Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grizzlies Beat LA

Normally I wouldn't take the time to post about a particular game at this point in such a terrible season. However, the Grizzlies win over LA is the most important win of the season.

The Grizzlies win is so important because the Grizzlies own the rights to the Lakers' draft pick. The top teams in the league have records that very close together. One loss can theoretically mean the difference or three or four positions. Since the draft order is determined by record for playoff teams. A loss for the Lakers could mean a 23rd draft pick as opposed to the 26th pick.

For the Grizzlies, at this point, it's the small things...

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Something interesting to talk about. (Not that the on court action isn't titillating.)

It seems that the local ownership is at odds with Michael Heisley. To make a long story short, the local owners want to buy the team, but Heisley thinks their offer is too low.

People on both sides think the other is being unreasonable. The tension is escalating, questions about relocation are beginning to surface, and the franchise is spiraling deeper and deeper in to an pile of shit the size of the Pyramid.

For me all of this talk raises a couple of interesting questions.

1. If the local owners aren't going to buy the Grizzlies, then who will?

There can't be many Memphis natives with an interest in owning a sports franchise that both have half a billion to spare and aren't already part of the local ownership group.

2. What does it mean that the Grizzlies can't or won't relocate now?

The local owners lost their right to match any offer in the latest standoff. This opens the way for an outsider to purchase the team. An outsider may have a vision of Memphis in another city. (Are there any billionaires native to the Seattle area?)

Calkins suggests that the Grizzlies can't be moved. (He also writes off those who think differently as ' gloom-and-doomers'.) Calkins says that the Grizzlies can't leave until 2020.

He also says that if the Grizzlies do try to move, Memphis and Shelby County can seek an injunction. Let me get this straight. The Grizzlies can't move, but if they do, we can 'injunct' them.

According to Wikipedia:

An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order, whereby a party is required to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. The party that fails to adhere to the injunction faces civil or criminal penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions for failing to follow the court's order. In some cases, breaches of injunctions are considered serious criminal offences that merit arrest and possible prison sentences or death.

Based on the Grizzlies contract, the injunction would require a fine of over $100 million if they leave before 2012. The Grizzlies are losing $20 million a year in Memphis. Doesn't it make sense to pay the fine and turn a profit elsewhere?

If the Grizzlies can't leave before 2020, why is there an injunction with a fine attached?

It seems to me that the Grizzlies will be able to move for the right price. It's just a matter of whether someone will be willing to pay it.

Let's hope that the Grizzlies transform into a watchable team with a devoted following before then. Let's also hope someone with a disposable income doesn't show interest.

Perhaps the City should have negotiated death as punishment for breaking the injunction. I guess most Memphians wouldn't consider the Grizzlies leaving to be a 'serious offence' at this point.

The Grizzlies and Heisley have put forth some effort into trying make things work. Still, I'm betting that relocation would be exactly in line with what a lot of folks have come to expect from a franchise that has turned out to be quite a disappointment so far.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Met Juan Carlos Navarro

After the Grizzlies vs JR Smith game on Monday, in which Smith was victorious, (pictures to follow at a later date), I went to $2.50 Pint Night at the Flying Saucer as promised. (It has actually morphed into $2.75 Pint Night since I last attended.)

Unfortunately, I didn't see Kwame Brown there. However, I did see Juan Carlos Navarro, who was nice enough to take a photo.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Met Mike Miller

I was out at Silky O'Sullivan's on Saturday night, and Mike Miller showed up after the Grizzlies second straight win. They defeated the Kings and Knicks. I bought Mike the beer, Miller Lite, that he's holding in his right hand.

On Monday, I'll be at the game against the Nuggets who are struggling to make the playoffs. Hopefully, the Grizzlies can extend the streak to three. Afterwards, I hope to see Kwame Brown at $2.50 Pint Night at the Flying Saucer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sam Smith Doesn't Like Me

Sam Smith was on the Geoff and Gary show last week. Sam Smith is an NBA writer who famously writes for the Chicago Tribune, and the Geoff and Gary Show is a Memphis Sports Talk Radio Show.

On the show, Smith admitted that he doesn't like Bloggers. He clarified that he doesn't dislike people who write for blogs. After all, there are many people who are affiliated with respectable organizations like newspapers and other media that write for 'blogs'. Smith was clear that he doesn't like the average joe who 'doesn't go anywhere' and 'comment on the news'.

Although I do leave the house occasionally, I think Sam's comments were aimed at me. After all, I comment on the news, and I don't have a relationship with any organization, or inside contacts from whom I can get a scoop about the Grizzlies.

