As a part of the Phoenix Suns acquiring Royce O’Neale yesterday during the NBA’s Trade Deadline, the Valley also received David Roddy, a second-year forward from the Memphis Grizzlies.
To help get a better understanding of Roddy and his skill set, Bright Side reached out to prominent voices in the Grizzlies media. Joe Mullinax, co-host of the Locked On Grizzlies Podcast, Parker Fleming, former Grizzly Bear Blues site manager and current operator of a Grizzlies Substack called “Substskalidis,” and Michael Lianos, manager of @grizzlieslegend on Instagram, all so kindly gave their thoughts on Roddy and what they believe he can bring to Phoenix.
(The following answers have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.)
What are Roddy’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Parker Fleming: His strengths: he’s built like an NFL tight end. At times, he leverages his physicality and frame on his drive to finish in the paint. Off the drives, he’s shown flashes of making reads in drive-and-kick situations to open shooters, which should bode well in Phoenix. His build also makes him a versatile defender, as he also boasts a 6’11” wingspan, though his upside as a perimeter stopper is more theoretical at this point.
Weaknesses: Because he’s 6’5” and roughly 250 pounds, his drives were inconsistent, as he doesn’t have the vertical pop of most NBA wings. His shooting is pretty spotty, especially above the break.
Joe Mullinax: As a strength he is capable of playing as both a back and front-court piece. Depending on matchups, he can be a 2-3 positionally on the perimeter or a “stretch” 4. At times in college at Colorado State he was even a 5 — but obviously at the NBA level that’d be much more difficult to pull off. He also tends to get hot, ESPECIALLY against the Dallas Mavericks — look it up — he loves playing those guys!
As a weakness, those heat check games get canceled out, and then some by below-average to bad offensive performances. His defensive versatility gets negated on an overall basis by his lack of shot-making ability, specifically by himself off the dribble but off the catch as well.
Michael Lianos: Roddy’s biggest strength is his versatility. He can guard on the perimeter and the interior and isn’t afraid to take tough assignments. He also can be good around the rim. His weakness is shooting and shot selection, he takes way too many pull-ups/transition threes and rarely hits them.
In what ways can his skill sets be best utilized?
PF: Roddy should be more efficient offensively in more space. In this Phoenix system, he can function as a “big” in lineups where they roll with Kevin Durant at the 5. Defensively, he can toggle between most wing/forward archetypes. With the injuries the Grizzlies were facing, he had an amplified role with more playmaking opportunities, which isn’t his strong suit. He’s more of a play finisher who can attack off the catch in second and third actions.
JM: Roddy was asked to be too much in Memphis. Part of that was necessity - it is unlikely the Suns expect him to be third on their roster in minutes, as the Grizzlies had him be so far this season. His size and positional versatility are best utilized as a combo forward reserve, a 10th-ish man in the rotation. From there his physical talent and basketball skill differential is less noticeable.
How would you describe his time in Memphis?
PF: I think Roddy was asked to do a bit more than tasked, especially this season. Overall, he was a solid player that does some cool stuff on the basketball floor. The idea of a smaller 4 — in the same vein as PJ Tucker and Grant Williams — exists with him. When his jumper was on, the framework existed for him to grow into a role player that impacted winning. His live-dribble game mixed with his physicality led to thunderous dunks. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies are seeking roster flexibility for the 2024-25 season, and Roddy was a casualty there.
JM: Polarizing, in part because he’s become lumped in with some pretty poor company. He’s the best of an underperforming group of wings that includes former Lottery pick Ziaire Williams and fellow 2022 1st rounder Jake LaRavia. Those two and Roddy are this Memphis front office’s biggest failures to date, and in some cases established veterans like De’Anthony Melton were forsaken for them. He gets a bad shake for that, combined with his underwhelming overall showings this season.
But his rookie campaign and flashes this year (again, look up Dallas!) suggest in the right situation he can succeed in a role where less is expected of him. Phoenix should be able to provide that.
ML: I would say he had a promising rookie year in a more consistent role and started to show promise of being a spark plug but took a step back this year. He always has taken too many 3s, but this year he’s doing even worse with his 3-point shot selection. He has been a bad decision-maker with the ball in his hands, a role he shouldn’t have in Phoenix to any extent.
What type of players complement him the best?
PF: Obviously, tougher to gauge after this season with the Grizzlies ravaged with injuries. With Roddy, playing with smart players that are dribble-pass-shoot threats is good. He operates well in space and movement. So to sum up your question: as is the case with most role players in the NBA, Roddy is better around ample shooting and playmaking.
JM: Do you guys have Ja Morant? I think that him simply being asked to do less alongside the likes of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal will improve his efficiency. I promise it’s not a lazy cop-out response, but just being on a better team currently (and probably even if Memphis was healthy) should benefit his deficiencies enough to be that insurance policy type of bench contributor.
How do you think his role in Phoenix will be different than his role in Memphis?
PF: I don’t see a drastic difference. Maybe in a smaller lineup (KD at the 5), Roddy operates as the 4 but does more big man stuff – screening, DHO facilitation, stuff of that parameters. More often than not, Roddy will be seen as a stationary 3-an-D wing alongside the Suns’ core.
JM: Compared to last season, when the Grizzlies were near the top of the Western Conference? Not much. He logged roughly 17 minutes a game with lower usage. This season? I am guessing Phoenix won’t have him start too often (he started 13 games for Memphis this season), nor will they have him post career highs in minutes and usage. The meat of what Roddy is as a player will remain consistent from Memphis to Phoenix, the focus will be on how much less he’s asked to provide that production.
ML: His role will be more limited. He won’t have the freedom to take bad shots, but he will have a greater defensive role with the Valley.
Can you see a world where he can be a contributor in a playoff series for Phoenix?
PF: I can see it. He had solid moments last postseason as a 3-and-D wing and even had some promising stops on LeBron James. I wouldn’t sharpie him into Phoenix’s rotation, but he’s shown he can answer the call when his number is called.
JM: On a very limited basis - 8-10 minutes defending a combo forward that is giving you fits. He can hit open shots, just hasn’t done it much lately (on a wounded Memphis team - last year when the team was healthier he was better). Roddy’s frame enables him to be physical at the point of attack on both ends of the floor. But if you need him for more than that, you’ll be disappointed.
ML: I can’t see him contributing in the playoffs because he’s too inefficient and although he plays hard and is a good-effort guy, it doesn’t make up for what he lacks offensively.
Thank you again to Joe Mullinax, Parker Fleming, and Michael Lianos for providing our readers with insight as to who Roddy is. We’re looking forward to reading the comments below on what your thoughts are on the newest member of the Phoenix Suns.