The Memphis Grizzlies took a shot at filling one of their needs in Thursday’s NBA Draft — a reserve guard.
The Grizzlies selected Josh Selby out of Kansas with the 49th pick — their only pick of the night.
Selby, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound scorer was a touted recruit out of high school when he averaged 32 points and seven assists for Lake Clifton High in Baltimore in 2009-10. But he fell down in the draft with a poor freshman season at Kansas, where he was suspended for the first nine games by the NCAA for accepting impermissible benefits in high school.
In addition to the suspension, Selby was hampered in the latter part of the season with a stress fracture to his foot.
He finished his only season at Kansas averaging 7.9 and 2.2 assists.
Memphis’ first-round pick in the draft — the 20th overall — was traded to the Utah Jazz in 2010 for Ronnie Brewer, leaving Memphis with only a second-round slot in a draft considered by some to be weaker than previous years.
Utah eventually sent the pick to Minnesota.
The draft night atmosphere was completely different for the Grizzlies. For several years, Memphis was one of the woeful teams in the league, leaving them with a seat on the stage for the league’s lottery show.
But the Grizzlies enjoyed their best season in franchise history. Seeded eighth in the Western Conference, Memphis not only won its first playoff game in team history, they also dispatched the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Memphis eventually was eliminated in the second round by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deciding seventh game.
That put Memphis a long way from its normal slot among the first teams selecting in the draft. Having a late second-round pick, the team didn’t even hold a draft watch party for its fans.
The Grizzlies’ late position left them looking to fill needs — a reserve guard, a three-point shooter or a backup frontline player to spell the team’s formidable tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
Grizzlies officials weren’t sure they could fill the shooter’s role from the draft ranks. They think they might have a better chance of finding that player in a trade or free agent market.
But the potential of Selby, who has a powerful build and a scorer’s approach to the game, may help provide the shooter’s mentality. He also has a reputation as an aggressive and physical defender.
Mike Conley holds the starter point guard role for Memphis, while Greivis Vasquez, a rookie from Maryland, served in the backup role down the stretch. A trade deadline deal with Houston brought Ish Smith, another rookie from Wake Forest, to Memphis. Smith saw limited action for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen started at the end of the season in the second guard spot, and O.J. Mayo came in as a shooter.