The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off a productive season in which they showed massive growth as a team. The youthful squad finished with the second-best record in the NBA at 56-26. Led by Ja Morant, the franchise took a massive leap in the right direction. They also have been the only team to win more than one game against the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. If it had not been for a Ja Morant injury, there is a real chance Memphis is still playing in the postseason.
Regardless, the Grizzlies' focus will turn to upgrade the team moving forward. They currently hold the 22nd and 29th picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, and these will likely serve as their best assets for the offseason.
While there are set to be some quality prospects available in this range, Memphis would also be wise to test the trade waters. Here are two concepts to watch as the 2022 NBA Draft inches closer.
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Best Grizzlies trades using 22, 29 picks in 2022 NBA Draft
Trade 22nd and 29th picks to Hawks for De'Andre Hunter and a second-round pick
It has been rumored that the Hawks are prepared to move anybody on the roster outside of Trae Young as they look to shake things up. If the Grizzlies have a chance to add De'Andre Hunter, it would be a seamless fit for the roster. Hunter had an especially impressive postseason in which he averaged 21.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 46.2% on 3-point attempts. The 24-year-old also is capable of guarding the opposing team's primary scorers.
Flipping the first-round picks for the established two-way wing would be an effective win-now move. Hunter would be a notable upgrade over Dillon Brooks, who struggled greatly in the postseason. Brooks was never shy to shoot the ball but was a frightening 34.9% from the field during the postseason. During the Warriors series, Brooks was 24-for-76 (31.6%) from the field while taking a bunch of bad shots. He certainly will not shoot this poorly moving forward, but there are concerns about his long-term usage.
While giving up both first-round picks is a difficult ask, Hunter is worth it in the long haul. He flashes exciting potential and has yet to hit his prime. Hunter possesses the toughness that fits in with Memphis' brand of basketball, and he would be comfortable playing next to Ja Morant.
This move would also appeal to the Hawks as they seem keen on collecting assets for a bigger splash move to help out Young.
Move up from 22 and 29 to get Tari Eason
The Grizzlies can improve their short-term and long-term goals by adding Tari Eason. The LSU product has risen up draft boards in recent weeks due to his length, athleticism, and versatility. Eason is a terror in transition and has a well-rounded overall game. He averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game this season. He would add another layer to the threatening Grizzlies defense and be a scary duo next to Jaren Jackson Jr. There is a great deal of upside in his game, so Eason would be a long-term wing of the future for Memphis alongside Desmond Bane. He would be a perfect fit in the current young nucleus of the team.
Tari Eason seems to be pegged to go in the teens and perhaps even the top 10, so the Grizzlies might have to trade up decently far in order to get him. NBA teams are constantly looking to move around on draft night to get their targets at max value, and the Grizzlies must get in this mix. Capitalizing on the opportunity to rise and get the 6-foot-8 wing would make it a great draft for Memphis.
The 21-year-old prospect may not be what most are hoping for in a win-now move. However, Tari Eason is a beautiful blend of being able to contribute now and holding a ton of potential. The fit on the Grizzlies should make the prospect desired heavily by the franchise.
Having two first-round picks certainly gives the Grizzlies more flexibility when searching for a trade. As they look to build off their strong season last year, it makes sense to scour the trade market. The search for a singular home-run addition rather than adding two late prospects makes sense for the franchise. Expect Memphis to continue to be active in the trade market as it gets closer to becoming a championship-caliber team, and this 2022 NBA Draft provides a great opportunity to do so.