Coming out of high school, Josh Selby was a sure fire lottery pick. Last June, the Memphis Grizzlies scooped the guard up at No. 49. His stock fell fast in Kansas.
Then this summer, he has done nothing but impress. I saw him at the Impact Series “lockout league” in Las Vegas and he stood out — both because of his athleticism and because what I had read was an inconsistent jumper looked plenty steady to me. He dropped 42 and seven in one game there.
I wasn’t alone with being impressed, also among that group was Zach Randolph, who talked with the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“He’s the steal of the draft,” Randolph said. “The young fella is going to help us.”
Selby also showed some pure point guard skills in the summer games, when he was touted as more of a scoring point. No doubt the guy is an explosive athlete. There is a lot to like.
Now the words of caution: Explosive athletes thrive in the free-flowing games of summer. But when we get to real NBA games where the defenses tighten and guys have to play within a system… well, that is where Selby struggled at Kansas. Well, that and being suspended the first nine games of the season. The Morris twins became the stars there and fans in Lawrence were not kind to Selby.
Selby is coming into a Memphis squad that last season evolved into a real team. Selby is not the guy on this roster who should be taking a lot of shots — Rudy Gay and Z-Bo get the shots; Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo get the lion’s share of what’s left. Selby has to work his way into that rotation, he cannot dominate the ball and score like he did this summer. Mike Conley is thriving as the point guard now in Memphis because he has learned how to run that team and get the ball to the scorers.
But if Selby can accept that mentally — and if his shot falls like it did in Las Vegas — he could really be the steal of the draft. And Memphis would have just gotten younger and better.