Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Grizz hire Iavaroni

The Commercial Appeal is reporting.

I think this is a good move for the Grizzlies. If Iavaroni doesn't pan out, it won't be Heisley's fault. I like that Heisley is taking a chance on someone who has potential to have a big impact.

Let's hope this is the start of more to come...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Adding a Superstar: Part Five: Kobe Bryant

A report from Fan Nation claims Bryant says he'd only agree to a trade to one team. We can guess those teams aren't the Heat or the Spurs, so that gives us a 1 in 27 chance of being a potential destination for the best player in the league. Not quite as good as our chances of getting the #1 or #2 in last week's draft lottery, but slightly better than our chances arranging a trade with Portland or Seattle between now and late June.

While many dislike Bryant's character, his talent is undisputed. Like Michael Jordan, Bryant is arrogant and an asshole. Also, like Jordan, he's unstoppable, and makes those around him (read:Smush Parker) better. It turns out being an asshole helps out when motivating a group of 20-something professional athletes. Unlike Jordan, Bryant hasn't maintained a favorable image in most news media, but that's a story for another blog.

Like the other superstars examined, Bryant would have an immediate effect on the Grizzlies. He'd compliment Pau Gasol's post game. He can create plays for himself and others. He's proven he can play without a dominant play-making point guard (even when he was winning championships). He'd also shore up the Grizzlies porous perimeter defense and open the paint on offense with penetration and outside shooting, allowing the Grizzlies' weak rebounders to move up from the bottom of the league.

Bryant would have a bigger impact than any other player. Besides being a top player at both ends of the floor, Bryant would bring much needed leadership. Perhaps Bryant could motivate the Grizzlies bigs to improve defense in the paint. With Bryant, the Grizzlies would likely advance to the second round of the playoffs, however, the Grizzlies have enough talent to compete with the top teams if Bryant's leadership motivated the Grizzlies to improve as a team in the right areas.

What do you think? Are their other players on this list or other players not mentioned who'd have a bigger impact on the Grizzlies? Add a comment with your thoughts.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Adding a Superstar: Part Four: Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan is the most dominant big man in the league. He scores at will around the basket, with an arsenal of back to the basket moves. With Duncan and Gasol, the Grizzlies would have two players that teams must double team in the post. The Grizzlies would have 45 points per night from low post scoring, which is almost unheard of in today's guard-dominant game. (Points in the paint today come from athleticism, slashing guards or high-flying forwards, not post-up offense.)

Duncan is also consistently one of the best rebounders in the league and provides solid interior defense. He's been on the All-Defensive First Team seven times in his 9-year career.

With 3-4 assists per games, Duncan would have no trouble finding Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, and Pau Gasol for open shots.

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies wouldn't win the championship with Duncan. They'd certainly be a top team, but the Spurs aren't assured the championship and their team is much deeper without Duncan than the Grizzlies. Manu Ginobli and Parker could both be All Stars any season, while only Gasol is an All Star for the Grizzlies.

Like the Grizzlies, the Spurs have some aging stars, but Michael Finley's current level of play fits his role better than Damon Stoudemire's. Similarly, it's better to have specialists whose skills are defending wing players (Bruce Bowen) and hitting game-winning threes (Robert Horry) than specialists whose skills are dunking (Stromile Swift) and jumping (Dahntay Jones).

Duncan would definitely make the Grizzlies a top team, but one other player in the league would have a bigger impact on the team.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Two days later...

It seems like the consensus is that the Grizzlies will definitely get a good player at #4, maybe even a great player. Certainly, great players have come from the #4 pick or even later.

However, I don't find much comfort in this. The Grizzlies are still the worst team in the league. Last time they added a 'good' player in the draft, it turned out to be Drew Gooden.

What's more troubling is Geoff Calkin's report that Michael Heisley is looking at PJ Carlisimo because Marc Iavaroni is too expensive. Now, I'm not certain Iavaroni is the best candidate (he's seems like a good choice.), and over-paying is not a great strategy (though it's probably one the Grizzlies will need to employ), but is PJ Carlisimo the great innovator that's going to bring the Grizzlies out of the cellar?

The Grizzlies will probably have to hire additional agents to handle all the season ticket requests once they announce Seton Hall's Coach of the Century will be taking the reigns. Stars will be begging to come play for the coach that drove Latrell Sprewell to attempted murder. (Okay, maybe that wasn't a big step for Sprewell.)

Carlesimo's NBA record speaks for itself: 183-222 (.452). He does have one thing the Grizzlies don't - post season wins. 3 of them. He was 3-9, and one time, he was one game away from winning a 5 game series with the Trailblazers.

I'll grant that Iavaroni's record is 0-0. However, he also doesn't have baggage. He's coming from a winning organization,. He has a vision that's exciting. He's a fresh new face that the Grizzlies will be able to declare their own (if he makes good). People will know Iavaroni as the guy who coached the Grizzlies, not the guy who got choked, the guy who interviews during the season, the guy who has a Russian nickname from his TV job, or the best NBA executive ever (for the Lakers).

