Friday, October 31, 2008

Grizzlies Win!

The Grizzlies proved me wrong. They won their first game tonight against Orlando when I predicted their first win would be game three against Chicago.

Thank you Grizzlies. 

As a side note, I love watching Marc Gasol play. How can this guy be related to Pau Gasol?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Your Questions about the Grizzlies' Season Answered Here

With the season beginning, you may have a few questions about our new (read: same old) Grizzlies. Luckily, I'm here to arbitrarily make up your questions for you and answer them without providing supporting evidence.

  1. How long will Iavaroni last?

    Remember on April 1 when I predicted that Iavaroni would be judged by the Grizzlies performance during the first 20 games of this season? Well, we finally get to see if I'm right. If the Grizzlies are better than expected (Imagine a 30 win pace.), then Iavaroni is safe. Given that this team doesn't look  better than last year's team, I think Iavaroni may be spending Christmas in Arizona.

  2. What's with the point guard situation?

    Mike Conley is the starter. There are four other players, Kyle Lowry, Javaris Crittendon, OJ Mayo, and Marko Jaric, who can also play point. The Grizzlies will likely trade Crittendon and Lowry for something insignificant. Conley will probably average 12 and 5, and next year, we'll continue to wonder if he's going to develop into Tony Parker. 

  3. What's with the big man situation?

    The first thing you should know about the big man situation is that Darko Milicic is terrible. Please do not tell me about his defense, his ability to block shot, or his 'potential'. He's seven feet tall and he can't even dunk. If I was seven feet tall, all I would do is dunk. Mililcic will never make meaningful contributions on a winning team so it is time to move on. 

    That means the Grizzlies have Hakim Warrick and two rookies in the post. I think you will find that the Grizzlies have difficulty rebounding and playing defense. The good news (yes, there is some good news) is that Darrell Arthur and Marc Gasol may develop into players that con contribute on a good team. 

    The Grizzlies still need an all star caliber big man to compete in the playoffs, and their current players won't develop into that.

  4. How good is OJ Mayo?

    OJ Mayo, unlike Darko Milicic, has the potential to be good. He should be good enough to make the Rookie-Sophomore game, and he's got a good chance of making the All Rookie Team. Mayo would exceed expectations if he won rookie of the year as there is stiff competition, but he's not going to make the All Star team this year, and I imagine we'll be asking the same questions about his potential this time next year.

  5. Will anyone attend any games?

    Yes! The Grizzlies might even sellout in Boston. In Memphis, the Grizzlies might set a record for lowest attendance in the modern era if such a record exists and 'modern era' is aritrarily defined. 

    As a result, there will continue to be questions about the viability of an NBA franchise in Memphis and whether owner Michael Heisley is going to sell the team to an owner that will move the team back to the Northwest. 

    Of course, the Grizzlies could be successful in Memphis. It remains to be seen whether they will be successful. If the goal is to test the franchise under the most dire circumstances to see if it can survive, then this season should be a success.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fire Kevin McHale

My biggest hopes for Grizzlies this season: OJ Mayo gets Kevin McHale fired. 

I hope that OJ Mayo outperforms Kevin Love (featured above doing his best Shawn Bradley impression) so that every sports writer across the country has to write a an article next April about what a lop-sided trade the Wolves made and what a genius Chris Wallace is.

It's nothing personal. I'm sure Kevins Love and McHale are fantastic human beings. However, I want the Grizzlies to 'win' something. They aren't going to 'win' in attendance or in the standings. I'm confident that Marc Gasol, Javaris Crittendon, Darrell Arthur, and Michael Heisley's extra cash aren't going to out-perform Pau Gasol. 

I think our best bet at winning something will be the draft day trade with the Timberwolves.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's All Part of the Plan

Commercial Appeal Sports Editor Geoff Calkins sat down with Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley for a facinating interview.

As always, Heisley seems genuine and reasonable. He sounds like a guy with a plan. In fact, he spends some time talking about this three year plan to get the Grizzlies back to respectability as well as his plans to keep the Grizzlies in Memphis.

I appreciate Heisley's commitment to keeping the team in Memphis, and I can't fault him for admitting that he can't stop another owner from moving the team. As an aside, I liked Bill Simmons' response to the Sonics' 'relocation':
SG: Here's my contribution to the poor Sonics fans: You know the team Kevin Durant plays for right now? I'm never mentioning their "new" name in this column. Ever. For as long as I have it. I'm alternating between these four names …
1. Kevin Durant's Team.
2. The Seattle SloppySeconds
3. The Bennett City Hijackers
4. The Team That Shall Not Be Named
The most interesting part of the Heisley  interview for me, in part because I haven't heard it said explicitly, was Heisley's take on the Grizzlies' efforts to change the tempo at which they play:
MH: No. I'm talking about when we decided to go up-tempo because the fans didn't like the style. I think the slow-tempo team Mike Fratello put out there, when your guards are 30-something guys, you don't run. Because they can't run. I'm not saying Mike Fratello wasn't a slow-tempo guy, I'm saying he won 49 (bleeping) games. When you win 20-something games, it's a lot worse than winning 49 games. And, believe me, it was worse.
Heisley is right. The Grizzlies had players and a system that won 45-50 games per season. Instead of tweaking that system to improve, the Grizzlies upset the established order, and the result has been chaos. 

I would have rather seen the Grizzlies win a playoff game than seen them implement a fast tempo. That tradeoff may be the biggest mistake the Grizzlies have made.

We can only hope that this short term setback (1 year and counting) will generate long term gains that compensate. After all, struggling while these young players develop into stars is all part of the plan. Or are we like a dog chasing cars?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't Stop Believin

With the economy spiraling down the drain, there are few reasons to celebrate.

Today I have my first reason to celebrate in a long time. The Grizzlies have won their first game of the 2008-2009 season. Detractors might say that this is only the preseason, but in these uncertain times, we have to make do with less, and look to the small things.

With that in mind, I was looking to the Grizzlies upcoming schedule to see when I thought the Grizzlies might win their first regular season game. In the spirit of Hubie Brown, I thought I'd circle game three at Chicago. It's an away game, and Chicago has more talent and experience than the Grizz. But for all it's talent, Chicago might have less chemistry, and I'm trying to be optimistic.

When do you think the Grizzlies will win their first game?