Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Inside Grandma Barkley's House

Next week, the Grizzlies open training camp about four hours southeast of Memphis in Birmingham, Alabama.

About 20 minutes from Bill Battle Coliseum, the Grizzlies' training camp facilities, sits a town called Leeds.

It was in Leeds, where a young Phoenix Suns fan (At least I wasn't a Lakers fan.) learned some very important life lessons from Johnnie Mae Edwards (also known as Charles Barkley's Grandmother) that the Grizzlies should consider next week.

Lesson #1: Rebounding is important. Here, I am pictured with Ms. Edwards holding Barkley's 1986-87 Rebounding Title.

Lesson #2. Team work is key to success. In this photo op, I present a "Get Well" poster from teammates to a recovering Barkley.

Lesson #3: In order to succeed, you have to dress for success.

The Grizzlies should be sure to stop by Ms. Edwards house when they hold training camp a few miles away next week.

(Here's a hint: Look for Charles Barkley Ave. There's only one house with "CB" molded into a wrought-iron fence.)

It's here, where Barkley's mother and Grandmother taught Barkley that hard work and exceptional rebounding skills can lead to greatness. For a team that was last in the league in rebounds per game, these are important lessons.

Here's hoping that central Alabama will be as instructive for the Grizzlies as it was for me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Worst Case Scenario

Ok, let's say the Iverson experiment doesn't work out.

He corrupts the youngsters, jacks up 40 shots a game, and shoots 20%.

Even if he's that bad, isn't there a team out there that would roll the dice on a trade in January? Maybe that team didn't have the cap space to make a play this summer?

Maybe there's a team whose season didn't go quite as expected? Maybe there's a team that wouldn't mind trading a young player with a multi-year contract for Iverson's expiring contract?

Maybe there's a team that wouldn't mind extra cash this summer? Or using Iverson to cash in on a few extra ticket sales?

Even if Iverson doesn't work out, (and I think there's a chance he will work out) the Grizzlies can turn his expiring contract into some basketball value.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where is Marc Gasol?

In case you were wondering where Marc Gasol was, I have found him. He didn't make it to Allen Iverson's press conference because he is playing for Spain at the Eurobasket Championships.

To see him in action, check out the 20 second mark of this video. He is sporting a nice haircut, which is good because he should look presentable for what might be his last chance to shoot a basketball in 2009.

At the Euro games, Gasol is averaging 6.6 points and 6.6 rebound in 19 minutes per game, whatever that means.

I wonder how he's feeling about the fact that the Grizzlies drafted someone who plays his position at #2 instead of his Spanish teammate. I'm sure any concern will be alleviated when the Grizzlies win a championship.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Iverson Declining with Age?

Now that Iverson is a Grizzly, it's worth taking another look's August analysis of the impact of Iverson's age on his performance.

According to Basketball-Reference, Iverson's stats suggest:
  1. His defense has improved with time.
  2. Despite his decline in his ability, he's still an average NBA player.
Given that the Grizzlies defense was terrible without Iverson (especially at the guard position) and most Grizzlies performed well below the league average, these findings are good news.

Check out the full article here:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why So Much Hate?

The response to the Grizzlies decision to add Allen Iverson has been negative. The most significant arguments are:

1. Iverson won't generate on-court success next season.
2. Acquiring Iverson comes at the expense of acquiring better players.
3. Iverson may impede the development of young Grizzlies.

While I think these arguments have merit, I don't think the conclusion that signing Iverson is a mistake is as clear as the media's reaction implies.


For simplicity's sake, let's say there are three reasonable possibilities:
1. Win 20-30 games.
2. Win 30-40 games.
3. Win 40-50 games.

Using a John Hollinger algorithm, we could assign a probability for each outcome, and then assess how the addition of Iverson impacts that outcome.

The "pre-Iverson" consensus was that #1 is the most likely outcome. So how does Iverson impact that probability? Probably not by much. I'm guessing that #1 is still the most likely scenario.

Is #1 more likely with Iverson than without? Does adding Iverson make #2 or #3 more likely?

You can reasonably argue that #1 is slightly more likely now, but you can't argue that the Grizzlies will be significantly worse or that Iverson increases the likelihood of #1 by a large percentage. The Grizzlies are too bad already.

You could also argue that adding Iverson to the mix raises the ceiling if by some miracle this strange mix of talent clicks.


