Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bulls vs. Celtics and Faux contending

It is interesting the course the 2007-08 NBA season has taken with the firing of Chicago Bull's head coach Scott Skiles and the dominance of the Boston Celtics. It seems that the importance of top level talent over depth has become even more apparent. (I have a feeling the Grizz fans are well aware of this notion.) Kobe and KG have already shown that one player, no matter how great they are, can not carry a team to contention alone. LeBron seemingly defied that logic until the Cavs ran into the Spurs and the difference between the Eastern and Western conferences was made clear. Even Yao and T Mac are struggling to carry a less than stellar supporting cast in Houston. However, three All Star level talents, even when supported by inexperienced players short on talent can propel you into the upper echelon of the NBA.

Obvious? Ok. I am bringing this up because I think my "trade Pau or bust" stance is quite misguided. It has nothing to do with whether Pau is good enough to be a 1st or 2nd option, whether he can defend, or how he closes out games. Pau is a legit All Star level talent in a top level talent driven league. As such, the only acceptable trade is another All Star level talent that is more in line with the age of Rudy Gay and Michael Conley.

My change in stance has nothing to do with Gasol's performance against Philadelphia, it was simply a realization, after taking a step back from the season and a third of losing, of how difficult it is to acquire or develop that talented of a player and how unimportant depth is on the grand scale of the NBA. Rotations get so tight during the playoffs that it doesn't matter what your 9th or 10th man can provide.

It would have been nice if the Grizzlies could have gotten a Chris Paul type of rookie season from Michael Conley but until he actually playus productively for thirty minutes a night, I will remain hopeful but skeptical. Also, it seems that the other big acquisition in the 2007 offseason, Darko Milicic, is having problems with his confidence. This is not good to read about the guy that was supposed to be our defensive enforcer. Can you even imagine Bill Laimbeer giving those excuses in a freaking interview with a journalist from an opponents city?

So what do I think Chris Wallace should do? I think the Grizzlies fans deserve for them to make a decision. Either fully rebuild the team around Rudy Gay and Michael Conley and take the pain for the next two seasons or build a fake contender by adding a veteran player on this team that can elevate the Grizzlies into the playoffs and possibly top out with the 2nd round in the next 2-3 seasons. I think you do the former by trading Gasol and Brian Cardinal for a young All Star level talent like Luol Deng (I know, I know) and the latter by adding some of our short contracts (Damon or Stromile) and/or young players (Lowry or Warrick) to Mike Miller for an upgrade on the wing either offensively (Vince Carter) or defensively (AK47).

I think these are the two options for this organization. It makes no sense or difference to change fringe players when your coach has already stated and shown a preference for playing an eight man rotation. Any thing less is wheel spinning and setting us up for getting mired in the muck of mediocrity that Jerry West said was the bane of NBA teams.