Monday, April 30, 2007

Calkins is Wrong

Geoff Calkins is the sports editor for the Memphis Commercial Appeal. I love reading his articles, and nearly always agree with him. He isn't afraid to contradict conventional thinking or upset his subjects. While he sometimes tries to be too clever in his style, he also plays the tuba (a characteristic he shares with this writer).

However, recently Calkins was wrong. Two times. In one week.

He wrote two columns where he argued that hiring Larry Brown is a good idea. In Calkin's defense, he admits that many will challenge this opinion. However, the problem with Calkins' editorial is that hiring Brown is a terrible idea.

Yes, Brown is a great coach. You can't argue against his record.

You also can't defend Brown's character. Even Calkins admits (and CA writer Ron Higgens explains further) that Brown is famous for interviewing for new teams while coaching their competitors. While that's fine for most professions, when you're making $5 million a year and supposedly leading a team, that's poor sportsmanship.

If we were looking for poor sportsmanship, we'd have kept Jason Williams and Bonzi Wells.

However, there's a bigger reason not to go for Brown. It's time to look beyond veterans past their prime. Not only does Brown favor those veterans, but Brown is himself a veteran past his prime.

Hubie Brown, Jerry West, and Larry Brown are legends and hall of famers. Eddie Jones, Bobby Jackson, Jason Williams, and Bonzi Wells are savvy veterans with boatloads of playoff experience. It's time for the Grizzlies to move on.

It's time for us to be excited about young talent who make their name taking the Grizzlies deep into the playoffs, not players or coaches who made their names before Greg Oden could grow a beard.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Next year will be different

The only certainty about next year's Grizzlies is that the status quo is unacceptable.

Here's what we know will be different:

Jerry West will be gone. He'll help Michael Heisley decide who will be taking basketball decisions next year, who will be coach, and who will be drafted. However, he's essentially a lame duck.

Michael Heisley will take a more active role in the franchise. Heisley says he will take the team 'off the market' in a month. However, he's not actually going to take it off the market. He's still working to sell the team, and every decision he makes will be influenced by that goal. However, he realised during this disaster of a year that you can't run a team by freezing all activity. The best way to market a team is to offer the best product, and you have to be active to do so.

Player acquisition will focus on young talents and veteran superstars. The strategy since Jerry West took over has been to get old players past their primes who know how to win. These players can get you to the playoffs, but they're not exciting or talented enough to get the support of the fans or win a playoff game.

With this change in strategy, Damon Stoudemire, Chucky Atkins, and Brian Cardinal will likely be shipped out of town. Dantay Jones and Stromile Swift may be around, but they will likely be gone after this season if they make it to the February trade deadline.

The biggest change that could affect the Grizzlies is the draft. The Grizzlies have the chance to pick up a superstar that could affect the team the way Carmelo and Lebron have changed the Nuggets and Cavs. However, this outcome is not guaranteed. The Grizzlies' future is dependant on chance. The Grizzlies will certainly get someone who can impact the team. However, they may only get another strong contributor of which they already have too many.