Saturday, December 23, 2006

Grizzlies Lose to Depleted Hornets

Mike Fratello must be closely watching Ohio State games this holiday season. With 2.5 minutes left in OT, Fratello pulled Gasol from the game. Gasol had played over 27 minutes, exceeding his allotted 25 minutes. The chances are slim that Gasol would have been set back in his recovery or injured himself during those 2.5 minutes, and once he left for good, the Grizzlies promptly demonstrated that they needed him.

Gasol dominated against the Hornets' front line throughout the game. In a spectacular play, Gasol dunked over two Hornets players to send the game into overtime. He showed no signs of slowing down or being hampered by his injury.

Still, I'm willing to grant that I know little about sports injuries. Gasol may be at risk to re-injure his foot while his muscles build strength. Further, Gasol may be at risk to injure himself independently while regaining his conditioning. (He didn't look out-of-breathe to me.) Even more, I'm willing to grant that Fratello may have little leeway to decide whether Gasol's rationed minutes may be extended.

It makes sense to err on the side of caution with your franchise player, especially when you have no chance at making the playoffs. While I'm don't subscribe to theories that suggest players, coaches, or management 'throw' games to negotiate their position in the draft lottery, I also don't doubt that this year's strong lottery class makes the decision to slow Gasol's development easier.

I'm willing to forgive Fratello's heartbreaking decision to pull Gasol from the game.

What I'd like to hear more about is Fratello's decision to ration 12 minutes to the Grizzlies' second best player, Hakim Warrick. (I was most excited during the brief stint in the second half when Gasol played along side Warrick. Unfortunately, the results weren't as spectacular as I'd hoped.) When Gasol came out of the game, why was Warrick not immediately inserted?

Warrick is the only player besides Gasol (and Chucky Atkins) who has consistently demonstrated the ability to create his own shot in the paint. In his limited playing time Friday, he attacked the basket with authority scoring all 8 free throws off 4 fouls. Instead of Warrick dominating Marc Jackson in the last two minutes, the Grizzlies called for Mike Miller penetration.

Miller attempted 0 free throws and (while remaining remarkably consistent from the outside) has struggled to convert in the paint in all games I've watched. While Miller does create outside shots by driving and kicking, outside shots are still lower percentage shots. When players are tired at the end of the game, they should take the ball inside and get fouled.

What's more disconcerting is that Fratello opted for Brian Cardinal and Alexander Johnson over Warrick. Cardinal made spectacular (outside) shots midway through the second half, but he was done by OT. He shouldn't have been on the floor, and he proved it during the worst play of the game.

With less than 24 seconds, Cardinal rebounded a missed Grizzlies shot. When you're Pau Gasol or Hakim Warrick (finishers around the basket) maybe you go up for the shot with a rebound deep in the paint with time winding down. However, in doing so, you still give the opposition a chance to win or tie the game. When you're Brian Cardinal, you kick the ball out and reset the offense to ensure you have the last shot.

What happened in actuality was Cardinal tried to score against a more athletic Hornet front line that was in position to defend . It was a rookie mistake from a veteran who hadn't played in the 3 previous games and was too tired to ignore his instincts and make the smart play.

In a perfect world, the referees would have (legitimately) sent Cardinal to the free throw line. However, Cardinal is savvy enough to know that refs are opt to swallow their whistles at the ends of games (especially when it's Brian Cardinal who's fouled).

To compound his error, four Grizzlies allowed Chris Paul to score a layup in transition after the no call. Paul is an impressive talent who can navigate to the basket, but Jannero Pargo could have scored against the defense on that possession.

The result was another disappointment in a game where the Grizzlies were not outmatched.

Where was Hakim Warrick?

UPDATE (12/23 9:58 PST): I saw the last 1.5 quarters of the Utah-Memphis game. I really liked Fratello's rotation. Warrick and Gay played significantly more minutes at the expense of E. Jones, Swift (DNP), and Cardinal. The Grizzlies continue to get destroyed on the boards, but are still making games competitive. They just can't finish.

The Grizzlies (I saw D. Jones, Johnson, and Gasol) had some spectacular blocks. I loved D. Jones' block against Carlos Boozer.

Also, Mike Miller continues to shoot the lights out. He's a great compliment to a low post scoring game. He also provides great ball handling, passing, and some rebounds.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2007 Free Agent Class Weak

It may be early for most teams to start thinking about this summer's free agent class, but my optimism about the money that the Grizzlies will have when 5 players come off the books this July made me curious about who would be available.

What I found was this summer's free agent class has little to offer.

There are no big names. There are no players who could change the direction of the franchise.

There are a few players who would be a solid investment at 5-6 million. Jamaal Magloire (who embarrassed us last weak) and Danny Fortson could provide the rebounding and the physical presence that the Grizzlies have always wanted (and Tsakalidis hasn't been able to provide). Both have big deficiencies and neither is the missing piece that will take the Grizzlies to the next round. However, for the right price, both could provide something the Grizzlies are missing.

