Monday, March 05, 2007

Last Year's Team Was Different

Just one year has resulted in significant changes in the performance of the Grizzlies. The record of this year's Grizzlies team is remarkably different from last year's team. With a high probability of a high draft pick in a deep draft, trade demands from the franchise player, a new coach, and possible changes in the front office, next year holds the potential for another big change.

In this article, the first of three, I'll remember last season, in hopes that it will shed some light on the huge difference in the results the Grizzlies have produced.

Here are some of the characteristics that distinguish last year's team from this year's. What's interesting is that they aren't dramatic.

1. Last year's team had three veterans that made significant contributions.

Shane Battier
Bobby Jackson
Lorenzen Wright

None of these veterans were flashy. Two of them were past their primes. None of them made statistical contributions that stand out among the 5th, 6th, or 7th men of the league. However, each of them provides intangibles that aren't quantifiable and contributed significantly, though not exclusively, to the difference between last year's playoff team and this year's league-worst squad.

2. Only one coach led the team. Mike Fratello conducted his first training camp. In the previous season he'd inherited a team from Hubie Brown. Last year's team benefited from consistency throughout the year from one coach.

3. The Grizzlies had their first All Star. Previously Shareef Abdur-Rahim put up All Star numbers. However, coaches and fans consider team performance when they select All Stars, and none of Abdur-Rahim's teams won more than 23 games. Pau Gasol was the best player on a Grizzlies team destined for its third straight appearance, and improved upon numbers that in the previous two seasons were borderline All Star numbers.

These characteristics don't seem like the missing pieces that would turn the worst team in the league into a playoff team, and they aren't the only variables that affected the Grizzlies' decline. However, they had a significant impact on the Grizzlies' appearance in the 2006 playoffs.


Curt said...

There's no way in hell this was posted on March 5. You are a liar.

And if Battier is a veteran, does that make Gasol a vet?

It's about damn time David.

David Jones said...

This post was started as a draft on March 5th. I'm not sure why Blogger considers that to be the date it's written.

Yes, Gasol is also a veteran.

I know. I've been busy.

Julien said...

David, I cover European basketball here in Europe and I'd like to get in contact with you.

I guess things would have been easier if there was any contact address anywhere on this blog !?! :-)

Anyway please contact me at as soon as you can.

Sorry for posting my request in the middle of the comments part.

Take care