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Grizzlies 2023 Draft Recap: Select GG Jackson and Tarik Biberović; Kleiman Speaks Publicly on Morant and Future of the Team

The 2023 NBA Draft concluded last night, and the Grizzlies added two second-round selections to the team, no Memphis Tigers were selected, and Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman spoke to the public.  

Grizzlies Draft Recap 

Memphis selected South Carolina forward Gregory “GG” Jackson at pick 45 and Bosnian forward Tarik Biberović at pick 56. 

Jackson, who is listed at 6’9 and 215 pounds, averaged 15.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in his only season at South Carolina. The 18-year-old, who was the youngest in the draft, was named to the 2023 SEC All-Freshman Team and originally the #1 player in the class of 2023 before reclassifying to 2022. 

Many believe the pick to be a steal as Jackson more than likely get drafted in the first round in a future draft had he stayed at South Carolina. The Grizzlies add another shot-creating forward with length and room to improve. 

Tarik Biberović, listed at 6’7 and 218 pounds, played five seasons overseas for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Super League and EuroLeague. The 22-year-old is expected to be used as a draft and stash this upcoming season by the Grizzlies. 

No Tigers Drafted 

For the first time since 2019, zero Memphis Tigers players were selected in the NBA Draft. Former Memphis Tiger Emoni Bates was selected at pick 49 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, coming out of Eastern Michigan. Landers Nolley II signed with the New Orleans Pelicans as an undrafted free agent. 

Both Kendric Davis and Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu went undrafted in the draft but could potentially sign as undrafted free agents and play in the Summer League. 

Kleiman Comments on Morant 

Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman spoke publicly for the first time since the announcement of Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension.  

Kleiman stated that he believed that the suspension was ‘appropriate’, and Morant needs to act on his words accordingly and prove himself to be serious. 

“The thing to focus on at this point ... what's Ja going to commit to going forward?" Kleiman said. "What are the steps that he's prepared to take for the NBA to grant the ability to rejoin the team after serving the suspension? I think there's a lot of healthy dialogue there. I think everyone did acknowledge early on that this was going to be ongoing, and Ja wasn't just going to become the best version of himself overnight. I think there's many really serious steps that he needs to continue to take." 

Kleiman made it clear that the relationship between both parties has no stains, but Morant must prove that he has changed his behavior and is willing to stand on the expectations the team has set for him. 

Offseason Updates 

Zach Kleiman also told the media that he expects center Steven Adams (knee sprain) to be ready by the start of the season. He also said that Brandon Clarke (torn left Achilles tendon) has made significant progress toward recovery and is ahead of schedule in returning next season. 

Clarke posted a video doing jumping workouts in the pool, showing that he is already moving towards being back sooner than expected. 

Memphis currently holds one final roster spot and Kleiman says that the spot will go towards signing a veteran. The GM stated that the team won’t be expected to sign a groundbreaking player as he likes the team that is currently built. 

With Memphis having the mid-level exception of $12 million, fans can expect the roster spot to be filled in free agency.

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