Thursday, January 18, 2007

Grizzlies' Style Highlights Strength

With all the changes that have taken place, it seems like the same problems haunt the Grizzlies: defense and rebounding.

They had scorers even when the played a slowed-down style. Now their scoring is the focal point of their style rather than a compliment. It's easier to see that their scorers aren't as talented as the Suns and the defense isn't as good as the Spurs. (The good news is that they're better than the 76ers.)

It's also easier to see that when they were 50-32 they weren't too far from 10-30. As Kelly Dwyer explains, the slowed-down style only kept the game close enough to allow the Grizzlies to win it with their offense at the end; it didn't make them a good defensive team.

This may be why the Grizzlies were swept in the playoffs, where defense wins games, three years straight. This may also be a wake-up call for management. The Grizzlies need radical change before they compete with the top teams.

That said, they may have played better defense when Brown and Fratello were counting deflections, and they can probably play defense better now with the players they have than they currently are.

I'm content to watch them run up the court for this season and win a few exciting games. I hope this strategy will allow Gay, Warrick, Johnson, and Roberts to develop into strong, consistent contributors next season, and I think they'll improve over the next 42 games.

However, I also hope the Grizzlies will work harder in the offseason than ever before. Bonzi Wells, Brian Cardinal, and Bobby Jackson won't get the Grizzlies to their first playoff win.

Thanks to the Critical Sports Blog for the shout out.


John said...

While it is true that the grizz are woeful on D, what do you think the fastest or easiast solution to this problem. you suggest "radical changes", this doesn't seem to suggest the draft. Unless we luck into getting Oden which would surely shore up our inside defense and rebounding needs while giving Pau a complimentary post player. I don't see anything radical in the draft to help us. Is there anyonein free agnecy who could offer help? Would it be a matter of finding the hard nosed defenders that may not be much for show on offense like a bruce bowen or someone of his ilk? The problem I think bringing in a veteran defender who even if he is on his decline can work with all of our young talent to motivate them into playing good defense. In the NBA more than any other sport I feel defense is more of a matter of effort than of skill (with obvious exceptions to really slow players like mike miller). Maybe we could look at bringing in a har dnosed defensive assistant coach that will allow us to play defense while keeping the pace on offense. What are your thoughts oh wise one?

David Jones said...

By radical change, I'd suggest getting another star.

I disagree that one player often doesn't make the different on defense, but not always.

The leaders on our team are Pau Gasol and Mike Miller. All the other role players follow their lead because the game, both on offense and defense, start and end with them.

Adding a strong defensive role player, like Bonzi, Earl Watson, or James Posey won't change the chemistry of our team. They won't make us a great defensive team.

However, adding a star, who both leads on offense and on defense, like Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Chauncey Billups - all players who dominate at both ends of the court and lead their teams both by example and direction would have an impact on Gay, Gasol, Warrick, et al. Those Grizzlies, like you say have the ability to defend, but so far haven't demonstrated leadership on the defensive end.

Throughout their time in Memphis the Grizzlies have derived their defensive leadership from their coaches' micromanagement.

My pics for Grizzlies: Kirilenko and Richard Jefferson

They may not fit this bill exactly, but I think they'd be great on both offense and defense, and I think we could swing deals. Look for an article this weekend.

David Jones said...

read: Bruce Bowen doesn't make the Spurs a good defensive team. Tim Duncan, with Bowen, Parker, and others supporting does.