Friday, March 21, 2008

Memphis at New York - 3.21.08

Memphis let another big lead slip away on the road in Minnesota. That is good news however as once again the Grizzlies are playing the ping pong game instead of preparing for the playoffs. Memphis is experimenting with different lineups, dealing with injuries and basically hoping to somehow avoid being in this position next year by finding the right spot to be in the lottery. The Grizzlies are young

New York hasn't won a playoff game since the Grizzlies were in Vancouver and haven't been in the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. During that time Isiah Thomas has been the team's coach, GM and leading sexual predator yet he was surprised to hear a rumor that James Doolan is thinking about replacing him. Only in New York could someone do as bad a job as Isiah and still have a job. People may accuse the Grizzlies of tanking but looking at the starting lineup in NYC, this won't be one of those times.

Point Guards: Mike Conley vs Nate Robinson
Nate Robinson has been one of Isiah's best draft picks since taking over the Knicks. That in itself says a lot more about Isiah's tenure than Nate Robinson who has overcome height difficulties to actually become a decent PG in his 3rd NBA season. In just 26 mpg Nate is averaging 12.7 ppg and 3.0 apg. Conley, more of a passer than a scorer, is averaging 8.6 ppg and 4.2 apg in 25.8 mpg as a rookie. Neither player is exactly turning the league on its ear this season but both are young and should improve. Conley has the greater upside but that won't matter tonight.
Advantage: New York

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Jamal Crawford
Mike Miller continues to put up solid numbers both scoring and rebounding despite the lack of support around him. That's a lot to put on his back and it is doubtful that his back will hold up much longer under the strain. Jamal Crawford is a converted scoring PG who has finally come to realize he is more of a SG and is playing much better. Crawford's not sure what the difference between is between a good shot and a bad but he isn't afraid to shoot himself out of a slump, no matter how long that takes.
Advantage: Memphis

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Wilson Chandler
Wilson Chandler is a rookie from DePaul and has replaced Quentin Richardson in the starting lineup. That could be from a legitimate injury or from the fact that Q is shooting 35% from the floor and doesn't play defense. Not that Chandler is a great improvement. Rudy has been struggling being the main man on the team as should be expected from a 21 yr old 2nd yr player. Something tells me Rudy is going to enjoy the bright lights of NYC.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Hakim Warrick vs David Lee
Hakim has been a nice surprise since the trade of Gasol but has been struggling to remain in the starting lineup despite his strong play. David Lee has been struggling to get into the starting lineup but will probably stay now that he is there. Lee is an old school player. He has decent range but he is a bruising enforcer more than a finesse player. A superior rebounder Lee's main drawback is a lack of quickness that Hakim may be able to exploit at times but don't think that means Lee is slow because he will often beat his man down to court for powerful dunks.
Advantage: New York

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Zack Randolph
Assuming Darko is healthy enough to play with his left hand/wrist problems, Randolph should have difficulty keeping Darko off the glass and away from the rim. However Randolph brings different problems for Darko. Randolph can play further from the basket than most centers, has the ability to use his wide frame to create space inside and seems to love playing the Grizzlies.
Advantage: New York

Benches: Memphis vs New York
New York has Eddie Curry, Stephon Marbury and Quentin Richardson shelved. That is a lot of talent to not have available. Throw in Jarrett Jeffries, Malik Rose and Jerome James who have not performed as advertised since being acquired and NY is struggling off the bench. Renaldo Balkman, last season's surprise rookie, has not improved his game this season and is looking more and more like a bust with long hair. Memphis' bench has strong play in the back court with Navarro, Crittenton and Lowry but little from the front court. This may mean Navarro is again starting with Warrick coming off the bench, especially with New York not having a lot of size up front.
Advantage: Memphis

Update: Zack Randolph will apparently not be playing tonight against the Grizzlies as Isiah Thomas admits the Knicks are "playing for the future" and looking to see what value Randolph Morris and Winston Chandler have for the future. This is perhaps the earliest season ever where the multiple teams have given up on the year.

Relevant Blogs/Websites:
Father Knickerbocker
Posting and Toasting
Frank Isola- NY Daily News

BallHype: hype it up!

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