Monday, July 7, 2008

A Brief Introduction to the Summer Time Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies announced their Summer League roster on Wednesday to a rather universal blah. Outside of Mayo, Crittenton and Conley there are very few big names included and no outstanding bloggers that we know of yet (we still miss you Rod Benson).

Here is a quick rundown of every player invited to play from their height, weight and college or international experience.

Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo - 6-4.25 SG/PG Rookie USC
-If you don't know who this is yet what are you doing on this website? OJ Mayo was the main attraction in the big late night draft trade that sent Mike Miller and #5 pick Kevin Love to Minnesota. A combo guard Mayo provides big name exposure, full court awareness and a nice outside shot to a Grizzlies team that was sorely lacking an identity after the Pau Gasol trade last season.

Mike Conley - 6-1 PG 1 yr exp Ohio State
- Conley's rookie season was filled with injuries that limited him to 53 games last season but he still started 46 of those games. Once established as a starter, Conley averaged double figures in points in three of the last four months. Assists are supposed to be Conley's forte and yet he only averaged over 5 assists per game in one month (not coincidentally the last month Pau Gasol was on the team). His shooting was sporadic as it is for most rookies but he finished strong and is working to improve his shot over the summer.

Javaris Crittenton - 6-4.75 SG/PG 1 yr exp Georgia Tech
- JCritt is the one player who could help himself the most in the summer league. The one player demanded in the Gasol trade (outside of Kwame Brown's expiring contract) JCritt struggled to find a place in the rotation as he tried out as SG most of his time in Memphis. JCritt is extremely young, not turning 21 until Dec 31 so there is a lot of hope he will develop. However it was rumored (and apparently confirmed by video) that he was offered to Philly in exchange for their #1 pick in the 2008 draft. JCritt will probably need a roster adjustment (read trade) to get a chance to play consistently unless he blows away people in the summer league.

Darrell Arthur - 6-9 PF rookie Kansas
- When Memphis last saw Arthur play he was wrecking havoc on the inside in Kansas' OT win in the National Championship game. His 22 pts and 10 rebounds were critical in keeping Kansas close enough to make the last second charge. Arthur was supposed to be a late lottery pick in the draft but rumors of a kidney problem (not real) caused him to drop and Memphis made the move necessary to acquire him with the 27th pick. Frequently players who fall in the draft like this make big splashes early as they feel they have something to prove. Arthur will need to put on weight and muscle to compete at PF but he seems to have the frame to support that growth and the attitude to do what is necessary.

Malick Badiane - 6-11 C/PF Saint Vallier (France)
- Many people have forgotten about the trade deadline acquisition of Malick Badiane's rights for the rights to Sergie Lishuk and his visa problems. Originally drafted by the Houston Rockets out of Senegal Badiane has spent four years in Europe and has played on the Senegal National basketball team. Only 24 Badiane is still a work in progress and with a 7-5 wingspan and 32" vertical there is a lot of potential in his game. However he is still considered very raw by NBA standards and would benefit most by upgrading to a more competitive league in Europe.

Alan Anderson - 6-6 SG/SF Michigan State Vitrus Bologna (Italy)
- A converted PG from college Anderson has struggled to find a spot in the NBA after being waived by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006. Anderson was MVP of the Spartans his senior season after leading the team to the NCAA Final Four. His last season was spent in the Italian league (one of the most competitive in Europe). His NBA career has consisted of 53 games (with 7 starts) and a 5.8 ppg average. Being that Anderson turns 26 before the start of the season this may be his last opportunity to make an NBA squad and should be well motivated to give a good showing.

Anthony Leon Tucker - 6-5 SF Texas 1 yr exp
'P J' Tucker played for the Texas Longhorns alongside LeMarcus Aldridge and some said he actually had a better final season than the eventual #4 pick. He was a Wooden Award finalist and was voted Big 12 all-defensive team his last year at Texas. Size has always been a big concern for Tucker who doesn't have the ball skills or agility to play SG in the NBA. A 2nd rd draft pick for the Toronto Raptors Tucker was eventually released to make room for Luke Jackson after bouncing back and forth between the big club and the D League. Last season Tucker was voted MVP of the Ligat Winner (Israeli Premier League) while leading his club to the Championship and dethroning 14 yr champion Macabi Tel Aviv in the process. Only 23 Tucker has an outside shot to make the team as a backup to Rudy Gay thanks to his defensive ability.

