With all this talk of Memphis possibly liking Hasheem Thabeet, I thought it might get some insight from somebody that knows that team better than anyone. So I asked Chip Crain from 3 Shades of Blue a few questions.
1. Simple question: Hasheem Thabeet or Ricky Rubio?
Chip: That isn’t even a question. Thabeet is a nice big man and you can’t teach size but no one believes this player will become anything more than a defensive stopper in the middle. Rubio could be an all-star and a crowd pleasing player as well. If Memphis publicly contemplates taking Thabeet it would most likely be an attempt to get Oklahoma City to buy the 2nd pick for the 3rd pick and another asset. Oklahoma City would be making a mistake taking Thabeet over Rubio in my opinion however. If Memphis moves down to 3rd and Rubio and Griffin are gone I doubt Thabeet would be the player they take at three anyway. James Harden, DeJuan Blair, Tyreke Evans and others have more upside in the NBA the way I look at it than Thabeet. Thabeet is another Roy Hibbert to me.
2.What makes you want Rubio, when Memphis already has Mike Conley? Conley was the fourth overall pick just two years ago and played better in the second half of the season. If Memphis takes Rubio, are the Grizzlies basically giving up on a top five pick just in his third year?
Chip: Every team needs more than one point guard. Rubio is 18 and will take time to adjust to a new country and a new brand of basketball. If Rubio can beat out Conley for the starting role then moves can be made further down the line. Besides, you don’t draft for need. You take the best player available. Drafting for need causes teams to do really dumb things. Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan springs to mind as an example.
3. Reports came out that Rubio doesn’t want to play in either OKC or Memphis. What do you make of such things?
Chip: Agent talk. Rubio hasn’t said anything. You can’t blame his agent for trying to play hardball prior to the draft. After all he gets 15% of every contract Rubio will sign so he wants him in the most marketing desirable hot spot in the country. That doesn’t mean anything unless Rubio actually pulls out of the lottery but I don’t expect that to happen. He knows he can sign the contract with the Grizzlies to get into the NBA and then go elsewhere once he arrives. It would be very silly for him to delay his entry into the NBA simply because he doesn’t like a city that might take him.
4. What’s the Grizzlies biggest need? And are you a “draft for need” or “best available” kind of person?
Chip: The biggest need is starting PF and Blake Griffin would have filled that hole nicely but c’est la vie (or should I say asi’ es la vida since Spanish would seem to be more appropriate than French). As I said earlier I am definitely a best available player kind of person. After PF the Grizzlies really only need a backup PG, backup SG, backup SF and backup C. That is why the team needs to take the best player available and not fool around taking a lesser player to fill a need. The Grizzlies have needs everywhere.
5. Is there any chance Memphis goes a completely other direction with this pick? A trade or maybe a dark horse player?
Chip: You’re talking about a franchise that traded Pau Gasol for future draft picks, scrubs and cash. Is there a chance Memphis does something no one is expecting? Of course there is but I feel that it would be counter-productive to not use the opportunity the Grizzlies have picking 2nd to grab the best talent on the board. Trades rumors are already rampant around the Grizzlies with this pick so that is not really doing something completely out of reason but taking anyone other than Rubio with the pick would be. Chris Wallace isn’t afraid to stir things up a bit so him doing something unexpected should almost be expected.
Huge thanks again to Chip for taking a little time to hopefully educate us Thunder fans on what maybe the Grizzlies will be looking at come June 25th. Be sure to check 3 Shades of Blue often to keep an eye on the pulse of the Grizzlies.