There are other veterans (Desmond Mason, Jeff McInnis, Morris Peterson) who have the potential to be solid contributors, but as I've said before, the Grizzlies aren't lacking in solid contributors.

Similarly, there are some young talents (Darko Milicic, Andres Nocioni) who have an upside. However, many are restricted and accompany a significant risk.

Finally, there are two marquee names: Jerry Stackhouse and Grant Hill. Something tells me they wouldn't be willing to move to Memphis even if they could make Memphis an elite team. Both players a too past their prime for that, and Memphis doesn't need any more former All Stars.

For 2007, the Grizzlies should hold onto their money instead of spending much money in the free agent market. Most players aren't worth more than 5 million, and we've already got Brian Cardinal (who deserves more playing time).

Luckily our most important players are signed through the 2008 season as well. During this offseason (only 4 months away), we'll have to improve through the lottery, trades, rest, and hard work.

For a complete list of 2007 (and 2008 - 2011) free agents, visit

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grizzlies' Payroll Shows Reason for Optimism

(All salary information from this article was taken from

Last week CNNSI obtained the salary information for all teams. The Grizzlies' payroll for the next few years leaves many reasons to be excited.

First, Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry are tied up for the next four years, and Hakim Warrick for three. All except Gasol have bargain contracts. (Gasol's is also worth the money.) The Grizzlies have a talented core with a lot of potential.

Second, two bad contracts are coming off the books this year: Jake Tsakalidis and Eddie Jones. I still don't know why Jake gets any playing time. Jones may still be able to contribute, but not at 13 million. I'm glad he got his pay day. He deserves it. I just wish it wasn't at the Grizzlies' cost since they didn't get (much of) the benefit.

Third, the questions long-term contracts aren't too bad. There certainly aren't any Allen Houston/Mike Dunleavy contracts. The first that stands out is Brian Cardinal's. He certainly hasn't contributed 5 million this year, but he also hasn't given reason to believe that he can't earn a good portion of the money left over the next 4 years.

Similarly, Stoudemire may not be able to contribute enough to justify the remaining two years on his contract. However, there's no reason to believe he can't give 20 valuable minutes and win a few games. At 4 million/year, that won't break the Grizzlies' bank.

Mike Miller is one of the best three-point shooters in the league and has demonstrated both that he can handle the ball and that he's a team player. He's a defensive liability and I'd like to see more offensive output at 8 million per year. However, his contract isn't bad.

The best characteristic of Stromile Swift's salary is that it could have been so much worse. Swift wanted a huge pay day when he left the Grizz last year. However, to say his second run in Memphis has been a disappointment is an understatement. He's a solid back-up veteran, and while he's overpaid, his salary doesn't badly restrict the Grizzlies' flexibility.

All four of these players have enough talent to more than earn their salaries on any given night, but so far are probably not meeting expectations. Still, none of their salaries are so huge the the Grizzlies couldn't work them into trades or, if necessary, buy them out.

One concern raised by the Grizzlies' payroll is that three strong contributors all become free agents this summer. Dantay Jones, Chucky Atkins, and Lawrence Roberts have all out-performed their contracts. Jones started slowly, but has proved to be the defensive stopper that Eddie Jones hasn't been (even if he couldn't guard Dwayne Wade).

These three players all stand a good chance of getting a raise. However, none is the missing piece the Grizz need to build upon the first round playoff team the Grizzlies have been the last three seasons. Therefore, the Grizz should only resign these players if it it doesn't prevent them from adding a star talent with the money they'll have summer.

The Grizzlies will probably add another bargain player with their lottery pick this year. Therefore, they should have a good amount of money to pursue a not quite maximum contract free agent to support the solid players who are already locked up.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gasol Back/Carmelo Out

I saw Gasol's second game back. He looked impressive in 20 minutes against the Heat. The team still looked lost without him, and Atkins had a rare terrible game. More exciting was the final minute of the Denver-New York game. Isiah Thomas must have been reminded of the spectacular fights Detroit had with Philadelphia and Boston in the 80s, the difference being that all three teams in the 80s had something for which to fight.

I don't condemn a good brawl in the heat of competition. In fact, attacking assholes in the crowd excluded, the league is probably too harsh on players who throw a punch when tempers flare. However, the Knicks have no excuse. They should take the beating they deserve from any team that delivers it. Once the Knicks establish themselves as a competitive team instead of the biggest waste of money in professional sports, where players go to die, they can start fights (read: hook opponents' necks) with first round exiters like the Nuggets if they want to.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grizz lose to Portland

I was able to watch the Grizzlies (pitiful) loss to Portland.

They didn't look like a team, though Stoudemire, Atkins, Gay, and sometimes Miller made some nice contributions.

The chief reason for the loss was Mike Fratello.

