Rumor: Grizzlies widely expected to draft Ja Morant and trade Mike Conley
After an astonishing turn of events in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, the New Orleans Pelicans landed the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and the Memphis Grizzlies ended up with the #2 overall selection.
Both of these teams moved up six spots in the slated draft order, allowing the Pels to select Zion Williamson and the Grizzlies to take their pick of the remaining players on the draft board. The consensus is that there are two players in the non-Zion tier of the lottery: Ja Morant out of Murray State and R.J. Barrett out of Duke.
Per a recent story by Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Grizzlies are lasered in on selecting Morant with the #2 overall pick – which would presage a trade for the team’s longtime point guard Mike Conley.
“In Memphis, at least, point guard should not be an issue. The Grizzlies are widely expected to use the No. 2 pick on Murray State’s Ja Morant and trade the ever-reliable Mike Conley in their last big move to fully leave the Grit ‘n Grind era behind for players who would fit well alongside the two young cornerstones.”
Indeed, trading away the last vestiges of the Grit ‘n Grind era in Memphis would surely leave some fans out in the cold, but the team would have an extremely interesting young core headlined by Jaren Jackson Jr and Morant, with supporting pieces like Dillon Brooks, Jevon Carter and Ivan Rabb also on the team going forward.
Though ushering in a new era is often hard, the Grizz would likely be well set-up with young talent after any potential Conley trade.