The NBA draft is over a month away, but the Grizzlies are already planning how they will use their No. 2 pick.
According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, the Grizzlies "appear to have locked in on selecting" Murray State guard Ja Morant and are informing other teams of their plan. Memphis earned the No. 2 pick in Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery in Chicago.
Morant rose to national prominence as the Racers advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament this spring. He became the first player in NCAA history to average at least 20 points and 10 assists per game in a single season, dunking and dishing his way to Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year honors.
With Memphis going all in on Morant, this leaves Duke standout forward R.J. Barrett available to be drafted by the Knicks, who have the No. 3 pick. Morant and Barrett were expected to be the second and third picks behind Zion Williamson.
Knicks fans were upset over losing the top pick to the Pelicans, who will likely take Williamson, but New York will still benefit greatly from landing his Duke teammate. Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo predicts Barrett will give the Knicks "a high-caliber scorer to build around."
The Knicks finished the 2018-19 season with the worst record in the NBA at 17–65, while the Grizzlies went 33–49.
The 2019 NBA draft will take place on June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.