Saturday, April 26, 2008

Was Conley a Mistake?

The following comment came up on the Grizzlies Message Board about the biggest mistake in Grizzlies history:
Drafting Conley instead of a long list of others. I like Conley & think he will be good, but we used a 1st rounder on Lowry the previous year and knew that this draft was full of PG's.
How were the Grizzlies supposed to know that last season's group of high schoolers would be this good? Mayo, Bayless and Rose all have extreme talents but I expect each will struggle in their first season in the NBA.

Just like almost every rookie PG does their first year in the NBA.

Just as Conley has done this season. It isn't a coincidence that the Sophomores have only lost once to the rookies on All-Star weekend and it isn't that the drafts just keep getting worse.

First Conley wasn't mentally ready, then he was injured and he didn't get into the swing of things until the last part of the season but he did average 14.3 ppg, 4.3 apg and shot 48% from the field (45% from the arc) the last 8 games of the season. How many people honestly believe any of this season's crop of rookies will average that next season? Or for any month next season? How many of this year's rookies will be averaging almost 10 ppg and 4.2 apg after 53 games next year?

Conley (10/11/87) is the same age as Mayo (11/5/87), 10 months older than Bayless (8/20/88) and just one year older than Rose (10/4/88). I think this time next season he will be far ahead of this year's rookie point guards. I don't know where any of them will be 5 years from now but I hardly think Memphis will be embarrassed by his production.

The poster went on the say that Memphis should have drafted Joakim Noah or Brandon Wright. Can you imagine the furor in Memphis if the Grizzlies had taken one of those players instead of Conley. First Damon Stoudamire would probably still have been starting for the Grizzlies! Second, Lowry, if everyone remembers clearly, was unable to lift a remote control with his injured wrist as the draft approached last year and there were concerns that he would never regain full ability with that wrist.

Of course this poster knew Lowry would be fine, would have had no problem with Damon playing all season in Memphis and would be happy to have Brandon Wright on the team with his 4.2 ppg and 2.8 rpg. Brandon Wright only played 48 games this season in total and he wasn't injured.

Noah I must admit was a different discussion. I actually thought that the final decision should have been between Noah and Conley. Noah has done well since the Bulls traded Joe Smith and Ben Wallace and one could only assume he would have done well in Memphis after Gasol and Swift were traded as well. Of course there is no guarantee that Noah will be better than Lopez, Randolph, Love or Beasley from this draft. Probably better next season but not after three years (see above for the rational on why rookies aren't better than second year players). Of course Noah is also 23 years old now. How much improvement will we see in his game over the next few years compared to a 20 yr old?

People screamed last season that Rudy shouldn't have been traded for Shane. Does anyone feel that way now? Will those people who felt it was a mistake stand up and admit that they felt that way?



No. I didn't expect they would. The reality is that every year the players entering the draft look better than those already in the league. Why? They played against weaker competition. They had more time off between games. They played under a different set of rules. It isn't easy in the NBA. Players struggle making the transition and point guards struggle more than others.

So before you go off and say Mike Conley is the biggest mistake the Grizzlies have ever made, stop and think a little bit. This is the team that signed Cesary Trebanski to a free agent contract. This is a team that traded for Antonio Burks, Andre Emmitt and Lawrence Roberts - none of whom play in the USA right now. This is a team that drafted Robert Archibald and passed on Carlos Boozer. This is the team that traded for Otis Thorpe and missed out on Carmello Anthony, Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh because of it.

How can anyone seriously say Mike Conley was the biggest in Grizzlies history?

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

You are exactly right. There is no way that this is even close to the worst move in the history of the Grizzlies franchise. I actually think that it was a good move to draft Conley. He has the potential to be Tony Parker. Aren't we the team that signed Brian Cardinal to a 20 year, $800,000,000,000 deal? Yes, it is.

August West said...

The only PG in the past 5 years I'd take over Conley is D. Rose, and you don't draft based upon 'what might happen next year and who might possibly have the quality of year that would allow them to leave early for the draft and be a top 5 pick.'

Get real.

jmo21 said...

meh..... CP3, DWill?!?!