Steve Burtt, Jr. - 6-0 PG Iona Ashkelon (Israel)
- Son of former NBA player Steve Burtt Sr, Burtt is known as a smooth scorer. Learning the game on the streets of Harlem, Burtt followed his father's footsteps to Iona and now hopes to follow him one step further into the NBA. Burtt was the Iona teams captain and was second team all MAAC after finishing 3rd in the conference in scoring (25.2 ppg). His main drawback at his size has been the lack of assist production (3.3 apg as a senior). Being primarily a shoot first PG on a team deep at PG isn't promising for Burtt. Burtt was a main contributor on Askelon last season playing with former Tiger Chris Massie.

Ebi Ere - 6-5 SG Brisbane, Australia
- Ebi is in the USA trying to find a team...literally. Ebi's former team, Brisbane Bullets turned their license back into the league at the end of the season. Ere was a leading scorer in Australia this past season averaging 27.2 ppg. Born in Tulsa and actually playing on the Sooner basketball team for one season (2002) when the Sooners made the NCAA Final Four Ere has been described as an athletic wing player who can create his own shot and score points in bunches. With the overload of PG's on the team this could be an excellent opportunity for Ere to garner some attention. Like Tucker he has an outside chance at finding a roster spot on the Grizzlies.

Aaron Pettway - 6-10 C Oklahoma State SIG Strasbourg
- Strasbourg was Pettway's third European club. The 2006-07 season he played in Poland averaging 9.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots and was named to the Polish League All-Star team. Born in Mobil, Alabama Pettway only played 2 seasons at Oklahoma State and didn't distinguish himself there in very limited minutes. Pettway has been described as an athletic freak who can block shots, rebound on both ends of the court and run the court well. Of course there are concerns about the level of competition he has faced in garnering this type of praise.

Brent Petway - 6-8 SF Michigan Idaho Stampede (NBDL)
- Petway is long and lean. At only 205 pounds he is not effective inside and yet doesn't appear to have 3 pt range which limits his NBA effectiveness. Petway, not related to Aaron by the way, is an efficient scorer however shooting 54% last season in the NBDL mostly on dunks but only averaged 7.2 ppg as well. His size and quickness could make him an effective defender however as he averaged 1.5 bpg and 0.8 spg. The blocks in particular are impressive as the league isn't known for their defensive play. Petway won the D league dunk contest this season and afterward challenged NBA Slam Dunk Champ Dwight Howard to a competition. The boy has some moxie. Nicknamed Air Georgia, Petway has shown the ability to unleash massive dunks during games as well and ought to be very exciting to watch in the summer league.

Hector Romero - 6-8 SF New Orleans St Montepas (Italy)
- Venezuelan Hector Romero played in the 2002 FIBA World Championship. Romero isn't considered a real threat to be on the Grizzlies roster this coming season after averaging only 5 mpg in the Italian league last season. That is surprising since Romero did draw some attention at the 2006 Vegas Summer league playing for Portland. There is some question about his height (sometimes described as being closer to 6-5 than 6-8) but he is a tough player who can score inside and out, rebounds well and rarely gives up on plays. He plays smart and makes the right pass, is in the right position defensively and can score.

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Why is Mayo listed as 6'3" and Crittenton as 6'5"?

Mayo measured 6'3.25 with no shoes at the combine, just taller than Crittenton who measured an even 6'3" the year before?

If it's based on WITH shoes, then both guards should be listed as 6'5" according to NBA standards.

Chip Crain said...

How about I use the Orlando measurements for both players in shoes?

Anonymous said...

I hope PJ Tucker sticks, he was one of my favorite players at Texas and I'm rooting for him. He's small for a modern NBA SF, but in college he always played above his size, especially in the post, and was one of the hardest workers on the court.

GrizzledGrizzFan said...

Tucker and Ebe were the two names that I immediately noticed when the roster was first released. I hope things work out and they do find roster spots with the Grizz. It's a shame that Badiane's game isn't further along - his size would be nice to have on reserve.

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