When the Memphis Grizzlies drafted David Roddy out of Colorado State with the 23rd pick in the NBA draft, it came as a surprise to most fans. However, Roddy was a player Memphis had their eyes on throughout the pre-draft process.
The Grizzlies loved Roddy so much they were willing to trade De’Anthony Melton to return in the first round for the 6-foot-5, 255-pound forward.
Roddy was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year last season and played most of his minutes at the forward and center. He averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks.
The trade call caught up with Kevin Lytle, who covers Colorado State basketball for Colorado and has watched Roddy for the past three seasons.
Kevin Lytle on Grizzlies draft pick David Roddy
CALIFORNIA: Which NBA position do you think David Roddy is best suited to and why?
Lytle: It’s going to be interesting to watch because his main position at Colorado State was on the four, but they used him a lot on the five. I don’t really see him playing five in the NBA. I think he will bounce the most between 3 and 4, depending on matchups and defensive responsibilities. It will be interesting to see because he kind of went through training at Colorado State.
CALIFORNIA: How do you think Roddy will fare against faster guys who are a bit lighter.
Lytle: I think that’s probably the biggest improvement he’ll have to make, but he kept a lot of different types of guys at Colorado State. What I think helps is that it’s undersized, it has quite a long wingspan. It helps and he’s really explosive until he gets up to meet a jump shot. I think lateral quickness will be a big thing that he will improve, but I would say it’s not as bad as some people want to make it out to be. It’s not like he lacks athleticism. He’s just not at the top of the athletic charts when it comes to that. Year over year it has improved quite dramatically in Colorado State, so I would expect that to continue.
CALIFORNIA: How will he fit into the Grizzlies locker room environment?
Lytle: He’s an interesting guy. On the pitch, he has this angry face. He looks basically ticked off the whole game. He plays with a real chip on his shoulder. He’s one of those guys who will take any slight, real or imagined, and use it as motivation. For example, they were playing in New Mexico this year and the morning shoot, there was basically a time conflict. Colorado State thought it was once, they showed up and were told the gym was unavailable. The team thought it was a bit of a game. I’m not sure if it was or not, but Roddy was livid and went and dropped 36 or something on them. He plays with that real fire, but he’s also a fun, friendly kid off the pitch.
CALIFORNIA: How do you think his shot-creating skills will translate to the NBA?
Lytle: I think that’s where his improvement came in. When he started he was a successful guy based on athleticism and determination, and then he just honed his game. He was a terrible 3-point shooter when he started, but they liked his form, they thought he could grow and improve on that and sure enough he was shooting 44% last year. He can go different ways, he has a nice fadeaway, he can score the dribble. I think he’ll be able to do a lot of that, and the good thing is he was the No. 1 and 2 option for Colorado State, so the defenses built everything around him, so that won’t be not the case in Memphis. It’s probably going to have a little more floor space and space to work with.
CALIFORNIA: Did you feel like Roddy would be drafted into the lineup he made?
Lytle: It was probably a bit higher than I expected, but as the season progressed, that conversation definitely started to kick in. At the start of the season, I think most people expected him to return to play his fourth year. Thought around here and kind of what I had was probably late in round one or early in round two so 23 is probably a little earlier than expected but not by a jump giant or whatever.
CALIFORNIA: Roddy went from 23% 3-point shooting his first two seasons to 43.8% as a junior. What happened? What led to this change?
Lytle: It’s basically hard work in the offseason. Even his freshman year he shot 19% on three, but when I was in practice he was putting 100-200 shots. It was basically just a commitment to that.