Thursday, January 3, 2008

Interview with Peter Edmiston

The boys at 3 Shades of Blue have done it again. This time we were very fortunate to squeeze in some time with one of the busiest sports radio personalities in Memphis as Peter Edmiston answered a few of our questions.
3SoB: You recently added a new voice on your show. Can you tell us
about her and why did you add her to the team?
Peter: Lots of people have watched Kristen Tallent on FOX 13's sports coverage - she's been in Memphis for a year now and has definitely established a following.

Kristen is a genuinely funny, friendly, excitable person who doesn't take herself too seriously and really knows her sports. She ran track at Mississippi State and is a far better athlete than I will ever be. I talked with her about a month ago about doing something with me and Ron and she wanted in. She's been great so far and I hope people enjoy hearing from her on Thursdays.

Plus, Griz fans will want to take note that we've added Griz assistant coach Dave Joerger to our lineup as well. He will be on every Tuesday morning to give us some insight into the team, life in the NBA, and other stuff. He's a great guy and is really funny. And we've also got former Griz head/assistant coach Lionel Hollins on to talk college and pro basketball every Friday - the Train is an incredible analyst and I guarantee you won't find better basketball analysis than he gives.

3SoB: With Joerger and the A-Train on board can we expect the remainder of the season to be focused more on the Grizzlies news and features? I don't imagine it is a coincidence that as the SEC football season ends you are ramping up exposure to the only major league sports franchise in town.
Peter: I've always felt like we talk a lot about the Grizzlies. It's one of our most important subjects and a huge strength of our show. That being said, as the season progresses, you can expect a huge amount of talk about the Grizzlies. To me, they are always really interesting, no matter whether they're very good or very bad. There are so many storylines and intriguing topics that it's a natural we discuss as much as we can. Lionel and Dave add fresh and informed perspectives to the mix, and it's really cool to have them. Plus, Lionel loves to rip Ron for his clothing, which always cracks me up.

3SoB: You have been a bit down on the Grizzlies of late. What do you
think needs to be done to improve the team going forward?
Peter: That's a tough one. I have been down of late because I was one of the many reporters and fans who thought this team was going to take a step forward this season - a big one - and the fact that they've struggled so mightily is a definite disappointment. Part of the issue in my mind is that the front office clearly took steps to build around Pau this offseason and he's not playing anywhere near his highest level. He is not a leader on the court, not a leader in the locker room, and is not the best player on this team on a consistent basis. Given the salary cap limitations here in Memphis, having your max guy be so limited is a really big problem. When you add to that the fact that Marc Iavaroni's system doesn't mesh well with Pau's strengths, he goes from a manageable problem to a distinct liability. And this is coming from a guy who has defended Pau staunchly until this season.

In short, I think it's imperative they move away from Pau, both on the court and off the court. He doesn't sell tickets, doesn't excite fans, and won't be the reason this team succeeds. His eventual trade will be the most significant personnel move in the history of this franchise. They must get a young, athletic big who can run the floor and defend well, and something else of value (high pick, contributing player, etc.) in the deal. The day that happens is the day the Grizzlies truly take the next step towards success.

I build around Conley and Rudy and run like crazy.

3 SoB: In your pre-season comments you thought the team could compete for the playoffs until late in the season, what has failed in that regard?
Peter: This is a team comprised of very talented players who do not seem to play well together. There is a distinct lack of chemistry and leadership on this team, which to me explains a lot of the problems we've seen. They don't perform well in clutch situations because they don't have an established go-to guy (Rudy is getting there, mind you), they give up a lot of scoring runs because they don't have a defensive stopper, and they don't respond well to adversity because they lack locker room leadership. It speaks to the disappointment and difficulty of the season when you note that the team is getting better-than-expected performances from key individuals like Juan Carlos Navarro, Rudy Gay, and Darko Milicic (defensively), yet is underperforming as a whole. This team is less than the sum of its parts.

Marc Iavaroni is getting adjusted to life as an NBA head coach as well, and I think we've seen him struggle to establish consistent rotations and deal with difficult game situations. I wouldn't say he's done poorly or anything, but he's been a bit hit or miss so far, much like his team. I think we will see the best of him next season once he's got a year under his belt.

3SoB: Well trading Gasol seems high on the list of things to change with the franchise. What type of player would you think the Grizzlies should try and obtain for the Spaniard if a deal was made or should the team go with draft picks and expiring contracts to totally rebuild the franchise?
Peter: I would want (and I would expect the Grizzlies front office to demand) more than merely expiring contracts and picks for Pau. I'd like either an athletic defensive-minded big who can run the floor and I don't care if he can score (Tyrus Thomas) or a 3/4-type in the mold of a Marvin Williams/Danny Granger who I could throw out there in an athletic lineup with Conley, Rudy, Mike (or Hak), and Stro (or Darko). Throw in expirings as needed to make the contracts match and a 1st and I'm sold.

Now if and when they trade Mike, I would be happy with an expiring and a pick.
I don't know that he's got a ton of value.

3SoB: According to David Berri's work 'The Wages of Wins' Mike Miller is the one player producing the most for the Grizzlies and that isn't just in minutes played. Losing him would leave a very large hole at the 2/3 swing positions wouldn't it? Or do you believe Jeremy Richardson might be the answer?
Peter: With respect to Dave Berri and his work (which I like), I don't know that his metrics tell the full story of Mike Miller. That said, I wouldn't advocate absolutely trading Mike away in any circumstance - you are right to point out that he does do a lot for this team and can be among its very best players.
Depending on what happens with Pau, Mike could thrive in a more Phoenix-esque offense. But if he does get traded, I think that is the value he has out there.

Jeremy Richardson is not the answer. I miss TK.

3SoB: Michael Conley replaced Damon as the starter against Indiana and looked pretty good. What do you think of Conley so far and is this a pre-cursor to a Damon trade?
Peter: I think Conley is hugely important for the Grizzlies' future prospects. The coaches and his teammates always praise his professionalism and intelligence on the court. But it's not just his intangibles I like; he's got tangibles, too. His speed and passing will be incredible weapons. His quickness on defense was immediately apparent last night (albeit against Andre Owens), and it's only going to get better. I couldn't be more excited about his future ability - I think he will be a star.

I think the organization will do everything in its power to move Damon, not only because it makes financial sense to get his contract off the books and try to save a bit of cap in the process, but also because he has been a model professional in his time in Memphis. They should do their best to take care of him and move him to a better situation. I expect they will.

3SoB: So what else do you do besides chat with poorly dressed Ron Tillery every morning?
Peter: Obviously my main role is cohosting the show with Ron, but I am also our web administrator. We've got a brand-new web site in the works and I'm working hard right now to put it together. It's going to be great - look for it in the next few weeks. Combine that with on-site reporting and it's a full schedule. But I really enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

nice interview guys. Keep up the good work.

Spartacus said...

Some interesting stuff there. I'd have never believed that Petey was capable of it, to be quite honest. Nice work Chip.

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