In a recent chat with Chris Vernon, Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace explained which deficiencies the team is looking to improve during the offseason:
Monday, June 07, 2010
Wallace said: "We need to strengthen the pitching rotation we have at the point guard position because you need more than one player [at point guard]. Other needs in no particular order are more outside shooting, ... more overall athleticism, ... size, length, and athleticism at the perimeter, ... and a veteran presence."
This isn't the first time that Wallace or Heisley has suggested that the Grizzlies are looking for role players to add to the core starters from last year, and it's still the wrong approach to improving the team.
This is the type of strategy that produces 0 playoff victories in 15 seasons. The Grizzlies don't need a backup point guard and a three point shooter. They need a top 15 player. They need someone with the potential to make an All-NBA team, not someone who can help them win one or two games.
Last year's squad didn't win half the games it played and didn't even make the playoffs. The team was better than previous teams which sparred for the league's worst record, but these players aren't going to spontaneously improve to top 5 in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies earned the 10th seed in part because of their own health and other teams' injuries. (#11 New Orleans and #12 the LA Clippers both had injuries to their stars / potential stars that derailed their seasons.) They may digress if not as healthy next season.
As Jamie Vann Struth explains at OpposingViews.com, the Grizzlies' stats suggest they weren't as good as their record indicated. Their performance was equal to that of a 37 win team, not a 40 win team, so they weren't as close to making the playoffs as it may seem.
Lionel Hollins wants to reap the benefit of developing the young players, and it's true that is has been painful to watch Gasol dominate in the playoffs. It's also true that the Grizzlies are young, but 3 of their 4 best players, Randolph, Gasol, and Gay, are old enough that there is little chance of each developing into more than a borderline All Star. Mayo is young enough that there's an outside chance he could make strides, but I'm not mortgaging the house on the chance that he'll be the best or second best player on an NBA Champion.
Don't get me wrong. I like all four of the Grizzlies' top four, and I'd be happy to have any of them on the team. But the idea that this team is going to take the Grizzlies to relevance is wrong.
The Grizzlies need to be looking for opportunities to acquire a perennial All Star, not a backup point guard.