Fratello's substitutions give the impression that he's watching a stop watch rather than the game. I'm not sure what Jake and E Jones have done in practice to make Fratello think that they deserve 1 minute of playing time, but they certainly don't demonstrate any effectiveness on the court. (It's not like there aren't other players from which to choose.)

Yes Jake is a big body. Yes the Grizz we getting out-rebounded and out bodied badly. But Jake had nothing to offer. He couldn't guard Randolph or Magloire. He couldn't rebound, and he was a huge offensive liability.

I don't remember watching Eddie Jones do anything except throw the ball in.

Stromile Swift also continues to get outplayed and outmanned by bad players.

Why won't Fratello leave Warrick, Gay, Stoudemire, and Atkins in the game?

Please don't take them out for Eddie Jones or Jake. At all.

Reasons to not trade for Iverson

Iverson is a superstar, one of the best in this league. In one of my previous posts, I suggested that the Grizz should trade several of their players for a proven star, and Iverson seems like a great choice. However, abstaining from the Iverson sweepstakes is the right move for the Grizz.

Even with Iverson and Gasol, the Grizzlies won't make the playoffs this year. That means, the Grizz are essentially banking on the following two years with Iverson. However, since Iverson is old, he's likely to decline in each subsequent year so his best year here would end before the post-season.

The Grizzlies are poised to have significant money to pursue free agents in the off-season. taking on Iverson's 20+ million per year would prevent the Grizz from making any significant free agent deal for two and a half years. Therefore they'd be dependent on their current role players and others who'd be willing to sign for the minimum. It difficult (though not impossible) to add contributors by offering the minimum.

The Grizzlies already lose 10-20 million every year. Bringing Iverson would certainly increase revenue temporarily. However, in his first season the Grizzlies would miss the playoffs, and in his subsequent seasons, his level of play would likely fall off. Therefore, he probably wouldn't have time to generate the kind of excitement that would allow the Grizzlies to break even on the deal.

Because of these reasons Iverson isn't the right fit. Two years ago, he would have been a perfect addition. At this point a slightly younger veteran (like Paul Pierce) would be a better investment.

Furthermore, I'd wait until the season ends until trading for a veteran. If a young talent who can contribute for years to come becomes available, we should take him. There's no need to take on the risk of a huge contract/older player when there's no hope of making the playoffs.

Yes, there's no hope of making the playoffs.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

New Ownership Planning to Trade Gasol?

Rumors have been circulating around the internet that Brian Davis plans to trade Gasol if he becomes managing owner of the Grizzlies.

The Commercial Appeal and some national media sources have reported that Davis has privately stated that Gasol isn't popular with fans and is overpaid. Assuming Davis did state this, we can guess that Davis believes other stars, even if they don't perform as well, would sell more tickets in Memphis.

Certainly, other stars in this league have flashier, more athletic games. Jason Richardson's dunks are spectacular. Similarly, other stars have been branded, both by the NBA and themselves, so that they, not their teams, are the big draw when they're in town. No one goes to see the Minnesota Timberwolves when they're visiting. Fans want to see Kevin Garnett.

However, trading Gasol is a mistake.

Gasol has a talent that few players can match in this league. Gasol will win wherever he plays for the next 5 years.

His work during the offseason and his quick recovery from a broken foot demonstrate strong work ethic and a desire to ensure that his team wins.

He's versitile on offense, creating his own shots as well as opportunities for others.

He can score (at a high percentage: > 50%) both facing or with his back to the basket, and can finish with both hands. There are few players in this league anymore at 7 foot who can do that, and many of them are old (Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Rasheed Wallace).

He shoots FTs at a good percentage, especially for a 7 footer (about 75%).

He is a effective passer. He averaged almost 4 assists last year most of which came when opposing players tried to double team him.

Last year Gasol was an All Star because the focus of the team shifted away from Hubie Brown's 'win by committee' style towards a style where Gasol was the focal point. His minutes were increased and more of the plays were run through him.

Gasol was extremely successful in this role, and the team was as well. They didn't match Hubie Brown's 50 win season (missed it by one win), but they also lost their starting point guard to a season ending injury early.

Trading Gasol for draft picks or a combination of player who will be bought out to reduce expenses will set the Grizzlies back as a lottery team for anther 2-3 years. Trading for an established veteran won't save money and will ensure the Grizz are 'stuck' as a borderline playoff team for 2-3 years.

The best strategy moving forward is to pursue (internally or externally) 5 players that will consistently support Gay, Warrick, and Gasol.

I don't believe Davis will be able to trade Gasol before the off season. Sale of the team won't be final before mid January at the earliest. That gives Davis a month to work something out before the trading deadline, which is a short time frame even for someone set on shipping the franchise player. Even if a deal was proposed, trading the franchise player would probably be perceived as foolish so soon after the purchase.

