The wait is over for Tennessee's big man: Jarnell Stokes was selected by the Utah Jazz with the fifth pick in the second round, number 35 overall. But news broke minutes later that a much more attractive destination awaited: the Memphis Grizzlies traded for their hometown boy.
In my opinion, this is an incredible fit for Jarnell Stokes. He goes to a team that already values the skills he brings to the table; the Grizzlies were the fifth best rebounding team in the league last year. He'll join a post unit featuring Zach Randolph (who could exercise an early termination option and become a free agent) and Marc Gasol, two productive players but neither of whom are NBA A-listers. Memphis has made the playoffs the last four years in a row, making Stokes the first Vol to be drafted onto an immediate contender in decades. And most importantly, Jarnell's game fits the DNA of what Memphis is about with toughness, defense, and rebounding, which probably had much to do with their decision to trade up and take him at 35; Chad Ford had him going in the first round to Memphis at 22 in one of his mock drafts last week.
The fact that Stokes is from Memphis is just icing on the cake, and certainly opens up an opportunity for Vol fans with no strong NBA loyalties to gravitate toward the Grizz. A well-deserved congratulations to Jarnell Stokes.
For more on Stokes and how we projected him, check out our profile here.