Friday, June 27, 2008

Guarded Optimisim

The Grizzlies acquired OJ Mayo last night. It's not the homerun that everyone was hoping for, but it's also not the usual crap we've come to expect. If the Grizzlies had stood pat with Love, I would have been disappointed (though I expect Love is solid).

I'm happy the Grizzlies made the deal. Mayo could turn out to be a star. The chances are great that he'll be better than Kevin Love. The question is whether he'll be better than Love and Miller. I'm not sad to see Miller go, but as with Gasol, Miller was a valuable trade asset.

Trading for Darrell Arthur seems like a no brainer. The 28th pick usually doesn't pan out, and selecting Arthur seems like a solid way to maximize the chances that the 28th pick will turn into value.

The Grizzlies have given me optimism from what promised to be an uninteresting night. Regardless of whether Mayo and Arthur turn into the players we hope, I think the Grizzlies did a solid job on draft night.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

ByeBye La Bomba

I remember like it was yesterday when we met at $2.75 pint night at the Flying Saucer.

Next thing I know, I'm hearing Chris Vernon tell our General Manager he's signed a 5 year deal with F.C. Barcelona, which has produced such standouts as almost NBA champion Pau Gasol, almost NBA player Marc Gasol, and almost two year veteran Juan Carlos Navarro.

I'm not worried however, because I know the Grizzlies are going to extend a qualifying offer to JCN. That way, in five years, when La Bomba is 33 and through with his Spanish contract, we can sign him!

If you're interested in seeing Navarro's stats, you may want to visit this page. I'm not sure how much longer it will be available, but apparently, JCN's birthday was on June 13th. Five days later, he signed a $25 million contract. Happy Birthday La Bomba!

Next time we meet, it's your turn to buy the beer.

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."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pipe Dreams

According to Wikipedia: "A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve."


Examples include:

  • A Dream of winning the NBA draft lottery.
  • A Dream of trading for Michael Beasley.
By the way, Mr. Wallace, if you can pull off a trade for Michael Beasley, by all means, please step off of the Love Train. If Beasley doesn't pan out, you can put that one on me.

This is a dilemma that won't keep me up at night.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

3 Shade of Verno

My fellow Grizzlies' masochists (Verno, 3shadesofblue) have been up in arms over some comments from Grizz part time owner Michael Heisley about the Gasol trade (reported by Adrian Wojnarowski).

To summarize:

  • Wojnarowski interviewed Heisley about the Gasol trade.
  • Heisley admitted that the Grizz may have not received the best value for Gasol.
  • Wojnarowski and later GM Chris Wallace went on Verno's show, where Verno ripped Heisley for questioning Wallace's due diligence.
  • Heisley called 3shadesofblue, who then reported that Heisley has full faith in Wallace and does not question Wallace's work.
  • Verno accused 3shadesofblue of pandering to the owner.
  • 3shadesofblue defended their report of Heisley's defense.
One good thing has come out of this. It's a lot more entertaining than talking about which Drew Gooden and Javaris Crittenton caliber players the Grizzlies are going to draft at 5 and 28.

Recently deemed one of the 50 greatest Grizzlies blogs of all time, I think it's time for davidlovesthegrizzlies to throw it's opinion in the ring in the form of a bulleted list:
  • Based on my reading of what Heisley said, It doesn't seem like Heisley believes the Grizzlies made a mistake and that any mistake was Wallace's fault.
  • I think Heisley was admitting what is true of every trade: you never know if you could have gotten a better deal.
  • Heisley is pleased with the trade, and knew what he was getting himself into.
  • Both Heisley and Wallace are delusional to think this was a good trade.
  • They have large balls for pulling it off, and I hope to god that, despite themselves, they are able to turn this thing around.
In summary two points about my friends (friends in the 'I don't know them personally' sense):
  1. Verno: I don't think Heisley threw Wallace under a bus, though I'll grant he certainly left himself open to that interpretation out of context. (I thought he was working on his 'media relations'.)

    It seems to me that he's completely satisfied (insane) with the deal and Wallace's work, but that he admits you can never be certain, and he chose his words poorly.

  2. 3SOB: Heisley is not to be blamed for Jason Williams being a dipshit. He cannot control everything that happens. However, like any CEO, he is responsible for everything that happens, including whatever Williams did for example.

    It's Heisley's responsibility to make the Grizzlies a success through his own actions and by bringing in people to act for him, from management down to the players. Its his responsibility to ensure Williams is of good character, punish him when he's bad, or ensure he doesn't do something moronic (or have someone [ie a general manager] do it for him).

    Starting with the 2006 playoffs, by any measure, except those of public service, he is a failure.
Poor word choice is the least of Heisley's problems.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Who Cares? (Or Why I Don't Give a Shit About the Draft.)

I'm not excited about the upcoming draft. You won't find an analysis of the top prospects here.

Call me a pessimist, but I've been through this before.

For every Dwayne Wade, there are 2 dozen Shelden Williams and Raymond Feltons. Maybe Williams and Felton will turn out ok. But they didn't have a huge impact in their rookie years, and they're more likely to become a run of the mill NBA journeyman than an important piece of the puzzle.

Then, there's always the Nikoloz Tskitishvili scenario...

Whether it's Felton or Tskitishvili, there's almost no chance any player the Grizzlies pick at #5 will lead the Grizzlies out of the cellar. Drafting Dwayne Wade is even less likely than getting the top pick in the lottery.

I'm reading that OJ Mayo may have star potential, but even if he does, how long will we have to wait? Rudy Gay took a full season to show signs of stardom. Haven't we waited long enough?

The only scenario that peaks my interest is the possibility that the Grizzlies will trade a few players (eg Miller, Lowry, and Mayo) to the Heat for Michael Beasley. However, it seems more likely that Anthony Randolph is the next Chris Bosh.

So here's what everyone should expect on June whatever date it is:

The Grizzlies will draft someone who has a 'ton of potential'. He'll be the next (insert former 5 time allstar here). We'll get pumped up about him while we wait three months for the season to start. We'll wonder why he doesn't look like Michael Jordan playing against the scrubs in the Vegas Summer League. When the season starts, he'll show some promise. He may hit the twenty point mark against the Timberwolves. At the end of the season, he'll average about 12 points in 25 minutes, and the jury will still be out on whether he's the next Rudy Gay or another Drew Gooden.

Rinse and repeat.