2018-19 Off the Glass Breakout Player Series: Wayne Selden
The Boston Globe
With the 2018-19 NBA Season here, Off the Glass is making predictions on who the breakout players of each team will be. Today we look at Wayne Selden of the Memphis Grizzlies.
I first noticed Wayne Selden two years ago in the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, and at the time, saw some intriguing flashes. Selden had a strong summer league, but his regular season was up and down last year. Memphis was terrible; Selden was in and out of the rotation and struggled with injuries. This year he again had a dominant summer league and going into his third year is battling with the newly acquired Garrett Temple for the start at the shooting guard position.
Selden only played 35 games and started nine last year. Still, there were some good signs. He shot 40% from the three, improved his free throw percentage to 74% and had a 55% true shooting percentage. Offensively it's a mixed bag.
Selden turns the ball over a lot and isn't much of a passer. The good news is playmaking looked much better in summer league and preseason. Watch this play!
Selden gets the pass up top from former Grizzly Devontae Davis. Davis then goes to screen for Selden. Selden then patiently waits by taking two dribbles so he can draw the extra defender. That allows time for Davis to roll to the rim, and Selden feeds him with a nice lob. Selden is starting to see the game at a more advanced level.
Selden also struggles to finish at the rim but is a sneaky good shooter from midrange and three. He can get super hot sometimes. Selden was even all right at drawing fouls, but a lot of that may be because teams knew he was a mediocre free throw shooter.
In the half-court, Selden was average in both the pick and roll and in spotting up. That is encouraging for a young player to show signs he can do both. He is good enough shooter to spot up, and a good enough athlete to get his shot off in the pick and roll. This year expect him to run a little bit more secondary pick and roll with his improved passing. Off the ball, I would like Memphis to run him off screens more. He may be their best catch and shoot option, once Chandler Parsons inevitably gets injured. Selden was in the 62nd percentile coming off screens.
Selden is a good athlete, and in summer league, he looked much more filled out. He may be at his best in transition, where he ranked in the 76th percentile. Memphis is one of the slowest playing teams in the league, but I think this roster should speed it up a little. Selden has confidence and can get his shot off. I like when he gets going and does things like this.
Down two, I am just going to nail a three. Selden hits Darren Collison with two crossovers through the legs and then pull up and nails a dagger three. This is a big-time shot from Selden and shows how confident and skilled he is when he gets going.
Defensively it hasn't gone well for Selden. He fouls a lot, doesn't get blocks or steals and is a poor defensive rebounder. Individually it's not much better. In particular defending pick and rolls and off-screen action, he fared much better against spot-ups. Strength will help with this, and too often he dies from screens. With his athleticism and added strength plus another year of experience, Selden should be much better.
Adding Kyle Anderson will also help. Slow-Mo is an excellent defender who can take Selden off the tougher matchups. Last year everything went wrong and the Grizzlies embraced the tank. Being around Mike Conley and Marc Gasol for the whole season will help Selden. His role will be more defined; he will have less attention on him and be protected from tougher matchups. He can focus on doing things in his comfort zone while improving gradually.
This is a bit of a sleeper pick, but I think Selden is ready to take a significant jump. I could have picked a few other Grizzlies like Dillon Brooks or perhaps even Ivan Rabb, but I am higher on Selden. If he does break out the Grizzlies may be better than people think. Selden is capable of averaging 12-15 points per game, four rebounds, and three assists while playing at least average defense. It can't just be Conley and Gasol, they are going to need a third player to step up, and I think that player is Selden. Plus, when is the last time the Grizzlies had a good two-way starting shooting guard? Selden could be the answer.