Grading Memphis Grizzlies' 2013 NBA Draft Decisions

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJuly 1, 2013

DENVER, CO - MARCH 04:  Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks has his shot blocked by Kosta Koufos #41 of the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on March 4, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

John Hollinger's first draft with the Memphis Grizzlies wasn't certain to net a good player. Still, he managed to scoop up a nice interior guy, despite not having a first-round pick. 

Their two second-rounders are talented, but they both have their fair share of defects.

Memphis tried to buy a late first-rounder, but weren't able to put up enough cash, as Chris Vernon of ESPN Radio Memphis tweeted.

Failing at that didn't doom their draft. This small-market team did well with their resources on draft night.

Here's a look at how they fared:


Trading Darrell Arthur and No. 55 overall pick to Denver Nuggets for Kosta Koufos: A

The Grizzlies weren't able to fill their biggest need in the draft, but they addressed an issue by acquiring a real NBA player. Dealing Arthur and a pick that may not turn into a rotation player for Koufos improved the Grizzlies' frontcourt rotation.

Arthur likely won't grow as he was expected since he's injury prone. He missed the 2011-12 season with an Achilles injury and the beginning of this season with a broken leg. Also, he missed time in the spring due to neck and back injuries.

Two years after shooting 49.7 percent from the field, he languished in the second half as he shot 41.7 percent after Jan. 23 and went two months without scoring in double figures.

Meanwhile, Koufos is a blossoming rotational player. The Ohio State product shot 58.1 percent from the field, 13 percent better than Arthur.

Indeed, Koufos dumps it from point-blank range, whereas the Kansas product was a jump shooter. Koufos took 62 percent of his shots at the rim, compared to 56 percent from 10 feet or farther for Arthur.

The man who George Karl preferred to play ahead of JaVale McGee, per the Denver Post, becomes the first quality backup center in franchise history. Marreese Speights wasn't a real center, but stepped in for Marc Gasol. Hamed Haddadi couldn't convince Lionel Hollins to give him 10 minutes per game.

Before Gasol, Memphis had enough trouble finding a decent starting center.

The Spaniard's legs benefit from this acquisition. Gasol played 35 or more minutes per game in three of the last four seasons. He should be able to rest a couple more minutes each contest.

Jon Roser of ESPN Radio Memphis tweeted that Gasol came out a winner after the deal.


Drafting Jamaal Franklin with No. 41 overall pick: C+

Draft analysts didn't see Jamaal Franklin falling to the mid-second round (USA Today had him going No. 18), but he was there for the Grizz to grab.

Rob Mahoney of said he "might have been the draft's biggest slider."

While this seems on the face to be a steal, Franklin isn't a sure thing to become a quality starter. He's a good free-throw shooter (79 percent from the line), a good defender (1.6 steals per game) and an aggressive rebounder (9.4 boards per game).

Also, he's an athletically gifted playmaker who has a 6'11.25" wingspan on a 6'5" frame and plays hard, as his profile notes.

On the other hand, the former San Diego State Aztec doesn't shoot well and turns it over a ton. He shot 40.6 percent overall last season, including 27.9 percent from three-point range. His shot selection was poor as he took 37 percent of his shots from long range.

Franklin turned it over four times per 40 minutes.

Despite his strong defense, Franklin's profile states that he "can get over-aggressive or lose focus."

Combining his good and bad traits, he seems like another Tony Allen. Grizz TV analyst Pete Pranica said as much via Twitter.

The Aztecs' leader in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals has a chance to grow into a high defensive role, but he must at least pull weight on offense.


Drafting Janis Timma with No. 60 overall pick: B

The Grizz likely found everything they could with the last pick of the draft. 

As Joshua Red Coleman of the Three Shades of Blue blog tweeted, Timma's skills caught Hollinger's attention.

The Latvian's profile describes him as athletic and a gifted offensive player, but notes that he needs to develop his mechanics and learn to focus on defense.

If Timma becomes a rotational player, the pick is a bonanza. Since 1995, only two players picked last played more than 100 games and received double-digit minutes.


Overall draft grade: B

The Grizzlies went on the attack on Thursday. They strove for a first-round pick, but fell short. Still, they landed a ready contributor in Koufos. Franklin, a possible defensive helper, fell into their hands at No. 41.

Maturation by Timma would make this draft even nicer for the Grizzlies.

By improving their bench with the trade and perhaps their first second-round pick, Memphis came away with a modest win.