Monday, June 16, 2008

David Loves the Grizzlies

I have recently received feedback that has been a bit of a downer. In response I can only say that it's been tough to be optimistic given recent Grizzlies history.

That said, I thought it would be worthwhile to review some of the good basketball achievements the Grizzlies have made during their stay in Memphis. Doing so doesn't excuse the current state of affairs or the bleak outlook, but it does perhaps provide some perspective about what can happen to turn things around.

This list isn't exhaustive, but here are a few solid moves that stand out in my mind.

  • Hiring Hubie Brown: Brown is a class act, and took the franchise from lottery to playoffs.

  • Hiring Jerry West: West's tenure wasn't a success by the standard he sets as basketball exec. However, the Grizzlies should be commended for pursuing (and successfully de-retiring) the greatest exec in NBA history, even if he didn't turn out to be the greatest in the twilight of his career.

  • Trading for Rudy Gay: Time will tell how good a move West's last significant player personnel change was. So far, the outlook is promising.

  • Drafting Pau Gasol: 2001 turned out to be a deep draft, but Gasol is as good as anyone taken behind him. Anointing Gasol the franchise and awarding him with a max contract was a mistake, but Grizzlies wouldn't have been better off with Jason Richardson, Richard Jefferson, or Zach Randolph. Besides, if the Grizzlies hadn't drafted Gasol, they couldn't have turned him into salary cap flexibility 8 years later. Then, where would we be?

  • Achieving 4th best record in the Western Conference (2006): The Grizzlies' history might be different if they had played the LA Clippers with home court advantage in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. 2006 wasn't their best season by record, but in terms of relative position by rank, the Grizzlies finished as close to the top as they have, above teams like the Lakers and the Kings. The Grizzlies finished 3 games behind the NBA Champion Miami Heat, who coasted to 2nd place in the East against a weak conference. Instead of playing the Clippers, who tanked their way to two games behind the Grizzlies, Memphis was swept by Dallas, who had won 11 more Games than the Grizz, and lost to the Heat in the Finals.
NBA Commissioner David Stern says the playoff format should allow the best teams to advance. Davey: In the words of Vice President Dick Cheney,"Go Fuck Yourself."

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