There's no question that acquiring Iverson means the Grizzlies won't (or didn't) acquire other available players like Ramon Sessions or David Lee. However, there's no guarantee that the Grizzlies could acquire such players. Those players may have no interest in playing for Memphis.

Additionally, most players discussed wouldn't have a significantly greater impact than Iverson. Ramon Sessions' incremental value over Iverson doesn't justify the ridicule of the Grizzlies for pursuing Iverson over Sessions.

Sessions and other players of this year's free agent class aren't sure bets and have additional costs that Iverson doesn't have.

That said, I'm on-board with the argument that pursuing Iverson (and Randolph) in favor of pursuing a star like Amare Stoudemire is a mistake. The Grizzlies biggest failure has been the inability to acquire a first tier star during his prime.


If OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay are fragile enough that Iverson could derail their development or drive them away, then you have to wonder if Mayo or Gay would ever lead the Grizzlies to success.

On the other hand, if Mike Conley can't play with Kyle Lowry backing him up, is Iverson really the problem? If Conley can develop into an significant player, he can do so playing with Allen Iverson. If he's not an impact player, then what have we lost?

I think its fair to criticize the Grizzlies. They are a terrible team until they prove otherwise. But I don't think the acquisition of Iverson is as obviously bad as most people seem to think it is.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

God Chose Memphis

Allen Iverson announced via Twitter: "God Chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career. I met with Mr. Heinsley, Chris Wallace and my next head coach Lionel Hollins"

Moments later, I announced that I was now following @alleniverson.

Unfortunately, even bigger news is getting lost in the Iverson announcement. Hasheem Thabeet also announced: 9/9/9 9:9:9am i was in the weight room!!

Monday, September 07, 2009

My Dreamseat

There's no better way to observe the Grizzlies annual trip to the lottery than from the comfort of ESPN's 'Dreamseat'.

This might be enough to convince me to move to a place large enough to carve out a 'Man Town' that would warrant such a throne.

At a price of $1,000 plus $305 shipping, is it possible that I would own the only Grizzlies Dreamseat ever? Are there 5 households with Grizzlies Dreamseats? 10 households?$1,500 seems like a small price to pay for exclusivity.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Grizzlies are Mad Men

I was watching episode 3 of season 3 of Mad Men the other night, and I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the ad folks at Sterling-Cooper and our modern day Memphis Grizzlies.

I can't help but wonder if Matthew Weiner had our boys in blue in mind when he penned the series.

OJ Mayo is Donald Draper.

Draper is the only hope Sterling-Cooper has for success. He's got the most talent at the agency. Despite his skills, Draper is fighting an uphill battle with Sterling, Cooper, and Pryce running the show.

Chris Wallace is Roger Sterling.

Sterling knows the company line and how to spin. When American Airlines chooses a rival ad firm, Sterling will look on the bright side.

Lionel Hollins is Betty Draper

When Betty's not making Don sleep on the couch, she's searching for her own identity. Don can survive without her, but can she survive without Don?

Zach Randolph is Pete Campbell

Pete Campbell does one thing really well. He smooth talks clients. Unfortunately, no one really likes him because it seems like he's only interested in his own career. On top of that, his personal life is starting to interfere with his performance at work.

Allen Iverson is Duck Phillips

Duck isn't a partner at Sterling-Cooper, but his reputation precedes him. Unfortunately, he's also an alcoholic that could go off the deep end at any time. This will not end well.

Michael Heisley is Lane Pryce

Pryce is an exec from the the London-based company that acquired Sterling-Cooper. He doesn't quite understand this side of the pond, but that doesn't stop him from running the show. If Pryce didn't insert himself, it would be too easy, right?

Rudy Gay is Peggy Olsen

Peggy is a late bloomer. It's clear she has the tools to succeed, but can she put it together? She's operating in a man's world so hers is an uphill battle.

Marc Gasol is Joan Holloway

Holloway's physique is intimidating and she isn't afraid to take advantage of her body. She's resourceful and can do a little bit of everything reasonably well.

Hasheem Thabeet is Jane Sterling
Young and ambitious Jane Sterling sweeps Roger Sterling off his feet by doing one thing really well. Now they're married, and everyone thinks Roger should have stayed with his first wife...

Hamed Haddadi is Salvatore Romano

Salvatore is a closet gay man living in a straight man's world. Will the rest of the office accept him for who he is, or is he a stranger in his own company?