That gives Gasol until the end of the season to demonstrate to ownership that he is the franchise player that I believe he can be.

Finally, if any deal involves sending Gasol to the Knicks, I'll end this blog and become a Milwaukee Bucks fan.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Grizz defeat Wizards

I was able to watch the Grizz 95-80 victory over the Washington Wizards tonight.

Here are some of my thoughts:

First, the good:

Hakim Warrick was really aggressive in the paint. He demonstrated a variety of moves. Hopefully he can become consistent enough to be the Grizzlies' #2 go-to guy behind Pau. Having two guys who can both maneuver in the paint against big bodies, and get to the whole from the free throw line will make the Grizz a tough team, especially with the outside shooters waiting for the kick out.

In addition, the two point guards, Atkins and Stoudemire, were able to score throughout the game both by creating their own shots (Other Grizzlies save Warrick weren't able to do this.) and by hitting the open shot in half court sets. Atkins in particular displayed an explosiveness, getting to the rim easily as he's done in previous game. He's preventing Fratello from second-guessing inserting him in the starting line-up.

Finally, our role players made solid contributions. Notably, Cardinal picked up from where he left off in the last game, hitting the outside shot. Also, D Jones followed up with another strong performance at both ends after playing terribly earlier in the season.

On the downside, Swift still looks a step behind, even against the likes of Etan Thomas and Brenden Haywood. He isn't the strong defensive shot blocker that I hoped would return from Houston. That said, he looks like he has the desire. He jumps at every shot and takes the ball to the front of the rim. He just can't quite get the block and can't finish around the rim.

Second, Warrick played only 32 minutes, 2.5 minutes more than Swift and 12 minutes fewer than Miller. Fratello seems set on keeping his rotation set instead of allowing Warrick and Atkins to play when they're dominating the game. I can't help but think that Warrick and Atkins would've put up All Star numbers if they had played All Star minutes instead of 6th man minutes. Perhaps, Fratello knows something about their conditioning or the teams chemistry that I don't, but on the surface it seems that those players deserve more time when their having games like Friday nights'.

Miller, on the other hand, (with the exception of his impressive three point shooting) is barely putting up better numbers than when he played 7 minutes fewer last season. Tonight, he matched last years' statistical output but needed 13 more minutes to do it. Furthermore, he looked terrible during several defensive sets, and allowed DeShawn Stevenson to double his point average. He did have a few impressive finished around the rim, but still relied heavily on being set up for an open look from outside (where he is consistent and effective).

Finally, I wish Gay's offense would come together. Like Swift, he's aggressive, and he's attacking defenses in a number of different ways. However, he's still not finishing consistently. Tonight, he demonstrated a number of difficult shots, which he converted, but still shot a poor percentage.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Warrick Leads Team to Victory

Since my last post, the Grizz have played 4 games. They dropped 2 against Dallas, defeated Orlando, and lost by three to the East's best team.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch any of the games, but I was impressed to see Warricks performance against the Magic.

H.Warrick F 32:49 11-19 0-0 4-5 4 6 10 1 1 0 3 0 26

Lowry and Jake also had solid games, but Warrick's play so far makes me wonder what the rotation will look like once Pau returns.

Here's my proposal:
PG: Atkins
SG: Miller
SF: Gay
PF: Warrick
C: Gasol

With Gasol at center, this line-up sacrifices some size., and rebound may be an issue. Still, centers in the NBA are getting smaller, and many teams would play their best defender on Gasol regardless of whether he plays center or power forward.

Warrick is demonstrating that he can play with power forwards in the league, and Gasol will benefit from having another consistent scorer in the post to whom he can pass.

Other questions about this line-up include whether Miller will be a defensive liability. Without Swift or Jake defending the lane, perimeter defense will be a higher priority. Gay will be a huge asset here. Lowry will also help when he spells Atkins.

In fact, the point guards may be interchangeable depending on who is performing at the highest level. Atkins is barely edging Lowry currently, and Lowry is providing a huge lift off the bench.

The biggest problem with my proposed starting line-up is that it leaves a bench of:

G: Lowry
F/C: Swift
G Stoudemire
G E Jones
G: D Jones
C: Jake
F Cardinal
F: Roberts

Fratello will undoubtedly (as he's done so far) play all these players, but there's not room for all of them to contribute consistently at a high level. Once Gasol returns, Fratello will either need to establish a pecking order that eliminates the playing time of some contributors or trade some players for draft picks or a combination of players for fewer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Grizzlies drop another in Sacto

The presentation was excellent. The crystal clear HD picture in 106 inches and 5.1 surround sound was stirring.

But everything about the game was terrible. The Grizzlies didn't look like a team.

Stromile Swift tries to be aggressive. His effort is there. He doesn't st but it appears that he just doesn't have the ability to get the job done on offense or defense.

Rudy Gay, who is hasn't yet won any votes for Rookie of the Year, showed some athleticism on defense, but looked to pass first on offense.