Heisley is going to have to do better than PJ Carlesimo. He's going to have to invest some effort and money into the Grizzlies future since he didn't win the draft. Then, maybe someone will want to buy it from him.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Nightmare Continues...

Ever wonder what it feels like to have a sphincter the size of the Liberty Bowl?

At this point, the Grizzlies know that feeling.

Just like the Suns, the Grizzlies were just on the receiving end of a swift kick in the ass by the league. It kind of reminds me of that time the Grizzlies were the 4th best team in the West and played the 2nd ranked Dallas in the first round of the playoffs instead of the fifth ranked Nuggets. Dallas won 11 more games than the Grizzlies and Memphis won 5 more than the Nuggets that year.

As asinine as David Stern is (There's a reason no one cares about the NBA.), he's not the individual who deserves the bulk of the blame for this recent shit storm that has rolled into Memphis, and no one wants to hear multimillionaire and their fans whine about their plights.

Instead we should place the blame on the individual who had control of the situation: Michael Heisley.

Tonight reinforces something most people learn shortly after they turn 21. Winning the lottery is a terrible strategy for improving your situation.

Also, when you're trying to up sell the value of your business, you shouldn't reverse development and growth.

So what can we do?

Don't buy season tickets. Don't buy tickets at all. Don't even buy NBA league pass. Wait until this organization puts forth a valuable product.

Tonight, the Grizzlies are franchise no one wants to own , running a team no one wants to watch, playing in a city where no player wants to live.

I guess there's always next year...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tomorrow Night & An Explanation

In honor of the biggest day in the history of the Grizzlies, davidlovesthegrizzlies will be taking a break from the 'Adding a Superstar' posts.

However, I understand from the feedback of some faithful readers that there is confusion and frustration over this series. I just wanted to clear up the point of the series.

The purpose of these articles is to consider what superstars would have the biggest impact on the Grizzlies, not consider the following:

  1. which players the Grizzlies should pursue
  2. which players the Grizzlies have a (any) chance of acquiring
  3. the top 5 players in the league
I realize that speculation with no basis in reality represents all the worst of fan blogs. However, perhaps by considering the impact that some of the league's best would have on the Grizzlies, we can learn what to look for in the players that the Grizzlies should and can acquire.

Even if there's no chance that Lebron will ever suit up as a Grizzly, knowing that his play making ability benefits the Grizzlies more than Dwayne Wade's ability to get to the hoop tells us something about the types of players the Grizzlies should pursue.

Also, it may be some help for those of you with NBA Live 2007 Franchises.

So what current stars do you think would have the biggest impact on the Grizzlies? Click 'comment' below and add your votes.

Let's hope luck bounces the Grizzlies way Tuesday, and they're able to add a star that exhibits some of the qualities of the league's current best.

Adding a Superstar: Part Three: Lebron James

The Grizzlies were one pick away from Lebron James. Had they won that lottery, they wouldn't have forfeited their pick to Detroit (which turned into Darko). They'd also be competing against the Jazz in the second round.

James brings help to all the areas where the Grizzlies need it the most, mostly because he does everything. He's a play-maker from the forward position, which makes up for Stoudemire's and Atkins' deficiencies. He's also be the Grizzlies' second best rebounder behind Gasol. He can shut down the best of scorers in the league, and he can score at will.

The Grizzlies' without James are better than the Cavs without James. Larry Hughes is a solid player, but not as good as Gasol. Z and Gooden aren't much better, if at all, than Mike Miller and Rudy Gay. Plus, the Grizzlies are much deeper.

In the East, the Grizzlies would be second only to Detroit. In the West, they'd be able to compete with Dallas, Phoenix, and the Spurs. Whether they beat those teams would depend on how dominant James was. He sometimes disappears from games when he should be willing his teams to victory the way Steve Nash and Baron Davis do. He has the skill to beat anyone in the league, so with James, the Grizzlies would be just outside of the league's best teams.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Adding a Superstar, Part Two Steve Nash

Steve Nash is the best point guard and the best play-maker in the league, and the Grizzlies are in bad need of a dominant point guard and play-maker. Not only would Nash make every Grizzly a better player, but he'd be an unstoppable threat in the paint and from the three point line.

Nash's play making ability would transform the Grizzlies' fast break experiment into a lethal offense. Imagine alley-oops to Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick, drive and dishes to Mike Miller for three, and low post feeds to a seven foot Spaniard who can finish with both hands.

There are two problems with adding Nash. First, he doesn't help the Grizzlies' interior defense or rebounding.

