Heading into the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies — led by superstar point guard Ja Morant — seemed prime to make a deep postseason run. After all, the Grizzlies finished the regular season with the second-best record in the Western Conference at 51-31 and the best home record in basketball at 35-6. But fast forward to the current day, and it's evident that the Grizzlies fell short of expectations during the postseason.
To call the Grizzlies' playoff run short-lived would be an understatement. The Grizzlies got eliminated in six games in the first round by LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Memphis became just the second team in league history to be eliminated from the postseason by a play-in squad.
But if there's one positive takeaway from the Grizzlies' failure to win a championship, it's that they own the 25th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft instead of the 30th. There are plenty of players projected to go late in the first round who could help the Grizzlies right away, but there are also some prospects in this range that the Grizzlies should not draft. With all of that said, here are two players that the Grizzlies must avoid with the 25th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft:
2 players Grizzlies must avoid with No. 25 pick in 2023 NBA Draft
It might be time for the Grizzlies to move on from backup point guard Tyus Jones. Jones, one of the better facilitating guards in the NBA, underperformed in the Lakers series. If the Grizzlies plan to trade Jones this summer, they should draft a point guard to replace him. But the Grizzlies should not select NC State guard Terquavion Smith to be Jones' replacement.
Smith played a lot of point guard at college, but it's questionable as to whether he has the passing chops to be a lead ball handler in an NBA offense. After all, Smith dished out just 4.1 assists compared to 2.2 turnovers per game in his sophomore season at NC State. But it's not just Smith's lackluster playmaking ability that makes him a poor fit for the Grizzlies.
Terquavion Smith functioned as a score-first point guard with The Wolfpack and a very inefficient one at that. He converted just 38.0% of his field-goal attempts and 33.6% of his three-point attempts in the 2022-23 campaign. Because of the question marks surrounding Smith's playmaking and scoring, the Grizzlies would be better off choosing a different point guard at pick 25.
Jackson-Davis was one of the best offensive big men in the country in his senior season. He averaged 20.9 points and 4.0 assists per game across 32 appearances with Indiana in the 2022-23 campaign. But Jackson-Davis has one glaring hole in his offensive repertoire that should make the Grizzlies think twice about selecting him.
Jackson-Davis is a non-threat from behind the three-point arc. He didn't so much as even attempt a single three-pointer with the Hoosiers all season and shot just three in his four years of college basketball. With the Grizzlies already having a non-shooter as their starting center in Steven Adams, it doesn't make in today's NBA for the Grizzlies to add another non-shooter to their frontcourt.
Only time will tell who the Grizzlies end up selecting with the 25th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. But what's clear is that Memphis should avoid drafting Terquavion Smith or Trayce Jackson-Davis.