Thursday, January 22, 2009

Byebye Iavaroni

No one saw this coming. 

Me especially. Last April, I predicted Iavaroni would be gone by xmas if the Grizzlies didn't show improvement in the first 20 games. Boy was I wrong. It took the Grizzlies over 40 games to fire Iavaroni.

Many will say Iavaroni didn't have a fair shot, no one could win with this team, he was a good guy, and he developed Rudy Gay.

Those people are wrong. Well, he might be a good guy. But by every measure of good coaching, Iavaroni was a failure.

Now the Grizzlies have the opportunity, as they did when they hired Iavaroni, to find somebody who can make something of this team. 

I won't speculate yet except to say I hope it's not Avery Johnson. This team isn't going to get better with someone who micromanages every play. They need someone that can get the young team to focus on fundamentals, like passing and basic help defense.

Let's hope it turns out better than the Iavaroni experiment.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Trading Conley Will Impact the Grizzlies

Recently, a trade sending Mike Conley to Milwakee for Ramon Sessions and Joe Alexander has been rumored to be in the works.

Grizzlies fans and media have generally fallen into 3 factions: one that believes that it's too early to give up on Conley, one that believes Conley will isn't very good, and one that believes Conley will never complement Mayo.
I really don't care if the Grizzlies trade Conley. He's not the root of the problem. Neither keeping him nor trading him will have any immediate impact on the team.

The Grizzlies are terrible. They are terrible with Conley, and Ramon Sessions will not bring any significant improvement.

What the Grizzlies need is leadership. They look like a pick up team with some talent but no organization. 

I'm not sure where that leadership should or will come from. In the history of the team, they've had that type of leadership once, when Coach Hubie Brown joined the team. That doesn't mean leadership must come from the coach or that Iavaroni needs to be fired. Mayo's maturity suggests he may have what it takes to bring this team together.

Regardless, neither trading nor keeping Conley will not address the problems at the core of the Grizzlies.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trade Conley?!?!

Tonight, Cleveland Guard Delonte West went down with a fractured wrist. It's too early to tell how long he'll be out, but the Cavs now need a point guard.

In the interest of proposing a trade without doing any research to see if the numbers add up, here's my proposal:

Cleveland gets:
Mike Conley Jr.
Memphis gets:

Wally Szczerbiak (enormous expiring contract)
Cash considerations (to pay for above contact)
A future [late] first rounder (that will turn into a player like Conley, but cheaper)
I've studied the Grizzlies' recent moves, and I think this one would be a perfect fit. We could even throw in Darius Miles once we ensure he plays 10 games to sweeten the deal.

Ramon Sessions, who was recently rumored as the flip side of a Conley trade, doesn't have the washed up veteran flair that the Grizzlies usually look for. 

Even more concerning, Sessions seems to be a terrible 3 point shooter. Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought Conley wasn't working because he wasn't a good enough shooter to complement OJ Mayo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dear Blazers Fans

Thank you for your comments. I have enjoyed reading them.

Now I'll attempt to respond to your comments. I noticed a few themes in your comments.
  1. The most significant theme was that Miles' injury wasn't reviewed by team doctors. That's true, and I apologize for the error. According to CNNSI's Steve Aschburner: "An independent medical examiner approved by both the league and the NBA Players' Association determined that Miles' ailing right knee was damaged enough to qualify [as career ending]".

    My intent was not to ridicule the team for labelling the injury as career ending. In fact, I'll bet most reasonable Doctors would have agreed that there was a strong possibility Miles wouldn't contribute to a team again. However, there was always the possiblity, however small, that Miles would rehabilitate. Regardless of who assessed the injury, the Blazers should have (and may have) understood the risk.

    What surprises me is that the misdiagnosis upsets Blazer fans. 

    In fact, this assessment benefitted the Blazers who gained financial flexibility, which allowed them to make moves until Miles proved otherwise (this week). The alternative is that Miles would have remained the Blazers' responsibility, and his contract would have been an even bigger headache for the Blazers who are in less need of his services than the Grizzlies.

