Monday, January 28, 2008

ByeBye Stoudamire

It's been a long time coming. The Grizzlies officially bought out Damon Stoudamire's contract.

Stoudamire was by all accounts a consummate professional even while being relegated to the bench. It's sad to see him go - not because the Grizzlies should have kept him. I've said all along they should have traded him. (ie here and here)

It's sad because Stoudamire is a reminder of the Grizzlies swift decline from up-and-coming to down-and-out. (For details, see here.) Stoudamire was the one free agent that chose Memphis. Yes, he was on the downside of his career, and yes, he had few options. Still he did have options (including Houston), but he saw an opportunity to start at point guard and lead a middle of the pack playoff team - in Memphis - to its first playoff victory.

Unfortunately, with everything working according to plan, Stoudamire went down with a season ending and career altering injury. The Grizzlies were off to a promising start that was abruptly halted when their floor general was taken down. I guess that's the risk you take when you invest in a veteran player, and I'm sure no one is more disappointed than Stoudamire himself that it didn't work out.

So I'm glad Stoudamire is getting another chance. I'm sad it didn't work out the way everyone planned and hoped. I'm disappointed that another Grizzlies investment has turned into a buyout with the Grizzlies getting nothing (save PR and high marks from players) in return. (Didn't Heisley say he wasn't ever going to buyout a contract after Eddie Jones?) Finally, I'm embarrassed that it took me over a year to learn how to spell his name correctly.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Suggest a Dunk to Rudy Gay on YouTube

Rudy Gay is soliciting dunk ideas from fans on YouTube. You submit a video response to Gay's video (below) of you performing your proposed dunk, and if the dunk is chosen, Gay will perform your dunk in the contest and fly you to sit in the audience.

I like the idea. I think it's a great way to inject some creativity into a contest that peaked 15 years ago.

After checking the responses, I don't see any dunks that we haven't seen before. However, I have to admit, it would be nice to see Rudy Gay do this:

Or even the first one of these:

Also, I wouldn't mind seeing Gay dress up in a gorilla costume or gain 80 pounds and dunk on a seven and a half foot goal.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Halfway Through Season, Grizzlies on Pace for 24 - 58

Last season, the Grizzlies were a league worst 22-60. This year, they're on pace to make insignificant gains on that record. (Notably, two teams, Minnesota and Seattle, are vying for a worse record than either Griz squad.)

The Grizzlies' record doesn't demonstrate the improvements they've made. The Grizzlies are playing better basketball, and they have a bright future. Still, the Grizzlies are a terrible team, their record is below what I and I think a lot of folks - including national sports writers but especially fans and people within the organizations - expected.

Monday's game against the Bulls gives hope that the Grizzlies can be better than their record. They were fun to watch and clearly the superior team. They played team basketball.

Even Stromile Swift looked good. Almost everyone (save maybe Darko Milicic) put together a solid effort. They were able to win without playing the best game of their careers, and they didn't make some second rate bench player for Chicago look like Michael Jordan.

If I remember correctly, the season before the Grizzlies made their first playoff appearance, they began playing competitively with better teams. They lost many close matches, and they finished the season stronger than they started. There's reason to believe the same could happen this season. Their early schedule has been tougher than rest of the season, they are keeping many games close, and they're starting the become comfortable with Iavaroni's system.

Still, the bottom line is that halfway through the season, the Grizzlies are a disappointment, and they can't be complacent. They can't assume next year will be different.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Grizzlies are Terrible

Sure, there are reasons to be optimistic. Yes, the Grizzlies have improved incrementally over last year.

But I'm sure as hell tired of waiting for next year. It's becoming an annual tradition. - hoping for a better future - waiting for that missing piece - longing for excitement to ignite the fan base.

The Grizzlies are a bad team. Being a fan is not fun. They don't play defense. They can't finish in the clutch, and they lose. Constantly.

So what the fuck is going to happen to change this piss poor excuse of a franchise? (I won't bother looking the record breaking losing percentages the Grizzlies own for the regular season and the playoffs.)

What are teams - the Lakers, Suns, Spurs, Jazz - doing differently to maintain playoff contenders with only slight interruptions going on two decades? All teams go through bad spells, but not all teams (though the Grizzlies aren't alone) consistently have bad teams.

One things for sure, the Grizzlies need to be actively seeking change. They can't fall in love with players at the expense of improving. When Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen become available, they have to trade away promising young stars, future draft picks, and salary cap relief.

Yes, there's reason for hope, but there's a shitload more reason to not give a fuck.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Conley Starts!

The Grizzlies are undefeated in 2008, and Conley is there starting point guard.

It seems that Coach Marc Iavaroni read this blog's request in deciding to start Conley who had an impressive stat line in his first start.

Conley had 7 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and only one turnover.

According to the Commercial Appeal, not only was Stoudamire benched, but he also was put on the inactive list despite being healthy enough to play. He seemed at peace with the move. Could there be a deal in the works to send Stoudamire to a contender?

It would be sad to see him go, though not as sad as seeing him fall two years ago. Also, it probably makes sense for both him and the Grizzlies is a deal can be worked out.

Regardless, this is a highlight of the season where highlights have been few and far between.