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Did the Grizzlies meet their needs in the draft?

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Published in Original
Going into Thursday night’s NBA draft, many fans of the Memphis Grizzlies
nbadraft 600thought they knew exactly what their hometown team needed.  A perimeter shooter and a back-up at the small forward position would have rounded out the roster and given the Grizzlies a more competitive edge.
Then the Grizzlies used their No. 22 pick overall in the 2014 NBA Draft to select UCLA shooting guard Jordan Adams. Later, they acquired native Memphian and University of Tennessee forward/center Jarnell Stokes, who was originally selected No. 35 by the Utah Jazz.  Memphis dealt away a 2016 second round draft pick for the rights to Stokes.
So how will a small forward and a big shooting guard meet the needs of a perimeter shooter and a small forward?
For starters, Adams played two seasons at UCLA, averaging 16 points and four rebounds.  His 168 career steals rank seventh on the Bruins’ all-time list.  He was also the second-fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 career points (62 games).
nbadraft2 600
Shooting needs, check!
In addition, the 19-year-old Adams earned First Team All-Pac 12 honors as a sophomore last season, leading the Bruins in scoring with 17 points and a conference-high two steals while shooting .485 from the field in 30 minutes during 36 games.  Adams compiled a single-season school-record of 95 steals, ranking second in the NCAA, and his 626 points marked the second-highest single-season total at UCLA in the last 19 seasons.
Impressed yet?
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There is more.  Adams became the first freshman in UCLA history to score at least 20 points in each of his first four games.  This definitely qualifies him as a player who could address the Grizz’s shooting needs.  While his athleticism and quickness have been questioned by some, overall Adams brings to the table some much-needed tangibles. 
Homegrown Stokes
Stokes displays plenty of potential to suggest that he can add a punch to the forward/center position for the Grizzilies.  The 6’9” 263-pound Southwind High School graduate averaged 13 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes during 87 games for the Volunteers
The 20-year-old leaves Tennessee ranked fourth in school history in double-doubles (40), eighth in total rebounds (836) and 14th in blocks (94).  He led the Southeastern Conference in offensive rebounding in each of his final two years in Knoxville.
A First Team All-SEC selection as a junior last season, Stokes posted 15 points and a conference-best 10 rebounds on .531 shooting in 32 minutes while playing 37 games.  His contribution helped lead Tennessee to three NCAA Tournament victories and a trip to the Sweet 16. 
While in high school, Stokes was rated a consensus national top 20 prospect by PrepStar.com (No. 11), Rivals.com (No. 11), Scout.com (No. 11), CBSSports.com (No. 16) and ESPNU (No. 18) and was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Tennessee by PrepStar.com and Rivals.com.
Early fan feedback reflects a chorus of those who are singing the blues about Adams  not meeting the Grizzlies’ needed, but when everything is evaluated, Adams and Stokes appear to be quality additions to a playoff team still looking to solidify its bench.


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