  2. The second main theme is the Grizzlies are bad, the Blazers will get the last laugh, and it's sad that this is something that brings joy to Grizzlies fans.

    That is all true. 

    The Grizzlies are terrible, whereas the Blazers have a solid team, that is not only up-and-coming, but also enjoying moderate success this today.

    The Grizzlies on the other hand are entering their 5th lottery bound season out of 8 in Memphis.  It gets worse when you consider time in Vancouver or that the Grizzlies were embarassed out of the playoffs in each 'successful' season.

    Top it off with a number of transactions, culminating with the Pau Gasol trade, where the Grizzlies don't exactly hit it out of the park, and you can see that the Miles transaction, which has no downside and punishes arrogant behavior, makes a short list of enjoyable Grizzlies moves.

    You might say that the Grizzlies are so bad that Darius Miles can show up and score 13 points in his third appearance with the team after rehabilitating from a career ending injury.

  3. There was a third theme of comments I don't understand like: 

    "Tell Kevin Love that his team just screwed over his home."

    Perhaps the reader thinks Love plays for the Grizzlies?

    "Why don't call anymore?"

    I have no excuse here...

  4. Finally, "I can't believe I just waisted 15 minutes of my life reading a Grizzly Blog. Sheesh!"

    15 minutes ain't too bad. This blog goes back a few years.
In summary, I don't think it was wrong to diagnose Miles' injury as career ending. That may have been a fair assessment at the time. 

It was wrong to send the email for two reasons:
  1. It had little chance of accomplishing the Blazers' goal.
  2. The tone and content were unprofessional.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Favorite Transaction in Grizzlies' History

The Grizzlies have been busy over the past month losing games and making deals. 

On the court the Grizzlies have continued their mediocre play against a variety of opponents.

Off the court, the Grizzlies have devised a new method of generating revenue. Some teams generate revenue by selling tickets, selling ads, or attracting a large TV audience. The Grizzlies generate revenue by completing personnel trades that net them revenue.

In one such deal the Grizzlies brought in washed up veteran, Steve Francis from Houston. The deal came almost a decade after 'The Franchise' demanded a trade from the his new team when the Grizzlies drafted him while still in Vancouver. It's only fitting that Francis' last hopes of reviving his career die with the team he spurned at the beginning of his career. 

My favorite move so far has been the signing of Darius Miles. Like the Grizzlies' recent trades, signing Miles may actually net the Grizzlies a profit. Once Miles appears in two more games, his previous contract with the Portland Trailblazers, which had been removed from Portland's salary cap when Miles' career was said to be over by team doctors, will be back on the Trailblazers' books. That will put Portland over the luxery tax threshold for this season, which means the Blazers will owe all NBA teams under the threshold (like the Grizzlies for example) some percentage of the penalty.

The reason this is my favorite move is because the Blazers' team President Larry Miller, channeling Vito Corleone, sent an email to all NBA teams threatening action against any team that signed Miles for the purpose of "maliciously" hurting the Blazers. 

Sending such an email was dumb on many levels. 
  1. When you threaten something outrageous, it is not wise to do so in email form to a wide distribution list.
  2. There's almost no way for the Blazers to prove a team's intent. Did they expect a press conference where the GM told the press: " We don't really think Miles can contribute, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to screw one of our competitors out of several million dollars."
  3. Perhaps the Blazers did understand they were unlikely to be able to take legal action against a team. Maybe they were just bluffing and hoping a little intimidation would save their asses. Isn't such behavior worse than 80% of what the JailBlazers got into half a decade ago? (I say 80% because I'm sure Ruben Patterson did a few things worse than this.)
I hope the NBA fines the Trailblazers. It must violate some league rules to threaten other teams for operating within league rules. The NBA fines players for much less. 

Even if Miles doesn't contribute, I like to see the Grizzlies embarass another team for once.