By Clay Bailey/The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies selected Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State with the 41st overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
Franklin, a 6-foot-5 guard, led the Aztecs to three Mountain West titles and three consecutive NCAA appearances. He averaged 17 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals. He was the only player in the NCAA to lead his team in all four categories. He scored in double figures in 31 of San Diego State’s 33 games last season.
The Grizzlies also ended their coaching search earlier Thursday, introducing Dave Joerger as the team’s new bench leader. Joerger was an assistant for Lionel Hollins, whose contract was not renewed after leading Memphis to a franchise-best 56 wins and a berth in the Western Conference finals.
Memphis, which did not have a first-round pick, had three in the second round.
With their other two picks in the second round, the Grizzlies took Joffrey Lauvergne, a power forward from France with the 55th selection, and Janis Timma, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Latvia with the 60th and last pick in the draft.
The rights to Lauvergne are expected to end up with Denver. In a proposed trade with the Nuggets, Denver is expected intends send 7-foot center Kosta Koufos to the Grizzlies for forward Darrell Arthur and the rights to Lauvergne.
Despite the midseason trade of leading scorer Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies made it to the conference finals before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
En route to the conference finals, other players — including point guard Mike Conley — picked up the scoring.
The Grizzlies, who have a strong inside game with All-Stars Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, were expected to look for outside shooting in the draft to help spread the floor and loosen up defenses that collapse in the paint against Randolph and Gasol. Memphis was last in the league in 3-pointers taken and 3-pointers made.
But some of the players picked up in the mid-season trade of Gay to Toronto — primarily Ed Davis and Austin Daye — will provide help on the perimeter with more playing time than they got down the stretch of Memphis’ playoff run.
“We’re a big believer that you have to get better internally first,” Stu Lash, the Grizzlies director of player personnel, said this week. “Everybody is always looking at ‘How do we get better?’ The tendency of that sometimes is to look outside your gym. We have some good young players on this roster, where their development this summer is very important as to how we get better. … Internal development is something that I think kind of gets lost at this time of the year.”
Joerger said during his press conference Thursday that he plans to play with a little more up tempo pace, but would not abandon the defensive mentality and toughness.
Franklin brings a number of talents to the Grizzlies, including a midrange jumper and the ability to rebound. He has a reputation as a good passer who can also get to the basket.
There is a question, however, of whether his size can hinder him from finding the right position in the league.