Chris Wallace interview
The Memphis Grizzlies recently named Chris Wallace their general manager and vice president. He had been the GM of the Boston Celtics. In very late May, InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with Wallace for an exclusive interview to talk about the upcoming NBA Draft. Note that although we're showing a Grizzlies logo, at the time of this interview Wallace was still with the Celtics and was speaking as a member of their front office.
InsideHoops.com: Talk about the upcoming Draft. There are of course two stars at the top, and then plenty of other talent available.
Chris Wallace: Those are the two potential impact players, in the NBA, two obvious big-timers. But the draft will be bigger than just Oden and Durant. I think this is going to be a deep draft, a quality draft. It has more frontcourt players than usual, in the top ten. And so we're excited to see how it unfolds.
InsideHoops.com: In general, do you look more for talent of a player, or exact need? It's usually a combo, but what do you focus on more?
Chris Wallace: That's sort of the age-old question in the NBA. We tend to draft more for talent. Because, needs have a funny way of working themselves out over time. Lack of quality is a problem that's never alleviated. And if you have a log-jam at once spot, if you have enough quality you can at least make deals out of that. So, quality is the absolute necessity, more so than saying we need another power forward or we need a backup point guard. The biggest difference between the NBA and the NFL and baseball is, we don't have the quantity of selections that they have in the draft. Tom Brady goes in the 6th round. You see guys in the Pro Bowl that don't get drafted. Guys in the 60-something round in baseball... So, you really have to hit these picks and you have to come away with quality players, even if it's in an area where you have some strength and depth already.
InsideHoops.com: The worst case scenario is you have extra talent to package and send away.
Chris Wallace: And you never know what happens with injuries, and it's impossible to predict the future. So you need as much of an insurance policy as you can.
InsideHoops.com: And as for this draft, it seemed like the league and teams were hoping to get more good guys to play in the pre-draft camp, but a lot of quality talent still stays away. Can you talk about that?
Chris Wallace: Well, we're in an era of the workouts. This has been going on for quite some time. The majority of your projected first round picks are just going to go the workout route. That's just the way it is. And that creates some challenges in itself. That's just the landscape that we operate under.
InsideHoops.com: Can guys dramatically change their draft position in individual workouts?
Chris Wallace: There's a great deal of upward mobility in this draft. It sounds like the first two picks are pretty well spoken for but beyond that anything can happen.