First up is the Commercial Appeal, where Ron Tillery reports live from Orlando:
What some critics view as nominal compensation in receiving the Los Angeles Lakers' 28th pick in the first round of the June 26 draft, Griz general manager Chris Wallace sees as a calculated risk that can pay high dividends.
He also lists some players that the Grizzlies might be targeting:
Among the players the Griz will consider at 28 are: Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), Shan Foster (Vanderbilt), Darnell Jackson (Kansas), Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga), Richard Hendrix (Alabama), Joey Dorsey (Memphis), Davon Jefferson (Southern California), Trent Plaisted (Brigham Young) and JR Giddens (New Mexico).
Of course, the name that stands out to most Memphis fans is that of Joey Dorsey, as evidenced by our poll to the right. However, Geoff Calkins says "Now, don't get all sentimental on us, Grizzlies" when it comes time to make the tough choices in the draft. In fact, he outlines a few flawed ideas that many fans have about the draft this year. It is a great read that I highly recommend.
After Chris Herrington posted this blog entry last week, the Grizzlies Messageboards lit up with the idea that new assistant coach Kevin O'Neill was being brought in as a replacement for head coach Marc Iavaroni. I said then that it was nothing more than conjecture (which Chris himself admitted from the beginning) and maintain the same stance now. Fortunately, Pete Pranica rode in just in time to back up what I said upon hearing of the news:
Back now, I’ve been encouraged by the reports of hiring Kevin O’Neill as an assistant coach for Marc Iavaroni’s staff. O’Neill has a track record of putting good defensive teams on the floor. Give credit to the Grizzlies’ front office and coaching staff for considering the move as it underscores their commitment to addressing the Grizz’s most glaring weakness.
This is a great move to shore up an obvious weakness and everyone should leave the conspiracy theories alone for a little while.
There have also been a number of trade rumors floating around, which is not unusual leading up to the draft. Some of the more entertaining ones:
Hoopsworld: PG's for Sale? - "We've heard rumors that the Heat would deal their #2 overall pick to the Grizzlies for #5 and either Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, Juan Carlos Navarro, or Javaris Crittenton. In fact, basically any team that needs a point guard is rumored to have a trade scenario on the table or at least in discussion with Memphis GM Chris Wallace. The simple truth, however, is that the Grizzlies are not nearly as infatuated with making a deal as the rumor folks would have you believe."
DraftExpress - "There is already some talk that Minnesota will look to make a trade with Memphis GM Chris Wallace, who would then have the option of fortifying his front-court by drafting Brook Lopez at #3, or swinging for the fences and taking O.J. Mayo. Memphis could offer Minnesota the young prospect of their choice in Kyle Lowry, Hakim Warrick or Javaris Crittenton to help facilitate the deal. Wallace only has two more years left on his contract and needs to make as big a splash as possible in this draft to jump-start Memphis’ rebuilding process, meaning he could be leaning more towards taking Mayo, especially if his team is drafting 5th."
Blazers Blog (OregonLive.com) - "It appears the Memphis Grizzlies have interest, offering Mike Miller to Portland for Travis Outlaw and the No. 13. Excuse me? As expected, Kevin Pritchard and the Blazers respectfully declined the offer." Chris Wallace strongly denied this offer ever took place while talking to Chris Vernon on 730 ESPN yesterday afternoon.
Speaking of Mike Miller, he and his wife made the local news recently by donating $200,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. That is the single largest donation to the hospital by an individual Grizzlies player. Good job Mike and Jennifer!
Websites to read while waiting for the draft:
Wages of Wins Draft Preview
Yahoo! Sports: Pre-draft camp Day 2
2008 NBA Mock Draft Database (DC Pro Sports)