Mike Miller proved again that he can shoot the three.

The three most effective players all play the same positions. Chucky Atkins, Damon Stoudemire, and Kyle Lowry all made solid contribution, though not consistently throughout the game.

This frustrated me because a historic problem with the Grizzlies is that they have opted for several above average contributors rather than a few excellent players. Teams that have been successful have a strong starting five that include 2-3 players that can create their own shot and 2-3 strong contributors off the bench.

The Grizzlies have 12 players who are talented enough to play in the NBA but can't excel enough to lead a team. They should trade many for a few. They don't need three point guards. They don't need Miller, D Jones, and E Jones at shooting guard. They don't need Brian Cardinal and Jake to contribute 10-15 minutes a game.

There are many good players who can contribute that time. They should trade a combination of these players to acquire players who can contribute at a high level every night.

Too bad they can't trade anyone until the pending sale is resolved. Shortly after that, Jerry West will step down according to ESPN. Though Jerry West has made solid contributions to this club and should have his number retired for giving life to this franchise, I can't help but think 'fresh eyes' may help the Grizz. (No one could have done so much with so little in such a short time.)

For example why not trade Eddie Jones, Chucky Atkins, and Mike Miller for Paul Pierce or another proven star on a struggling club? The Celtics would never go for that specific trade, but multiple teams can help the Grizzlies get a lot done, and their players have a lot of appeal. Atkins is probably at the peak of his game, and Jones is in the last year of a huge contract.

Finally, what was Fratello thinking when he took Atkins out of the game? This directly demonstrates my point that the Grizzlies have too many players that warrant playing time. (Still, let the man play when he makes 10 of eleven shots.)

You can't create a cohesive team when no one can create a shot and the line-up is a revolving door.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Grizzlies drop 4th straight to Lakers

To add insult to injury, I lost 2 bucks to a friend/Lakers fan/Borat impersonator.

Mike Miller hit a lot of threes, but was pretty one dimensional. The entire offense looked terrible. They couldn't get anything done. Stromile couldn't do anything against Andrew Bynum, and Eddie Jones looks terrible.

I have tomorrow night's game DVRed. It's in HD, we're playing a pretty bad Sacremento team, so hopefully we'll pull out the second victory.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gasol Loses the Boot

Gasol's rehabilitation is ahead of schedule according to the Commercial Appeal. He's working out several hours a day, and no longer wears a protective boot.

I look forward Gasol's return with eager anticipation.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Battier vs Gay

Geoff Calkins, sports editor of the Commercial Appeal, wrote an article that compares Gay to Battier.

He compared their stat lines:

S.Battier F 41:33 4-10 2-5 2-2 2 3 5 2 2 4 1 0 12

17:25 5-10 2-3 0-0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 1 12

Throw in Swift:

22:49 6-13 0-0 3-3 0 2 2 0 4 1 2 0 15

and consider that Battier had over twice as many minutes as Gay, and it seems like Memphis got the better end of the deal.

Granted, a player's value can't be reduced to his stat line. Chemistry and intangible contributions also make the difference between a win and a loss.

Still, we can make some judgement as the season goes on by comparing their averages. My main question after looking at this stat line echoes a subtle point Calkins makes: Why did Gay play only 17 minutes?

Calkins link

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Grizz Lose to Rockets 86-80

The Grizz lost their 3rd game to the Rockets though they had opportunities to win.

I only saw the last 4 minutes on NBA League Pass, but the Grizz made defensive stops only to miss on the offensive end.

When the Rockets weren't stopped, Yao was dominating the Grizz interior. Particularly bad, was a possession where Brian Cardinal tried hopelessly to deny Yao the ball. Yao easily scored on a lay-up.

Also disappointing were Swifts attempts at the offensive end. Even with good position, Swift couldn't get the ball over Yao. Still, it was good to see Swift aggressive at the offensive end late in the game and even better to see him in the game at all.

I can only hope that his 2 rebounds in 22 minutes were the result of getting back into shape.

Miller and Stoudemire continue to have mediocre games, while Gay and Jones had decent games.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Preview: Rockets v Grizz

The Official Grizz site has a preview of Tuesday night's game against the Rockets.

The article points out that Eddie Jones has had a rough start to the season.

What's more important is Swift's return. Without his shot blocking, Yao should dominate the paint. However, his return keeps getting delayed.


Grizz move down in Week 2 Power Ranks

With a losing record after 1 week, the Grizz have moved down in both ESPN and CNNSI's power rankings. They moved from 20 to 22 in CNNSI's rankings, and from 23 to 28 in ESPN's rankings.
Both power rankings were optimistic about the Grizz young players.

The ESPN rank is ridiculous. There's no way the Grizz are worse off than the Warriors, Kings, etc...


Grizz Frontline Performing Well

The Commercial Appearl published an article about the Grizz frontline's strong performance in the absense of Pau and Stromile.

