Friday, July 11, 2008

Bad News from the Head Bear

I'll start this off by apologizing. I am about to rain on your parade. As someone who really, really loved the acquisition of O. J. Mayo. I was really on cloud 9 after the details of that trade were leaked by The Memphis Flyers Chris Herrington. I thought the shackles were finally off of GM Chris Wallace and the Grizzlies were going to become an aggressive team builder. Unfortunately, just when you think things are about to make a turn for the better with the Grizzlies, Michael Heisley shows up and reminds you that any hope for success under his ownership is and will always be an exercise in futility.

What I am referring to is his debut of The Three Year Plan (TYP). Being caught up in the euphoria of Mayo-to-Memphis, I almost was fooled. I mean, in theory, it sounds real freaking good.

"We're committed to putting a contending team on the floor," Heisley said, "and the target is three years. I'm looking for -- three years from today Memphis to have a team than contends and then turning that team into a team that competes for championships."

Sounds good on the surface doesn't it? However, when you look at the statement, it makes absolutely no sense. In three years Heisley wants a team that contends and then turn that team into a team that competes for championships. Uh...say what? So in three years, what exactly will the Grizzlies be Mr. Heisley?

I think most fans that have bought into this "plan", have done so on the notion that in three years the Grizzlies will be where New Orleans and Utah are today. Heisley even brings up the Hornets when speaking about his plan:

I'm thinking if we get guys like New Orleans' (Chris) Paul and (David) West; if we get our two guys then I could basically go out there and hire free agents to move forward toward winning a championship.

So aren't Rudy Gay, Michael Conley and O. J. Mayo supposed to be our Chris Paul and David West? I guess not because we are not even considering making a move to hire any free agents this year. Now I am not saying it is a must to spend our cap room this summer but I think a team with a plan would at least be looking...that is unless year one of the plan involved saving money and having anothe sub 30 win season.

Hopefully, for Grizz fans sake, Heisley is just trying to recoup some cash before he sells the team. Between the lower payroll, cash via trades, and cash from the teams paying the luxury tax this season I suppose the Grizzlies have been profitable or at least break even for the first time in Memphis and this year will likely lead to an eight figure profit. Maybe at this point Heisley will finally be able to find a buyer with the cash to purchase and the sense to understand that Memphis can be a profitable market if the fans are given a worthwile product to follow.

Chico's Bail Bonds anyone?

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Damn, X . . .

First things first:

Let's build a COMPETITIVE team, first.

Then, we can talk about being a CONTENDER in the playoffs.

Then, we can talk about our CHAMPIONSHIP aspirations.

All Heisley said was what any owner or GM would say: We're working toward a championship. Given that 41 of 62 NBA championships were won by four teams (Celtics, Lakers, Bulls and Spurs), this is a lofty goal.

If anything, I'm impressed by the top down drive. All of those championship teams were won not just on the court, but in all aspects of the franchise, including the front office.

It will take years, and some luck for us to get into the WCF, let alone the Finals. But that is the goal . . .


MemphisX said...

L3E, I agree it SEEMS like a good plan.

However, one thing you will notice about good organizations is that they never, ever go through a period of futility the Grizzlies are about to experience. Good teams don't settle for three years of sub 30 win seasons...check It simply isn't allowed. The Grizzlies are fostering a losing attitude and somehow people think that after 5 years of losing, Rudy Gay is going to be a winner.

Does that even make sense to you?

Name me one player that has been on a team as bad as the Grizzlies for a five year period that you consider someone the Grizzlies should acquire.

I think the Grizzlies will be a 15-20 win team next year unless they acquire a major contributor (someone considered a higher level player than Mike Miller). I think most people on board with the plan think the Grizzlies will actually win 30+ games next season.

Chip Crain said...

Name me one player that has been on a team as bad as the Grizzlies for a five year period that you consider someone the Grizzlies should acquire.

How about Elton Brand? Dirk Nowitzki? Jason Kidd suffered thru a long run of terrible teams in Dallas before things turned around. Al Jefferson hasn't been to the playoffs in how many years and I would love to acquire him.

I don't know what your point is MemphisX. Haven't you wanted to blow the team and rebuild to get out of the mediocre middle of the road situation the Grizzlies were in for years? Now that they have done that you are criticizing them for not returning to mediocrity immediately.

Anonymous said...

I'll take the middle of the road here.
That way, I can get hit both ways.

I do believe that we need to add veterans, and not just NBA veterans, but proven playoff veterans. That's one reason I'm optimistic about 'Toine. Say what you want, he has a NBA Championship. I do agree that unless you have someone who can help create a winning culture, that we could be doomed to grooming our guys to be mediocre at best.

