and stronger defenders.
Unlike Rabb, there are a lot of question marks about Brooks ability to play defense. Oregon played a lot of zone and it helped hide him on that end of the floor.
March 18, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Ivan Rabb (1) attempts a shot against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors during the first half of the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
These moves were nothing flashy that will be on any lists of who won the draft. But they won’t be on any lists of teams who lost the draft either. To describe it in a simple way, the moves were basic.
The Grizzlies acquired one player, Rabb, who is still very raw and has really good upside for someone at the 35th spot in the draft. If Rabb can get in the gym and redefine his offensive game while refining his defense, he could be a steal for the Grizzlies.
Some people might point to a downfall being that Memphis had to give up their second round pick owed to them by Brooklyn in 2019. However, we don’t know how good or bad the Nets will be in two years and this was a really deep draft class. To me, it’s worth giving up the unknown for the chance at a player Memphis obviously likes.
As for Brooks, there are plenty of question marks about his athleticism and if he will be able to have the same success attacking the rim in the NBA as he did in college. Because of this, he must continue to improve his outside shooting to have any real impact in the NBA.
He has already taken a huge step by jumping up from 33.8 percent his sophomore season to 40.1 percent last year. If he can continue to make that jump he will be an effective outside shooter in this league.