Hakim Warrick has played particularly well which raises questions about what his role will be once Pau returns. Hopefully, he won't be put in a situation like Drew Gooden where his minutes are diminished and he's forced to play out of position.

Hopefully, he can adapt to playing some time at small forward, or Pau can play center.


Grizz Split Games in Weekend Action

I finally got to watch the Grizz play thanks to NBA league pass.

I saw the second half of the Grizz win over the Bobcats and the entire loss to the Pistons.

Mike Miller Redeemed his performance in the opening game with a strong performance against the Bobcats, and the Grizzlies kept pace with the Pistons until the fourth quarter.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Grizz Rookies in first week

The Commercial Appeal has posted an article about Lowry's outlook on the season and Gay's strong performance in Game 1.

Gay made a strong case for starting over Miller who Fratello went with due to experience. Gay played particularly well in the clutch when Miller struggled, and Lowry made a veteren play preventing Crawford from ending the game early.


Power Rankings Preseason

ESPN and CNNSI released Power Rankings just before the season began.

ESPN has the Grizz at 23, while CNNSI places the Grizz at 20. With a loss to the dismal Knicks, they haven't proven either team wrong.

Still, the Grizz' season looks better than the Kings, Bobcats, and Bucks. Of course these power ranks predict a Gasol-less Grizz team.


Grizz lose opener to Knicks in 3 OT

The Grizz lost their first game at home. The trailed by a lot late, but came back to send it to overtime, 3 times. They had all but won at the end of the third overtime, ahead by one when Atkins lost the ball to a steal to Jamal Crawford. Miller missed a last second shot. It wasn't the first he missed.

Even worse than Miller's sad performance (picking up where he left off in the playoffs) was the fact that it wouldn't have been close if the Grizz had shot a reasonal FT percentage.

Also, Swift didn't play do to injury though the Commercial Appeal reports that he's still progressing.

Commercial Appeal
Grizz Official

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another Report about Warrick's Improvements

The Commercial Appeal has another article about Warrick's development over the summer.

Not much new information in the article, just further details about Warrick's workouts this summer.

There's also talk about Warrick's position as a tweener between the two forward spots. The big question will be whether he can guard small forwards on the perimeter. While he's thrived at power forward during the preseason, there may not be much future there with Gasol's return in a couple of months.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cardinal is Back

Reports from the Grizzlies' camps say Cardinal's knee injury midway through the preseason wasn't a lapse related to his injury last season, and he should be ready to go when the regular season begins Wednesday.

Contribution from Cardinal will b huge, not only because of the loss of Gasol, but also because he's another asset that the Grizz couldn't count on last year that can mkae up for the losses of Battier, Wright, and Jackson.

Commercial Appeal Link

Friday, October 27, 2006

ESPN Previews the Grizz Season's contributors have given their predictions for the Grizz this year. In about three sentences each, the contributors pretty much all said the same thing: Pau's absense will prevent the Grizz from making the playoffs. Analysts also mention the loss of veteren players (for nothing in return), and the potential retirement of Jerry West as setbacks for the team.

Personally, I think it's too early to tell if the additions of Rudy Gay and Swift will make up for the loss of Battier and Wright. If they do, that will only leave Bobby Jackson's loss as significant, and I'm ready to grant that the addition of Atkins and Lowry behind Stoudemire won't make up for that loss.

Only Greg Anthony seems positive about the Grizz' chances.

On the other end, Chris Broussard says that the Grizz only won last year with 'smoke and mirrors', and Chris Sheridan ads this: 'Memo to Brian Davis: If your purchase of the team goes through, see what you can get for Pau Gasol. He's already fulfilled his career goal of winning a World Championship for Spain. The Grizz are just his day job.'

Not sure either of these 'critiques' have much meaning, but they sound catchy.


Grizz Donate $$$

According to the Commercial Appeal, the Grizzlies just donated a quarter of a million to local charities. The article quotes states that the Grizzlies are one of the most charitable sports teams and the article goes on to list the local charities to which the Grizzlies have donated.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Stern Hasn't Seen Complete Davis Proposal

According to the Commercial Appeal, Davis hasn't submitted his complete proposal to purchase the Grizz from Majority owner Michael Heisley yet.

Davis has been somewhat quite since his not so quite press conference this summer where he announced his intentions to purchase.


Grizz Redesign Homepage

Check out the new look:


Gasol also a bust

According to CNNSI's predictive equation's Gasol will also have a bad year due to his broken foot.


But rookie Rudy Gay will benefit from Gasol's absense.


E Jones to drop off this season

It seems that all predictions about the Grizzlies are about how they won't be as good this year as they were last.

Kelly Dwyer at CNNSI says that Eddie Jones will have a drop off in his production this season. The last two seasons have seen a significant drop-off in Eddie's production, but it wouldn't be surprising if there was a further drop-off this season, though I wouldn't bet on a significant drop-off from last years 11 ppg average.

