Rookie Rankings, Week 22: Not the Worst Draft Ever. Not Yet, Anyway

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Anthony BennettThere’s been some talk lately that the 2013 draft could be the worst in NBA history.

We could wait more than a year before jumping into the adjoining worlds of shortsightedness and hyperbole, couldn’t we?

Yes, this was a bad draft. We’ve said it ourselves several times. For the first time since 2001, the top pick is going to average less than five points per game. For the first time since 1988, the Rookie of the Year is probably going to be a double-digit selection.

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Five Things To Watch: Memphis Grizzlies

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zach randolphThe more things change, the more they stay the same.

Everyone is familiar with that old cliché. It’s one the Grizzlies understand well after the 2012-13 season. Over the past year, there has been a complete changing of the guard in the Bluff City. An ownership swap was the first domino to fall when Michael Heisley officially completed the sale of the team to tech mogul Robert Pera right before the regular season began.

From there, the rest of the hierarchy was dismantled systematically. John Hollinger was hired away from ESPN to become vice president of basketball operations. The first roster change under the new ownership came when Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round pick were traded to Cleveland for Jon Leuer. Hardly a week later, Rudy Gay, the face of the franchise, was shipped north of the border midway through the season.

Despite a multitude of momentous changes, the Grizzlies continued to obliterate opponents with nasty defense and grind-it-out offense just like in years past. With that said, the Grizzlies didn’t simply stay on track. They ascended into the NBA’s elite. The team finished with its best record in franchise history and played better than ever, post-Rudy. In the playoffs, the Grizz made an impressive run to the Western Conference finals before being picked apart by the San Antonio Spurs.

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NBA Draft Profile: Jamaal Franklin

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Jamaal FranklinJAMAAL FRANKLIN

6-5, 205 lbs.

School: San Diego St.

Class: Junior

Selected with 41st pick by Memphis Grizzlies

STRENGTHS: Besides being one of the only players in history to rock the long sleeve shirt under his uniform, Franklin is known for his versatility and productivity in every facet of the game. (The long sleeves are awesome though). Though San Diego State played with a four-guard lineup, Franklin led the Aztecs with 9.5 rebounds per game last season. He also led the team in scoring (17 ppg), assists (3.2) and steals (1.6). Franklin has NBA size and strength, and he has the potential to be a Tony Allen-like defender. Though he’s not super-quick, he has the size and toughness to be disruptive on the defensive end of the floor.

WEAKNESSES: Franklin isn’t a great shooter- he shot just 28 percent from 3-point range and just 41 percent from the field. Those numbers aren’t going to cut it as a shooting guard in the NBA. He played big at San Diego State and thus could be a tweener at the NBA level. He’s not an elite athlete, or at least doesn’t showcase his athleticism on a regular basis. He can throw down highlight-reel dunks but seems grounded in the half-court setting and doesn’t have top-level explosiveness. As NBADraft.net points out, detractors say that most of his points come from his length rather than quickness, and much of his production comes from garbage points.

BOTTOM LINE: Franklin has a future in the league as a defensive specialist and all-around facilitator. He’s never going to be a great scorer, but he brings enough tools (rebounding, assists, steals) to succeed in the NBA. His best-case scenario may be to become a Tony Allen-like player, and if he can do that, he’ll stick in the league for a long time.

Mock Draft 7.0: Noel rises to No. 2; Porter at No. 4; Oladipo drops to No. 7

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nbadraft13_300x250_3 (1)

As the NBA Draft approaches, the Cavs are still actively trying to trade the 1st overall pick, Washington seems determined to take Anthony Bennett of UNLV at No. 3  – which has led Charlotte to shop Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to make room for Otto Porter.

Also, Kevin Love is once again being discussed as a trade candidate — to Cleveland, just as we reported in Mock 3.0.1 on May 29.

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SH Blog: Rivers to Clippers gets done; Cavs, Bucks interested in Pierce; Wade needed eight hours of therapy to play in Game 7

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Doc_RiversAnother day, another change in the Doc Rivers to the Clippers deal, which is now a done deal.

That should teach folks never to pronounce anything dead until rigor mortis sets in (insert your own zombie joke).

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