However, I don't think that means Bloggers are bad or useless. Blogs allow fans like myself to express themselves in a public forum. Bloggers don't report the news. They give a voice to individuals who consume the news. They engage in public discourse.

Reporters report the news and editorialize on the information they report. Blogs provide an medium through which the public can express criticism of that work. This sounds like something healthy to a democratic society to me.

Sure, there are bad bloggers - bloggers that don't offer any insight or perpetuate what's wrong with all media. There are bloggers that are stupid, mean, ignorant, boring, and useless. There are reporters like this too.

That doesn't outweigh the value bloggers bring.

Personally, I enjoy writing about my favorite team. When they are as bad as they are, it can be therapeutic. If you don't think my blog adds any value, please feel free to comment below.

When you're done, you may wish to visit this blog, which is better than mine. Even the worst team in the history of the NBA has good bloggers.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Grizzlies are really bad (against the Warriors)

I went to the Warriors - Grizzlies game in Oakland on Saturday night. The Grizzlies lost by 3, but the game wasn't really as close as the score suggested. The Warriors were definitely mailing this one in.

For Instance, CJ Watson got many minutes over Baron Davis and Monte Ellis. You could also tell the Warriors weren't giving the same effort they do when the big teams are in town.

I will spare you of a detailed analysis. It been covered for numerous other posts about other games. As Chris Vernon has said, the Grizzlies need to fix this team.

I'm excited about seeing the Griz in the Forum against the Nuggets next Monday. Until then, here are some picks from our not so close seats:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is There a Tanking Problem in the NBA?

Steve Aschburner thinks tanking is a problem, and apparently some academics have devised a system for rearranging the draft order such that it incentivizes winning toward the end of the season, instead of losing.

It's true that there is incentive to lose. Your chances of winning the draft lottery improves as you move closer to last place. However, I'd argue that the incentive to tank isn't that strong. Your chance of winning the lottery is still not huge, even if you're the worst team.

Furthermore, there's a difference between planning for the future and trying to lose. Resting you veteran franchise player is strategic if you won't make the playoffs. Giving your young players experience is strategic.

Playing a game with the intention to lose is something completely different, but I'm not sure there's evidence that players and coaches approach any game with the intention of losing.

From my perspective - the perspective of a fan who has followed one of the worst teams closely for several years - I want my team to consider the future, but also make an honest effort at winning.

I haven't seen any effort that the Grizzlies aren't trying the best to win.

According to Aschburner's article, Boston and Memphis, last year's worst teams would finish one and two respectively. This suggests that the worst teams in the league weren't tanking last year.

Finally, I think a bigger problem is how difficult it is to improve your team when you're one of the worst in the league. Parity in the league is reaching new lows, and the same teams are consistently the best. How many teams have won a championship within the past 3 decades?

Philadelphia, Boston, LA, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, San Antonio. Am I missing any?

I think a bigger problem than tanking is how difficult it is for terrible teams to get better.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Grizzlies Adding Value to Season Tickets

There's not much hope that the Grizzlies will be a very good team next year, or much fun to watch.

However, the Grizzlies are making season ticket deals more attractive for fans.

You can read all about the details at the Commercial Appeal. If I lived in Memphis, I'd definitely buy season tickets.

In fact, while I was checking out season ticket pricing, I was amazed to see how cheap they were.

I can't believe you can sit in the closest section outside of the floor for $7,605 per season. I was checking out tickets for the Warriors (my closest team), and saw you can buy single game tickets for $1700. I assume those are on the floor, but Grizzlies tickets by comparison are $667.

Granted, I'm comparing one of the poorest NBA markets to one of the richest. Still, you can't say the Grizzlies are grossly overcharging. (OK, based on their record, I guess you could make that case.)

The point is that, compared with other NBA ticket prices, these ticket prices aren't astronomical. They aren't what you expect to pay when you go to an NBA game. (Of course, the Grizzlies don't play like you'd expect an NBA team to play either.)

On a slightly unrelated note, I've been listening to Chris Wallace on the Chris Vernon Show. I have to say that Wallace sounds like he knows what he's talking about. He seems to genuinely believe that what he's doing will turn the team around.

He also seems very down to earth. He's not unrealistic about how terrible the team is or how difficult it will be to turn them around.

To summarize:

  1. The Grizzlies seem to be making a concerted effort to turn things around.
  2. They're making a strong effort to make tickets attractive even when the team is terrible.
  3. They need to turn their efforts into wins next season. Otherwise, concerted translates to failed.
  4. The Pau Gasol trade was a terrible deal.