Check out those pictures. The absolute embodiment of intensity, intimidation and toughness, isn't it? That's exactly what the Memphis Grizzlies have been missing, haven't they? So Joey Dorsey should be the obvious pick when the Grizzlies selection comes up at #28, right? Well, no....not exactly.
Yesterday, I linked to Geoff Calkins' column where he countered the claims of the local fanbase that the Grizzlies should draft Dorsey based upon his local connection:
So now comes another former Memphis Tiger, Joey Dorsey, available in another NBA Draft. Should the Grizzlies take him with the second of their first-round picks?
Of course they should, if -- and only if -- they think he is the best player available at the time.
If Dorsey is the best player available at No. 28 -- and he might well be -- then, by all means, take the guy. He's always been a pleasure to cover. He's charming the press again at the Orlando pre-draft camp.
But don't make the pick because he's a Memphis kid.
I agree 100% with that line of reasoning. If he is the best talent available at #28, then the Grizzlies should definitely consider him at that point. He has all the makings of a more dynamic Reggie Evans-like player and a recent post on the Wages of Wins Journal predicts that Dorsey will be a very productive player. I truly believe that if Dorsey lands with the "right team", then he could be a tremendous source of energy and intensity.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the Grizzlies are that "right team". While discussing the breakthrough season that Kendrick Perkins has had for the Boston Celtics, I made the case that Perkins made the leap this year due to the presence of Kevin Garnett in the same locker room. Many Grizz fans were bemoaning the fact that yet another "quality player" had slipped through our grasp, but having seen what a difference KG has made in Perk's level of play, I'm convinced that he wouldn't have experienced the same success if he had remained in Memphis, who originally drafted him. Garnett has provided Perkins with a veteran to look up to as a role model, but also acts like a big brother in a fraternity, meaning he'll dress him down in a heartbeat if he feels that it is necessary. That's the real "veteran leadership" that you hear coaches, players and experts talk about in reverent tones when discussing teams who have that special something that is needed to win titles.
Bringing this back to the Grizzlies, the question is: Do the Memphis Grizzlies have that type of veteran leadership? My honest assessment is that they do not. What does this have to do with Joey Dorsey? Well, he has been described by more than one writer/coach/fan as being a "knucklehead". Even though he is a fun-loving, gregarious guy that is beloved in this city, I have to agree with that label. He had trouble staying motivated in college and got into a few scrapes that should have been easily avoided. Taking him with a first round pick means that not only will he stay in the city that was the host to some of his well-publicized transgressions, but that he'll have a guaranteed contract paying him millions of dollars, too. Without having someone to be his "big brother", it is very easy to imagine the trouble that Joey could get himself into. Of course, the idea that a 24-year old needs someone to keep him out of trouble is a little disconcerting to begin with.
Therein lies the issue that the Memphis Grizzlies will have to contemplate if Dorsey is still there when pick #28 comes up. I have heard from plenty of fans that if they hear excuses about not picking "Player X" because of "character issues" then they will hit the roof. I don't know which way the front office is leaning, but it will not be an easy decision. Guess we'll have to wait until June 26th to see how it all plays out.