Monday, November 24, 2008

Back To Reality

The Grizzlies are back to being the Grizzlies. When the Grizzlies lost to a Tony Parker-less Spurs team last night, it confirmed what anyone with a brain knew 2 weeks ago: the early season success was a fluke.

Here are a few key strategies the Grizzlies should employ to turn things around. 

1. Fire Coach Marc Iavaroni.

He seems like a really smart, reasonable guy who is a hard worker. He's also lost a lot of games, including many close games, and he's been doing it for over a year. You don't lose with such consistency for this long and keep your job in the NBA. 

With this young team, a success would be getting these players to over achieve. Iavaroni has not done that. The Grizzlies have not only lost close games, they've also been blown out by mediocre teams and teams missing their best players. 

This is not a playoff team with any coach, but there's someone out there who can get more from the group, and I haven't seen any games where I thought, "Gee, this is good coaching."

2. "Starbury" Darko.

Remember when Al Gore gave a speech at Columbia University about Global Warming on the coldest day of the year a while back? I'm going to do the same thing and call for the Grizzlies to permanently bench Darko after his best game of the year.

As a Grizzly, Darko has proved to be good for one thing: guarding Tim Duncan and a handful of players like him. It's not worth it. It's time to move on. Bench him. Waive him. Or trade him.

3. Trade for a shooter and move OJ Mayo to starting point guard. Inevitably, either Conley or Lowry will have to be traded. The Grizzlies can make do with either in a back up role. However, Mayo has proven to be the best and only play maker of the back court.

Mayo is the best because, unlike the other point guards, when he penetrates, he actually finds his teammates or scores the basketball. Lowry scores occasionally, and Conley finds teammates occasionally, but neither does both with any consistency, and by the way, mostly they just stand at the three point line and pass the ball to Mayo.

Therefore, package one or two of them and any body else not named Mayo, Gay, or Gasol, and get a bonafide shooter. 

4. There's one more problem that needs to be solved, but I can't quite pinpoint it. It's related to making Roger Mason, Wilson Chandler, and Luc Mbah a Moute into all stars. 

These guys should not be scoring close to 20 points, especially not in the FedEx Forum. 

The Grizzlies have to stop allowing this. It is embarrassing. I'm not sure if it's a new defensive philosophy, added personnel, or a swift smack in the face, but the Grizzlies should set a goal from here on out. No one who averages less than 10 should score more than 20. 


Gordana said...

This is my first ever read by you. Nice!

Two things I want to comment on...

First, Roger Mason and Wilson Chandler average 15 a night, so 20 isn't too far off. Roger Mason might be the best kept secret in the league, because I've watched Spurs games this year (brother is a fan) and I'm willing to go as far as to say he is THE BEST PURE SHOOTER in the league. Yes, the BEST. His shot is effortless and smooooooooth.

Second, Darko Milicic is a ok piece for this team. He is, in my opinion, the 2nd best big on the team. Remember, he played 30 a night for the Magic in the playoffs 2 seasons ago and dominated the Pistons front life offensively. Now, he isn't more than a 6th man on a playoff team, but he does defend the best bigs in the league extremely well. I say, start Marc and Darko as the "twin towers" and ask him to do the dirty work like last night. Any time he attempts a layup instead of a dunk, take him out!

David Jones said...

Thanks Gordana.

You raise a good point about Mason and Chandler. They're probably better than I give them credit for.

However, Chandler set two career highs in Memphis: points and three pointers made, so I think the point - that average players perform above average against Memphis - still holds in that example.

Mason had a solid game, and the Grizzlies should have guarded him more closely at the three, but he's playing well in general.

As for Milicic, I agree the Grizzlies will need to replace him, but I think they'd be better off with someone who's slightly under sized that has an ounce of defensive or offensive awareness.