Dwyer also said the Grizz were thin at the guard position. I'm not sure how having Stoudemire, Atkins, Jones, Miller, D Jones, and Lowry who can effectively all play at least one guard position makes them 'desperate for guard help'.

Miller alone can play 30 plus minutes at the two guard, but he won't have to while sharing minutes with E Jones who should be about to play at least 20 better than adequately. While D Jones hasn't proven to be consistent for an entire season, he can make up for Miller's defensive deficiencies and contribute off the bench.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wells returns to practice

According to Insidehoops, former Grizz forward Bonzi Wells who left the team on a bad note practiced with the Rockets for the first time since joining the team this summer. He was out for personal reasons.

"Bonzi Wells returned to the Rockets' practice court Tuesday. When he will be ready to be on the court for a regular-season game, however, is as unclear as why he left in the first place." Houston Chronicle

"Wells practiced with the Rockets for the first time since he was excused from practices last Friday, then missed three days of practices and Sunday's game and shootaround. Wells would not say why he needed time off, saying only that the reasons were "personal." But he said he would be ready to play by the Rockets' Nov. 1 season opener at Utah." Houston Chronicle

Grizz defeat 92-82

The Grizzlies won their last preseason game, again with 5 players in double figures. Gay led the team with 16 and D Jones added 15 and 9 rebounds.


Grizz on the decline

According to Paul Forrester at CNNSI, the Grizz are one of two teams that won't be as good this year as they were last year.

Forrester cites Gasol's injury and the youth movement as the major reasons for the decline. However, he also states that the Grizz are the most underrated team.


Bulls defeat Grizz 87-84

Miller scored 23 though he was 1-7 from 3. Jake had 5 fouls and 2 points. Gay and Stoudemire also shot poorly, but according the Commercial Appeal, the team improved.

CA Link


Warrick and Roberts impress team

The Commercial Appeal has an article stating the Warrick and Roberts have been the most impressive in this years camp. Warrick has improved his offense and aggressiveness from his rookie campaign while Roberts has continued to show his desire to rebound every ball.

Also, apparently Fratello refers to Hakim Warrick as 'Hak'.


Kinsey and Harrington battle for last spot

The Commercial Appeal has an article about the battle for the Grizz's last roster spot between guards, Kinsey and Harrington. Barring injury neither will see much playing time behind the guards that the Grizz already have, so it makes me wonder, why spend a guaranteed minimum on these players rather than waiting for an injury, when players who are just as good will be out on the market?

The only explanation I see is to keep someone who is familiar with the plays and has been practicing with the team as a backup. I still can't help but think someone will be available if there's a serious injury, just as Atkins was availalbe last year.

Also the article mentioned that Swift is out again with a knee injury. Hopefully, this is just preventative and he'll be ready when the season starts.


Burks Arrested

Former Grizz third string Point guard Antonio Burks was arrested for not paying a speeding ticket in Memphis suburb, Germantown.

He was recently released by the Heat after playing with them during training camp.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stoudemire Knee?

Here's another article about Musselman's arrest. At the bottom, it mentions that Stoudemire missed Saturday's game because the coaching staff saw 'no reason' to play him two days in a row. It also says the team has been silent about Stoudemire's knee since training camp began, but that he'll play in the last two Grizz preseason games, which are back to back.


Musselman Arrested for Drunk Driving

Former Grizzlies Assistant Coach Eric Musselman was arrested for drunk driving after a preseason win. He's apologized, and rmains the Kings' Head Coach.

I thought he was being groomed to takeover for Fratello, but he left Memphis this summer. Perhaps leaving Memphis drove him to the bottle.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Griz lose 112 - 89 to Magic

The Grizz lost big to the Magic. Few Grizzlies actually played in the game. Mostly rookies and younger players played with Jake, Atkins, and Swift. The young guys had a rough game.

Commercial Appeal

Official Site

Gasol Commercial

Friday, October 20, 2006

CA article about Grizz win over Heat

The Commercial Appeal has published its review of the Grizz win over the Heat. Highlights include Swifts warm reception after a year with the Rockets and fewer turnovers than in their previous games.

Also, Fratello would like to see Gay decrease his 3 point attempts and increase his free throw attempts.


Posey, Williams have moved on

Insidehoops reports this about former Grizz, Williams and Posey:

"When the Heat won the NBA championship last summer, guard Jason Williams had a message for anyone with the Memphis Grizzlies responsible for trading him. "Bonzi Wells [now with Houston], James Posey and I are not cancers! We're not cancers!" Williams said in a delirious Heat locker room. Williams (knee) won't play in tonight's preseason game against the Grizzlies, but Posey returns as a champion. He remembers being traded away with Williams to Miami around the same time Wells was sent to Sacramento in 2005." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"I heard a lot of things and really didn't know where they were coming from," Posey said. "I'm secure with myself and how I approached things. I wasn't a problem on the team, so to hear things like I was hearing was shocking. It was frustrating. It was something that I couldn't control so you suck it up and move on. It is good to go back as a champion." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Scouting Reports from CNNSI: Grizzlies

CNNSI has released scouting reports from NBA scouts from around the league.