And yet, I do think we'll be better this year. Two main factors I harp on (three, actually).
In short, another team has to fall off and/or underperform for whatever reason. Looks like this year it could be GSW, LAC, PHX, maybe SAC (if Artest acts up). Those wins have to go somewhere. Why not us?
Let's not forget that Conley was hurt, Darko was hurt, Mike Miller was hurt. Kyle arguably would have progressed more if he had played his whole rookie season instead of getting hurt 10 games in. And of course, Pau was out 22 games that season, too. Never underestimate the power of pure health on team success.
Dumb luck.
I still say that in a lot of games, particularly those 10 nailbiters we lost, a missed shot here, a deflection there, a defensive stop in the middle . . . this 22-win team could EASILY have won 30 games. And who knows how such wins might have built momentum? I know that winners win, but far more frequently than any of us would like to admit, winning or losing games sometimes comes down to a lucky bounce.

I wonder how last season would have come off if we'd been able to knock of the NBA Champion Spurs on Opening Night (getting that home opener monkey off our backs, no less). What do you think that would have done for team and fan morale?

So sure, why not be optimistic? If Portland and New Orleans can turn it around, why not us? Shoot, Miami went from Lottery to Champions and back to lottery in FIVE YEARS. A lot can happen in the NBA.


MemphisX said...

How about Elton Brand? Dirk Nowitzki? Jason Kidd suffered thru a long run of terrible teams in Dallas before things turned around. Al Jefferson hasn't been to the playoffs in how many years and I would love to acquire him.

None of those players have played on three consecutive sub 30 win teams or missed the playoffs 5 years in a row.

The criticism is about not utilizing all your assets to execute your "plan". The reasoning behind it does not make sense. The choice to not pursue any free agents is a bad decision. There is hardly any competition and a host of free agents 25 and under. It is a perfect situation to add a player to the team.

Anonymous said...

How about Elton Brand? Dirk Nowitzki? Jason Kidd suffered thru a long run of terrible teams in Dallas before things turned around. Al Jefferson hasn't been to the playoffs in how many years and I would love to acquire him.

Kevin Garnett anyone? He was stuck in mediocrity in Minnesota for years and years.

Also, if Heisley sells the team, the 17 year lease is still in play right? Even if he sells the team, we they can't take the Griz away from us, can they?

Chip Crain said...

Brand went 6 years without making the playoffs. He's only made it once in his entire career.

Kidd started off on one of the worst teams in NBA history and failed to make the playoffs his first two seasons before finally reaching the playoffs in his 3rd season. Similiar to what Mayo is facing today.

Dirk failed to make the playoffs his first two seasons before making it in his 3rd season as well.

You implication that the team won't be there for 5 straight seasons is assuming a worst case scenario and I provided 3 examples of players who started off bad but turned things around by their 3rd season. The same can happen in Memphis.

Dallas was the worst NBA team in the 1990's and the best in the early 2000's. They rebuild with youth and once the youth started winning built around them with intelligent moves.

RKT said...

I think the implications include the last two seasons. We already have two sub-30 win seasons under our belts. It's very likely that we will have a third with this year. That may only be one for Mayo, but that will be 3 staight for Rudy. What do you think the chances are that Gay will want to resign with the Grizzlies and continue that? I do think we have made some moves in the right direction, however, to expect our young talent to stick around through the end of the three year plan is wishful thinking. Rookie contracts just aren't long enough to build through the draft on a 3 year plan. As you are adding your final pieces, your original pieces are getting ready to skip town and go somewhere that has been winning. I personall think 30 wins is a must for the Grizzlies this year, even if playing the youngsters. Not reaching that total will make signing next year even harder, and will start some of our guys towards the door the following year. I think a sub 40 win season the following season guarantees guys leave with contracts up.

Anonymous said...

Um . . .

Don't forget the money.

It appears that in the earlier stages of a player's career (certainly those still on rookie contracts), they are willing to sign for a payday. In that case, the Grizzlies can, of course, outbid anyone for its own free agents. That's part of the reason why we're not spending money right now.

It's usually not until later in a player's career, after they've secured their future with millions of dollars, that they begin making FA choices based on things other than money.

But the Grizz are facing the same things every team with hot young players face: they want to impress their young guys that they ARE working toward a winning program. See LeBron, DWade. Chris Wallace knows this, but he knows he has to play it smart.

All that said, I would have thrown a chunk of money at an Elton Brand. And I'd consider getting Posey back, but he'd probably want to start ahead of Rudy or OJ.

Anonymous said...

Heisley's real 3-year plan is to sell the team within three years.