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MikeCheck: Grizzlies Offseason Outlook – Wayne Selden Jr.

By Michael Wallace
Grind City Media

MEMPHIS – What’s next for the Memphis Grizzlies?

Who stays? Who goes?

How will the Grit’N’Grind era continue to evolve?

Those questions and more face the Grizzlies as they embark on an offseason destined for change after their seventh consecutive playoff trip ended in a six-game series loss to the Spurs in the opening round. There’s plenty of optimism moving forward. There’s also clearly something most fans, players, coaches and executives agree on: 43 wins, a No. 7 seed in the playoffs and a first-round exit aren’t good enough.

Over a stretch of 17 weekdays, we’ll dive into our ‘Offseason Outlook’ series that breaks down my personal analysis as to where each player on the Grizzlies’ roster stands, in addition to coach David Fizdale and general manager Chris Wallace, entering a potentially pivotal offseason.

Player: Wayne Selden Jr., 22

Measurables: 6-5, 230 – Rookie NBA Season

2016-17 Stats: 5.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 43.1 FG%, 5 starts/14 games

Status: Due $1.3 million for 2017-18 salary in second season of three-year deal.

Notable

Selden went from starting his final game on a 10-day contract with the Pelicans on March 17 in New Orleans against Houston to starting for the Memphis Grizzlies four days later against the Pelicans in New Orleans. The Grizzlies not only signed Selden for the rest of the season, but also to a multiyear deal.

Quoting Selden

Being able to experience this my rookie year has been great. Not a lot of rookies get this opportunity, and being able to get minutes and stuff like that. I think it aged me pretty quickly. You just have to adjust … In a couple of weeks I went from trying to win 10 games in the D-League to starting in an NBA playoff game. It comes at you fast.

Upside

At 6-5 and a muscular 230 pounds, Selden has the body of a NBA wing player in his prime. Coach David Fizdale, a longtime assistant in Miami before coming to Memphis, compared Selden physically to Dwyane Wade. Selden’s defensive instincts are mature beyond his years, and he doesn’t shy away from the tough matchups. The Grizzlies were in a difficult spot when Tony Allen was injured in the final game of the regular season, but there was enough confidence in Selden to start him early in the playoffs against the Spurs. Although there are some offensive limitations in his game, Selden can put the ball on the floor, get to the rim and finish with contact. His athleticism especially stands out in transition.

Downside

Because Selden was thrown into some tough circumstances by initially playing a starting role before establishing any chemistry or rhythm with the Grizzlies, some of his shortcomings were exposed. His shooting was a liability at times, and he offered no threat at all from three-point range. Grizzlies’ coaches said getting up 500 shots a day would be a top offseason priority. Selden should also be a better rebounder for his size and will need to create as a facilitator to remain a live weapon offensively. That should all come with the continuity he’ll have after opening training camp in Memphis, spending months in the D-League and playing short stints with the Pelicans before finishing the season with the Grizzlies.

Bottom line

Selden is a keeper. There’s no two ways about it. That’s why Memphis ultimately secured him on a deal similar to what a mid-to-late, first-round draft pick garners. After seeing camp star Troy Williams slip away to Houston, the Grizzlies’ staff and front office didn’t want to risk losing another undrafted player on the verge of a breakout because of a roster numbers crunch. If Memphis and beloved swingmen Allen and/or Vince Carter part ways in free agency, expect Selden to be groomed for that role. Let me make this clear: there’s no replacing First Team T.A. or Vinsanity. They’re NBA royalty. But Selden is in the right place at the right time to help fill a potential void should free agency get tricky.

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Michael Wallace are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.