Sunday, October 14, 2007

Brian Cardinal and Stromile Swift

No two players personify Grizzlies fans' frustrations more than Brian Cardinal and Stromile Swift.

Cardinal reminds us of Jerry West's miss calculations, Drew Gooden and the countless veterans who were good enough to mask the Grizzlies' deficiencies but too old to win a playoff game or inject some excitement into the fan base.

He also reminds us of the injuries that have stunted the Grizzlies' growth. Pau Gasol's and Damon Stoudemire's injuries had the biggest impacts on the team, but no Grizzly (well, other than Bryant Reeves and Michael Dickerson) has missed more games due to injury than Brian Cardinal. In each of his three seasons, Cardinal played in 56, 38, and 28 games. Even when he has played, he's been hampered by injury.

Stromile represents a whole different set of frustrations. He has an athleticism that few players equal, yet at his best, he's never been more than a serviceable back-up big man. Every year it's the same questions: Will this be the year that Swift reaches his potential? Will Swift shake the criticism?

Those questions can be ask of the Grizzlies as a team as well. Every year: Will this be the year the Grizzlies break out? The Grizzlies have had some success. They've made the playoffs 3 of the last four seasons. However, they haven't shaken the label of a young developing team. They haven't been known as winner. Since the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, even when they were old, they were known as a young team with potential.

The Grizzlies need to demonstrate that they can perform at that next level. They are no longer an expansion team. It's no longer about the future.

The same can be said about Cardinal and Swift. If Cardinal matches his best season, and if Swift matches his best 5 game stretch with consistency, the Grizzlies cal reach that next level.

9 comments:

John said...

Personally, I don't see eithe of these gentlemen significantly improving this year. The offense we are going to employ would seem to benefit Stromile, but I just don't see him making the commitment to working hard every time out on the floor. So once again he will show flashes of greatness with a lot of garbage thrown in the middle. As for Cardinal, he was suppose to be like Battier. A fan favorite that did all the little things needed to win close games. Sadly it has not worked out that way whether it is from injuries or jst not being as good as West thought. Again even if he stays healthy I don't see him playing huge minutes or doing a whole lot besides being a decent bench player. I think these two guys are the grizz of yore and we are a team moving forward. Cut the dead weight.

David Jones said...

You may be right, though it looks like Iavaroni is interested in starting Swift.

I really liked the Grizzlies' stats from yesterday.

Even though they were playing the team I have annointed the worst team in the league, they had solid rebound, block, steal, and assist numbers.

Gasol's stat line was great.

John said...

I think Navarro is going to be what mike miller wishes he could be and will see increased minutes as the year progresses.

David Jones said...

I hope so - it's hard to judge based on 3 games, but he's been exciting so far.

bkatz said...

With the Kobe trade discussion brewing again, Chad Ford mentioned the Grizz as a possible destination today on ESPN.com. The trade would be Conley Jr., Gay, Miller, and Warrick for Kobe.

While it would be great to pair Gasol with another All-Star and possibly the greatest talent in the NBA today (notice I didn't say greatest player), I do not like the deal. There are far too many possible negative outcomes with this deal. If the Grizz don't make the playoffs, Kobe will want to go elsewhere and I'm not too sure about his contract. Can we afford to resign him when his contract expires?

Also, if we make the deal, you gotta believe that team is thinking short term and not long term. Why jeopardize the young talent on the Grizz. Why give two potential all-stars (Gay & Conley) and an already proven player (Miller) away for a talented, but whiny player. The only good thing I see from this deal is putting butts in the seats (which is the only reason I'd consider this deal if I'm Heisley) and making a strong playoff run. But, it's going to be tough to win the West right now with how good San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, and Houston are, not to mention Portland when they get fully healthy.

Bottom line: I can see the logic in doing the trade and not doing the trade. If Heisley really is committed to Memphis and wants to build this team for the future, then he doesn't make the deal. If Heisley wants the revenue to increase because he's tired of losing money and wants to make a playoff run right now, then he makes the deal. I say build for the future and forget Kobe. I'd like to know what everyone else thinks...

John said...

Well first Kobe would have to agree to come to Memphis since he has a no trade clause which is a long shot considering we are a small market team and Jerry West is gone. Also I imagine the lakers are less inclined to deal with a team from the west. Looking past that and assuming all parties agree, you have him for three years. Kobe and a dominant inside presence = playoffs every year even in the west. We still have damon running the point and lowry there as well. Losing miller doesn't hurt as much with Navarro (though he still is unproven). Cardinal is suppose to be healthy and Ivaroni likes his scrappiness so he takes warrick's minutes. Stromile and Darko stay at Center. We lose depth at the 2/3 in exchange for top level talent. Gay could be an allstar put he could stay as a 16/6/3 type of player. Also we sell jerseys, tickets and win a playoff game. I think if you can get Kobe without losing Gasol you do it. A few pieces fall in to place and you are title contender.

David Jones said...

I couldn't have said it better than John did.

If you can get Kobe, you have to take Kobe. I agree that we'd still have a playoff team without those other pieces. AND we're not sure they're going to be All Stars.

Also, Kobe makes everyone around him better. Look what he's done for Luke Walton. Translate that to Darko.

But it's all mute given the no-trade clause.

Justin said...

I agree with John and David, with extra emphasis on the star factor. I think the fact that we would get a player that is globally recognized would be worth it. And the exposure the team would get, I think, would increase the likely hood other players would want to play here.

The only disagreement I have, which is generally and not specific to John, is "in-conference trade hesitation" argument. I remember when this came up last year with Iverson being traded to the Celtics. Why is this relevant? If you trade a veteran for many young player, it's not like you have a chance of competing anyway. By the time the young players are ready to compete for playoffs/titles, the vet. is diminishing. Last, how 'moot' do you think this discussion is, if Kobe really thinks he can win now? (which I think is a real possibility coming to the Grizzlies).

David Jones said...

I think Kobe would put us slightly below the top teams in the league. We still wouldn't be a contender like say, the Bulls of Suns would be.

More important, Kobe probably doesn't think we'd contend even at that level.

Finally, I think the small market plays a factor. If we still had West, we'd have an outside chance...