Josh Selby was drafted 49th by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA draft with the over-achieving Memphis Grizzlies' only pick of the evening. Obviously, Selby would've like to have gone higher and would've been in much better shape coming straight out of high school. If you read this blog much, you probably know that I think Selby can play. I think he's a first round talent (albeit with a second round attitude). But before getting into his place on the Grizzlies I want to remind everyone everything Selby went through.
First and foremost, he changed schools. Josh Selby was originally committed to Tennessee. A school that despite making the Elite Eight a couple of years ago would've no doubt loved to have him on their roster (though they probably would've preferred him not being photographed with Aaron Craft at Bruce Pearl's not-NCAA-legal barbecue). Selby would have almost certainly started, and would've been a part of a fairly talented team alongside Scotty Hopson, fellow frosh Tobias Harris and Brian Williams. He also would've had the benefit of playing for one of the best motivators in the business, Bruce Pearl. Let's face it, Tennessee was a much better fit for Josh Selby than Kansas. Bill Self's deep, experienced team based around ball movement wasn't the ideal place for a notorious playmaker and big shotmaker like Selby to go.
Second, Selby's season from beginning to end was marred by injuries. First it was a broken hand that kept him out of practice when the season was starting up; then it was a foot injury that really kept Selby from ever finding his place in a very established Jayhawk rotation. Adding insult to injury, Selby had to sit out the first nine games of the season for impermissible benefits (receiving money from an agent).
The bottom line is Selby never got a chance at Kansas. I'm not going to say he's the top prospect from that class, but his first round athleticism and intangibles didn't dry up this past year (unless the injuries are a sign of things to come). Selby never had any interest in going to college, but the NBA's one and done rule forced him to go to classes for a semester before heading off to Vegas to get ready for the draft (though it should be noted, he completed all of his coursework for second semester).
More after the jump.
As for where Selby will fit in with the Grizzlies, I think he fits in fairly well in the backcourt headlined by OJ Mayo (who feels like he's on thin ice), Tony Allen (all defense), Xavier Henry, Mike Conley (a little overpaid) and Greivis Vasquez. I expect in the end Ish Smith and Selby will be duking it out for a roster spot.
The nice thing for Selby (and the Grizzlies) is he does not have to contribute right away. He's coming into a surprisingly good playoff team that overachieved despite not having its "best"** player, Rudy Gay.
**Author's Note: Don't get me started on Rudy Gay. I'm convinced the Grizzlies are better off without him, even if the real difference in the playoff was Zach Randolph playing up to his potential for the first time in his career.
The keys with Selby will definitely be attitude and finding a role (which go hand in hand). He struggled a lot at Kansas because he never found a role. At Memphis, he's going to again be a part of a pretty established rotation where he won't be the headliner. I have faith though that he'll be able to figure things out (especially with the motivation of fighting for a contract) pretty quickly. In three or four years, I wouldn't be shocked to see him as a sixth man on a playoff team.