Memphis Grizzlies Summer League roster preview


There are ten teams competing in Orlando Summer League this season with a variety of different kinds of players. As teams are filled with veterans, young prospects, and out-and-out rookies, Summer League is a time of year filled with wonder, promise, and ugly basketball.

We’ll be previewing the rosters of all ten teams that will be involved in the Orlando Summer League by giving about 30-50 words on each player and letting you know how legitimate their NBA chances are.

The next team on our list?

Memphis Grizzlies Summer League roster

The Rookies

Jordan Adams, G: Adams is a scoring guard, through and through. Even if he doesn’t perform well in Orlando (he already performed really well in his first game), Adams will be counted on to provide the Grizzlies with bench scoring in 2014-15. Expect him to dominate the ball while he’s in games in Orlando and take a lot of jump shots. He’s an excellent pick pocket, but not exactly the best man-to-man defender, as UCLA played quite a bit of zone last season. Look for Dave Joerger to try to and rectify that this year.

Jarnell Stokes, F: Stokes is a bruising big man that has a long wingspan and is an excellent rebounder. It’ll be necessary for him to develop a 15-foot jumper most likely to make it long-term in the NBA, and he also needs to improve his lateral quickness so that he doesn’t become the target of pick-and-roll play in the NBA. However, he’s a tough post defender and has a good offensive post game, meaning he can probably stick in the NBA for a little while at least.

Players under contract

Jamaal Franklin, G/F: Franklin is one of my favorite players from the 2013 draft, and I think he still has excellent potential to become a defensive role player in the NBA. He is 6’5 with a 7’0 wingspan, and has a tremendous motor as well as tenacious athleticism. Everything that Franklin does, he does at 100%. However, he still needs to work on his jump shot in order to make that a threat he can present defenses with.

Janis Timma, G/F: Timma is a Latvian three-point shooter that is not under contract for next season, but the Grizzlies do own his draft rights. He was the Latvian Playoff MVP in 2014 after being the Baltic League Playoff MVP in 2013, meaning he makes shots when the pressure is high. That’s a skill that the Grizzlies could potentially use if they lose Mike Miller, so they’ll probably be taking a good look at Timma this offseason.

Former NBA players, not under contract

Edwin Ubiles, G: Ubiles got into four games for the Wizards in 2012, and since then has played in France, the D-League, and Japan. Turning 28 in November, time is starting to run out for Ubiles to make an NBA career. He’s 6’6 with a 6’10 wingspan, and a solid shooting stroke, but most likely there are better, younger players for the Grizzlies to take a look at in Orlando this season.

Undrafted Rookies

Scottie Wilbekin, G: Wilbekin is a strong defensive point guard that plays within himself and does well distributing the ball around the floor. He does have some slight character concerns, but he screams backup point guard to me as someone who can take care of the position while your starter is on the bench and set up other players. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see him make the Grizzlies.

Niels Giffey, F: Giffey is the German sharp shooter that played for the national champion Connecticut Huskies this year. However, he doesn’t have enough ancillary skills to make the NBA beyond his near elite shooting ability. He’ll carve out a nice career for himself in Europe, but the NBA probably will not come calling.

Joe Jackson, G: Jackson is a highly-decorated guard out of Memphis, where he was a former Conference USA player of the year, two-time C-USA tournament MVP, and McDonalds All-American. He’s pretty undersized for the NBA though, and not a great shooter. He’ll probably be in the D-League next season, and could transition into a nice career in Europe if he so chooses.

Justin Cobbs, G: Cobbs is another point guard on this Memphis roster. More of a scorer than a passer, Cobbs still managed to dish out nearly six assists per game in the Pac-12. At 6’3, he can attack the lane and get to the basket with the best of them, but his shooting still isn’t quite up to snuff for the NBA. He’s an excellent candidate for the D-League  right now, where if he can improve his shot over the next season he’ll be a real threat to compete for a backup NBA job.

Okaro White, F: The problem with White is that he’s a 3/4 tweener that doesn’t quite have the shooting or skills to play on the perimeter and doesn’t quite have the bulk to play inside. These guys are often good candidates for the D-League though to see if they can develop into a better specialist at one of the two positions, so I imagine that’s where he goes.

Non-rookie, non-NBA players

Kalin Lucas, G: Lucas is the former Michigan State point guard who has transitioned nicely to the D-League. He had a 57% true-shooting percentage last season with per-36 averages of 18.7 points and 6.2 assists. He’s another player that screams caretaker backup point guard, but he doesn’t quite have the defensive energy or talent of Wilbekin, making me place Wilbekin as the slight favorite here.

Jack Cooley, F/C: Cooley had a decent shot to make the Grizzlies last season, but decided to spurn their training camp invite and guaranteed money for a more lucrative guarantee in Turkey. An excellent rebounder and tough customer in the paint, he’ll have the same chance he did last season this year to make the NBA. A tough path lies ahead of him given his limitations, but that didn’t stop him from impressing last summer league so I’d expect him to do much of the same this year.

Jarrid Famous, C: Famous has been traveling around the world since going undrafted in 2011, playing for nine separate teams in that time frame. The idea of Famous has always been better than the actual player, as his solid 6’11 frame just hasn’t ever been able to put together the full package of skills and athleticism that you’d think it could.

Deon Thompson, F: Thompson is a tough, nearly 26-year-old power forward out of North Carolina that has also done a fair bit of traveling since his collegiate career ended, going from Greece to Slovenia to Germany. He’s always been a solid per-minute performer both in college and professionally, but he’s probably just a bit too undersized and under-athletic to get to the NBA level.

Terrico White, G: White has been known more for his dunking ability after being drafted 36th overall in 2010 than for his actual basketball skill. The problem with him is that while he has the explosive athleticism of an NBA guard, he’s an inconsistent shooter that doesn’t particularly have a proclivity for defense. The tools are there, and he only just turned 24, so there is still some time for him to turn it around.