The Memphis Grizzlies have decided to send rookie center Hasheem Thabeet to the NBDL for some development, according to a report on ESPN.com today.
Do you think this makes him more attractive to Don Nelson and the Warriors now?
If you remember (of course you remember), the Grizzlies offered shooting guard O.J. Mayo and Thabeet to the Warriors for Monta Ellis on multiple occasions in the past season and have been turned down each time.
Thabeet, the No. 2 draft pick last summer, becomes the highest draft pick to be sent to the NBDL, surpassing the feat of Trail Blazers forward Martell Webster, who as the sixth pick in the 2005 draft, played eight games in the developmental league his rookie season.
This news may inspire some to claim proof that the Warriors made the right choice in turning down the offer. I wouldn’t go that far. Obviously, Thabeet wasn’t the main piece of that trade package; that distinction belonged to Mayo. Thabeet was in the deal mostly to make up the difference between Mayo and Ellis’ contracts. If you had a problem with that deal, it was because you had a problem with Mayo. Thabeet was just cap filler. The fact that he was 7-foot-3, a former No. 2 draft pick, and was a low-risk, high-reward project was just sweetener.
I don’t think this means Thabeet is a bust. Obviously, this doesn’t mean his career is over. Everybody, including the Grizzlies, knew he was a long-term project when they drafted him. Maybe he pans out, maybe he doesn’t. We’ll find out in a few years.
I haven’t watched many Grizzlies games this season and so I haven’t seen Thabeet play very much. His averages are anemic (2.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks), but so are his minutes (10.3). In games where he’s played 20 minutes or more (three total, averaging 21.3 minutes), he has averaged 5 points, 6.3 rebounds and three blocks. This is a very small sample size, so it’s hard to draw much from this, but if you adjust those stats to starter’s minutes (36), his averages would be 8.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. If you project his full season statistics to starter’s minutes, his averages are 8.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game. It’s clear the potential is there. Maybe he just needs more time.
If the Grizzlies want to send Thabeet down to make sure he’s getting more playing time (not possible when backing up Marc Gasol) and more development time in practice (there’s more time for practice in the NBDL than the NBA), then this isn’t a bad move.