Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Closer


I am ashamed to admit that I got caught up in the hoopla that is the Chris Wallace and Marc Iavaroni show. Now I am not suggesting that either of these men have been in any way dishonest but I have so liked the direction they have taken the Memphis Grizzlies that I forgot our most glaring failing of the last five years. The Memphis Grizzlies continue to suffer from the lack of having a closer on the roster.

Even during our three year playoff run, we lacked that player that we could give the ball to at the end of games or to stop runs. For a fan base it has made for some very frustrating ends of ball games. In fact, unless Rudy Gay or Mike Miller seriously step their games up this season the Grizzlies look to be the final member of a curious fraternity. The Memphis Grizzlies will be the only team to not have had a 20 point per game perimeter scorer or a 25 point per game interior scorer since the team moved to the mid-south. (I used the 25 point plateau for interior scorers because of the difficulty of getting an interior look in the last five minutes of games.) That is if Jason Richardson continues his scoring output for the surging Charlotte Bobcats.

Now I am not some statistical wizard about to pronounce the significance of the 20/25 stat. However, I do watch a lot of NBA basketball and it seems that is the threshold for a player being an elite interior and dependable perimeter scorer in the NBA. I don't think it is a coincidence that Memphis fans have had years of frustration watching fourth quarter leads being lost by our inability to put the ball in the basket in the last five minutes of games. What is frustrating for me is that Memphis does not even have a player on the roster with this type of scoring mentality on their NBA résumé.

Early season returns show that Rudy Gay wants to be the guy. However, inexperience and lack of skill may prevent him from being consistent enough to do so this season. Hopefully, either through roster development or trade, the Grizzlies are not the last man standing in the fraternity of offensive futility. Now back to my inappropriate thoughts of Kyra Sedgwick....
P.S. Thanks to Chip, Spartacus, and Zack for the invitation to write on this growing platform for Memphis Grizzlies news and information.

4 comments:

ChipC3 said...

Welcome to the site MemphisX. It is great to have a person of your reputation on the staff so to speak!

zack said...

welcome...

Jordi Gómez said...

Writing from Barcelona...

Not wanting to be biased, but that's quite the kind of player Navarro always was in Barcelona (from almost his very first day). In the last years the team has forgotten interior play, it was so easy giving the ball to Navarro or someone else to shoot a three pointer, that they have nobody to do an low post move.

In fact, he has always been the guy to be given the last decisive ball in a match, even when he was still 18, even when the teams was full of cracks like Jasikevicius or Bodiroga...
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=MlDmHW4U8dQ <- a little example from last year

Spartacus said...

Welcome to MemphisX. And also to new commenter Jordi, who I'll respond to.

I believe that Navarro could develop into that "Closer" that X speaks of, but he isn't there yet for two reasons:

1. He hasn't adjusted to the NBA style yet, which leaves him at a disadvantage in comparison to guys like Rudy, Damon, et al.

2. He cannot play adequate defense on the other end of the court, which means you wouldn't want him on the floor in a late-game situation, since his man will simply score on him, negating the effect he has on the offensive end.

By the end of the season, I expect one (or both) of Rudy and JCN to be considered the Closer, but neither of them are ready for that responsibility yet.