Second, the Grizzlies minus Nash aren't as good as the Suns minus Nash. Even during the season before Nash arrived, the Suns finished with a better record (29 wins) than this year's Grizzlies (22 wins). Nash would instantly put the Grizzlies back into the playoffs, and they'd certainly break their playoff losing streak, but they'd still lose to this year's Suns, so they wouldn't win the championship.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Adding a Superstar, Part One: Dirk Nowitzki

The first player that would have the biggest impact on the Grizzlies is also the biggest dud of the 2007 playoffs: Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk would instantly make the Grizzlies a top five team. Combined with Gasol's back to the basket game, and Miller's three point-shooting, Dirk would give the Grizzlies an unguardable offense.

Additionally, Dirk would add much needed rebounding. Though he panders to his outside game, he still manages to rebound the ball extremely well.

He also doesn't need a strong play-making presence to be good. His best seasons have been with Jason Terry, not Steve Nash, so Dirk could dominate for the Grizzlies even though Damon Stoudemire and Chucky Atkins aren't All Star play makers.

Anyone who saw this year's playoffs knows that Dirk wouldn't lead the Grizzlies to a championship. Still, Dirk would easily get them to the playoffs, and out of the first round. With Gasol in the post, the Grizzlies might even have a better shot at beating the Warriors (though the Mavs still probably match up better against the Suns, Spurs, and Pistons).

The probably wouldn't have won 67 games, but with Dirk, the Grizzlies would have been a top team.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Adding a Superstar: Intro

I've posted many times that the Grizzlies need a superstar to get them to the next level. In the next 5 posts, look at some of the superstars and how they'd affect the Grizzlies if they joined last year's squad.

For the purposes of this list, I won't look at players from all of the best teams, only individual's I think would make the biggest impact. For instance, Chauncey Billups, the best player on the Pistons, would definitely make the Grizzlies a much better team. However, he's not a superstar; the Pistons rely on his ability to lead a strong group of players who have all been All Stars and different times in their careers.

Similarly, Baron Davis wouldn't impact the Grizzlies in the same way he's impacted Golden State because of Golden State's style of play, and Jason Kidd's age reduces his impact on the young Grizzlies' team.

In fact, of the five I'll examine, only one player would solidify the Grizzlies at the top of the league, though each of the five would help the Grizzlies compete with the top teams.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I had a Dream

This morning I had to wake up at 6:15 for an early meeting at work. As a result, of the change in my sleeping schedule, I remembered my dream. It involved a trade:

To the Heat
Mike Miller
Dahntay Jones

To the Grizzlies
Shaquille O'Neal

First the obvious:

  1. The salaries don't match up.
  2. The Heat would never trade a sports legend for someone with hair that bad, even if he's a University of Florida legend. Even if you throw in Dahntay Jones.
  3. The Grizzlies are better off without the aging superstar and his $60 million contract. (Still, the thought of Shaq next to Gasol is intriguing, and they'd be hard pressed to say no. Shaq has proved doubters wrong in the past and therefore deserves the benefit of the doubt.)
Now the less obvious, but more troubling:

Shaq would never agree to play in Memphis.

Shaq, and other veteran superstars don't want to play for the worst team in the league, even if it has a bright future, especially if the worst team calls Memphis its home. A Veteran superstar will only take a chance with a bad team (ie The Knicks) if it affords them the opportunity to play in a large market (ie New York).

A younger superstar may take a chance in Memphis if another team can't match the Grizzlies' offer. The chances that a more desirable market can't outbid the Grizzlies are slim.

A second tier (or lower) player would be happy to be overpaid in Memphis. The Grizzlies have a great group of these type of players most of whom aren't overpaid (yet).

So how do the Grizzlies obtain a superstar player when they're an undesirable market losing one of their biggest attractions in Jerry West?

There are three options:
  1. The Number 1 Draft Pick
  2. The Number 2 Draft Pick
  3. Trades
All three options are tough to pull off, but let's hope the Jerry West's last move is more Hubie Brown than Brian Cardinal.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Winning the Lottery

So much of the Grizzlies' fortunes depend on their ping pong ball being drawn on May 22. Only fans' good luck charms can help the Grizzlies' in their goal.

Greg Oden and Kevin Durant have the potential to make the impact that Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and and Dwayne Wade have made on their teams. The Grizzlies would instantly change from the worst team in the league to a top ten team. They already have a solid base of players. With a superstar, they could contend with the best if not compete for a championship.

However, chances are better than 50% that the Grizzlies won't get either player. They only have a 46.5% chance of getting either the first or second pick. In fact, few teams with the worst record in the league have actually ever received the number one pick.

So what should the Grizzlies do if they don't get the pick?

They are almost certain of another lottery pick next year if they don't get a top pick. Therefore, they should trade Gasol. His trade value is peaking, and he can't lead them to further than the first round without significant help. The Grizzlies should trade him for young talent with potential and draft picks. That will give them a chance to get a superstar in another draft lottery. Additionally, it will free up cap space to sign a legitimate superstar. Perhaps the Bulls will be ready to gamble on Gasol once the Pistons sweep them out of the playoffs.

Unfortunately, even if they free the cap space, convincing a Lebron-James-caliber-player to sign with Memphis may be less likely than the winning the NBA draft lottery...