They comment on a variety of players, but in my opinion, give too much attention to Brian Cardinal.

On snippet reminds that the Grizzlies were 17 - 10 when Stoudimire was injured. I'm not sure how schedule strength played into that stat, but it's sad to consider the impact Stoudimire could've had.

Miller's defense is also called into question. It will be interesting to see if he's used as trade bait since the Grizz have a lot of depth with D Jones, E Jones, and Gay all commanding time in addition to Miller at the 2 guard/3 forward position. The Grizz have always been unique in that they've been 2 or 3 deep at most positions since their 2nd or 3rd year in Memphis. It would be great to see some of the depth traded for one or two stronger players.


CNNSI Predicts Grizz will finish 12th

CNNSI has released its season preview where it predicts the Grizz will finish 12th in the West.

Most sports writers have written off the Grizzlies because of Gasol's injury, and their position in the most competitive division. However, it's hard to imagine that they'll finish below the Warriors, Hornets, and Kings.


Grizz beat Heat 96 - 95

The Grizz have beat the Heat. Again, they had 5 players in double figures. Gay, Jake, and Swift all returned from minor injuries, but Miller and Cardinal were still absent.

This could mean Cardinal's injury is more serious than originally thought.

Fratello Worried about Grizzlies' Defense

There's an interesting article in the Commercial Appeal about the Grizzlies' defense. It describes the Grizzlies' style of defense last season which depended on the savy of Battier, Jackson and Wright, all of whom have moved on, as well as a solid team effort.

This year, while there's increased athleticism, the team isn't in sync as it was last year. Similarly, there are questions about whether the young guys will listen to Fratello in the last year of his contract.

The Grizz will have Swift's shot blocking which it didn't have from anyone last year, which will help with it's interior defense.


Gasol wants another championship

There's a fluff piece on about how after winning a World Championship with Spain this summer, Gasol is more motivated to win an NBA championship with the Grizzlies.


Gasol's Healing on Schedule

According to the Commercial Appeal, Gasol's foot is healing on schedule. He's able to perform light workouts, but it's still going to be at leat a couple of months.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lowry can get to the basket

There's another article this morning about Lowry's ability to get get to the basket.

It will be interesting to see if he's able to command enough minutes behind Chucky and Damon to make an impact during the regular season. At their age and skill level, it's not impossible. Still, after Troy Bell, Dantay Jones and others have spent the beginning of their careers waiting to break out behind Grizzly veterans, it's hard to imagine that we'll see Lowry reach his potential.


Notes from the CA

The Commercial Appeal is reporting that Gay and Jake are returning to practice. Also, Miller can now where shoes!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gasol ranked 8th

ESPN has Gasol as the 8th best player in the NBA last season based on his stats:


Notes from the Game

The Commercial Appeal also updated with notes from the game. Gay's injury doesn't seem to be serious, and he should be back for Friday's game along with Swift and Cardinal.

Poor free throw shooting hurt the Griz in their loss:


CA article about loss to Bulls

The Commercial Appeal has an article up about the loss. Mostly, it talks about the positive play from Warrick, Johnson, and Roberts in the paint. It will be interesting to see if that play carries over to the regular season when playing time becomes scarce.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Gay out with bruised chest

According to CNNSI, Gay missed Monday's game with a bruised chest.

Griz lose to Bulls 87-78

With 5 players in double figures and Pau, Gay, Cardinal, Miller, Jake, and Swift sitting, the Griz lose their 4th preseason game.

Warrick had a solid game and Johnson had a double-double. Jones on the other hand didn't score in 25 minutes.

Jerry West to Retire

Peter Vescey is reporting in his NY Post column that Jerry West will retire now that Michael Heisley is selling the Grizzlies. His article doesn't offer much insight to the reasons and states that no announcement will be made soon. Vescey references 'a source', but doesn't provide much evidence or detail.

Basically, Vescey just adds to the speculations that are already being made.

Injuries to veterans muddling Griz camp

The Memphis Commerical Appeal has another report from training camp today here:,1426,MCA_475_5069675,00.html

Highlights from this article include:

  • Stromile is heeling, probably won't play Friday, but should be back soon.
  • Jake and Cardinal's knees are flaring.
  • Miller should be back shortly from having his big tonail removed.
  • Fratello is still set on speeding up the offense

What's most concerning is that Cardinal doesn't seem to be as ready as he thought he would be. If Cardinal is in and out of the line up like last season, he'll largely be a non-factor.

This is the first I've heard of Jake's injury so hopefully it's nothing serious.