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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 its eyes on throughout the pre-draft process.
The Grizzlies liked Roddy so much that they were willing to trade away De'Anthony Melton to move back into the first round for the 6-foot-5 255-pound combo forward.
Roddy was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year last season and played most of his minutes at power forward and center. He averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks.
The Commercial Appeal caught up with Kevin Lytle, who covers Colorado State basketball for the Coloradoan and has watched Roddy the past three seasons.
Kevin Lytle on Grizzlies draft pick David Roddy
CA: What position in the NBA do you think David Roddy best fits at and why?
Lytle: It's going to be interesting to watch because his main position at Colorado State was the four, but they actually used him at the five a lot. I can't really see him playing five in the NBA. I would think he's going to bounce most between the 3 and 4, depending on matchups and defensive responsibilities. It'll be interesting to see because he kind of went up and down the lineup at Colorado State.
CA: How do you think Roddy will fare against quicker guys who are a little bit lighter.
Lytle: I think that's probably the biggest improvement he'll have to make, but he guarded a lot of different types of guys at Colorado State. The thing that I think helps him is while he's undersized, he has a pretty long wingspan. That helps and he's really explosive as far as rising to meet a jump shot. The lateral quickness, I think will be a big thing he will improve on, but I would say it's not as bad as some people want to claim. It's not like he's lacking athleticism. He's just not top of the charts athleticism as far as that goes. Year to year he improved pretty dramatically at Colorado State, so I would kind of expect that to continue.
CA: How will he fit in the Grizzlies' locker room environment?
Lytle: He's an interesting guy. On the court, he has this angry face. He looks basically ticked off all game. He plays with a real chip on his shoulder. He's one of those guys that will take any slight, whether it's real or imagined, and use it as motivation. For example, they were playing at New Mexico this year and the morning shootaround, basically there was a time conflict. Colorado State thought it was one time, they showed up and basically were told the gym is not available. The team thought it was some gamesmanship. I don't actually know 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, likable kid off the court.
CA: How do you think his shot creation skills will translate to the NBA?
Lytle: I think that's where his improvement came in. When he started, he was a guy that kind of succeeded based on athleticism and determination, and then he just refined his game. He was a terrible 3-point shooter when he started, but they liked his form, they felt he could grow and improve on that and sure enough he was shooting 44% last year. He can go a lot of different ways, he has a nice fadeaway, he can score off the dribble. I think he will be able to do a lot of that, and the good thing is he was option No. 1 and 2 for Colorado State, so defenses built everything around him, whereas that's not going to be the case in Memphis. He's probably going to have a little more floor and space to work with.
CA: Did you feel like Roddy would get drafted in the range he did?
Lytle: It was probably a little higher than I expected, but as the season went on, that conversation definitely started to kick up. At the start of the season, I think most people expected he would come back and play his fourth year. The thought around here and kind of what I had was probably late first round or early second round, so 23 is probably a little earlier than anticipated but not by a giant leap or anything.
CA: Roddy went from 23% 3-point shooting his first two seasons to 43.8% as a junior. What happened? What led to that change?
Lytle: It's basically just relentless work in the offseason. Even his freshman year, he shot 19% from three, but when I would be at practices, he would put up 100 to 200 shots. It was basically just a commitment to it.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Grizzlies draft pick David Roddy from Colorado State viewpoint