Sunday, October 28, 2007

Conclusions from the Grizzlies' Preseason

There are three stories that have emerged from the preseason.

  1. Rudy Gay has improved.
  2. The point guard rotation is a work in progress.
  3. The Grizzlies are still inconsistent.
1. Rudy Gay has improved.

Gay has been impressive in his preseason play. He's led the team in scoring, but has also contributed assists, rebounds, blocks, steals, and three point shooting.

He's still not even the fourth best three point shooter on the team, but he's come a long way from the player that would make Fratello cringe every time he took a shot that wasn't a dunk.

The emergence of Gay is key for the the Grizzlies development. If Gay turns out to be a flop, that sets the Grizzlies back another couple of years. However, it looks like Gay may be almost ready to take on the role of the Grizzlies' number 2 guy.

More than any other player (save Gasol), Gay has the all the characteristics (ie skill, size, athleticism) to be dominant. Mike Miller is not quite dynamic enough to be a great number two player, but Miller will excel as the Grizzlies' third option. Gay has the all around game to be Gasol's number two, and he appears to be on his way.

2. The point guard rotation is a work in progress

Coach Iavaroni has all but decided that Damon Stoudemire will start with Kyle Lowry coming off the bench and Conley filling in where he can. However, the only certainty is that the point guard rotation is a work in progress. Though reports suggest Stoudemire has improved upon last season, he's bound to have nights where his body doesn't respond as well as the Grizzlies need.

I wouldn't bee surprised if Stoudemire isn't starting by December. Lowry is being touted as a defensive specialist a la Earl Watson. However, at this point I think Watson comparisons are sand-bagging Lowry's potential.

I'd also bet that once reality sets in and Iavaroni realizes the Grizzlies aren't going to win 50 games, he opts to give Conly more experience at the point.

3. The Grizzlies are still inconsistent.

The Grizzlies still rely too heavily on offensive weapons. As a result, there are huge swings.

One day the Grizzlies are dominant, the next they're being destroyed by a mediocre Pacers team. The Grizzlies' swings aren't daily either. The Grizzlies can be a completely different team from one quarter to the next.

The steady areas of basketball that teams rely on during times of adversity, free throw shooting, defense, and rebounding, are still the Grizzlies' worst areas.

The Grizzlies are young and most are new to one another, so there's hope that they can develop these areas, but the preseason demonstrated that the Grizzlies' weaknesses haven't yet been overcome or even masked by Iavaroni's new system.

I'm excited to see how it comes together during the first 10 games of the season...

Unfortunately, I won't be able to catch the first game on League Pass, but if any one is able to attend and get a photo, please email me, and I'll post them to this blog.


Justin said...

Great post! I'm pretty excited about the upcoming season, and I hope they do as you said, which is to explore Stoudemire trade options. Also, everyone buy as many Portuguese phone cards as your money can buy!

Dave said...

I am glad to see that you have accepted that the Grizzlies will not win 50 games this season... hopefully they can gun for 30?!?!

David Jones said...

Thanks Cho,

I'm also glad to see Penny got a roster spot.

Dave, I think 30 is reasonable for the Grizz, and I think 40 would be a huge success. Remember I have the Grizzlies slotted at 18th in the league, which based on last season, is ~38 wins I think.

My NBA Live 2008 dynasty will do much better.

bkatz said...

Bill Simmons from seems to think that 40 wins is not enough. In his NBA preview article (see link), he projects the Grizz to get 42 wins and make the playoffs as the # 7 team in the West.

When the Sports guy says it, you know it's gotta be true...

Curt said...

David, I will get you a photo of me and Melissa Feiler sitting on the second row behind the bench. And I will get you a photo of Darius Washington. And I will get you a photo of you not calling me on my birthday, jerk!

David Jones said...

I think 42 wins is a stretch, but I'd love to see it happen.

Let's see how the Grizz respond to this loss...