Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rebuilding: Building A Contender vs. Blowing It Up

As this disappointing season continues its slow march towards another lottery pick, fans of the Memphis Grizzlies have divided into two camps regarding the future of the team. On one side, you have fans who wish to completely blow up the team, keeping only Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and perhaps Kyle Lowry. One of those fans writes for this very blog under the name MemphisX. I respect his opinion and understand his reasoning for wanting to see the team revamp itself. However, as anyone who has read my posts here or on the Grizzlies message board can attest, I am a member of the other group, which wishes to see this team built up, rather than blown up. My plan would be to build around Rudy/Conley as well, but while keeping Pau Gasol and either Mike Miller or Juan Carlos Navarro, but probably not both. With some help from ChipC3, I think I have compiled some evidence that this is possible and would be in the best interests of the team's chances for future success.

The impetus for this post came about after reading Tom Ziller's great article on Ballhype, that is best described as a study of the relationship between a team's average age and win totals. In the article, Ziller splits the results according to 4 categories: Good, Bad, Young and Old. Then the teams are placed on a simple graph to see how they line up. The Grizzlies not-so-surprisingly fall into the "Bad" category for the past season and a half. However, they also qualify for the "Young" designation, given that their average age is 25.3 -- 24.9 if you don't include non-contributor Brian Cardinal. With Damon Stoudamire on the team, the average age was still only 26, well within the "Young" range. It is Ziller's contention that it is acceptable to be Bad and Young, but being Bad and Old is the "no man's land" that should lead teams to blow things up and start over. The Miami Heat are the ultimate example of this theory according to TZ.

Keep reading....

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