Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do the Grizzlies Have 'Big' Problems

It wasn't so long ago that the over-loaded front line drew as much criticism from fans as the current over-loaded point guard position does now. Remember when Memphis had Pau Gasol, Stromile Swift, Bo Outlaw, Lorenzen Wright, Shane Battier, James Posey and Theron Smith all on the roster? Bonzi and Miller were really forwards who were forced into guard roles by the shear number of front line players.

Now Memphis has a dirth of frontline players and those they have are not experienced. Rudy Gay is entering his 3rd season and started a grand total of 124 games in his career. Hakim is beginning his 4th season and started a grand total of 75 games. Darko is the most experienced returning player and in his 5 years in the league he has started a grand total of 83 games in his career. Sure Antoine Walker has experience but he'll be 32 this coming season and hasn't player well since winning his ring in Miami three seasons ago. Does anyone feel confident relying on the 'shimmy shaker' to help educate our young players in how to be professionals?

Then we come to the primary backups at PF and C. Two rookies. One, Darrell Arthur, fell in the draft to 27th because of questionable health and heart. No there is nothing physically wrong with Darrell's heart. It just seems he doesn't bring it to the game every night. The other, Marc Gasol, was a fat kid who liked to take 3 pt shots when he left Memphis to return to Spain. This past season he was in the top 5 of the Spanish league in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. Only one other player in the Spanish leagues accomplished this feat...Pops Mensah Bonsu.

WHO? Pops was on the GW team that shocked the world in the NCAA tournament a few years ago. Nice effort guy and he has a high basketball IQ but hardly someone I would say is going to be an impact player in the NBA. Doesn't that seem to trivialize Gasol's accomplishment a bit?

So the Grizzlies have a combined 283 games started total among all of their front line players not named Walker. That is a little bit more than three seasons of games (246). Antoine does have 707 career starts but only 16 in the last 2 years.

So do the Grizzlie have a big man problem? Perhaps they do. If Arthur and Gasol don't perform, if Darko doesn't improve, if Walker comes in out of shape and with a negative attitude, if Rudy doesn't continue rounding out a complete game to go with his fantastic offensive one and Warrick continues being a black hole on both sides of the court (can't defend anyone and won't pass the ball) then Memphis could be in big trouble.

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Mensa Bonsu played just the last two games for one of the worst teams in the spanish league, where most every play was for him, so it's not an accurate comparation with M. Gasol's numbers.
The real concern is that Marc Gasol is a star in Spain, and the officials protect him, give him cheap fouls and let him defend strong. There was a foul called on every one of his missed shots, and I don't think he'll get this kind of protection on the nba, so...

Anonymous said...

So we need to trade for a veteran big, eh? Someone to school our young bigs, play some tough defense, who can put up respectable numbers each night?

Yes, Grizz fans . . . we have a need for SHEED.

Joe D. is ready to make some moves. . . don't know who we have that he'd want (Hak + a 1st rounder? Antoine Walker's expiring?), but I think Rasheed Wallace would fill a lot of holes for us. Bring some fire, some championship experience, and despite his knucklehead reputation (not as many Techs this season, by the way), I understand his basketball IQ is off the charts.

Sheed rebounds, defends, blocks shots . . . and could help develop the player he once dubbed "The Serbian Gangster." He'd be an instant fan favorite.

And if we're going to bring in veterans, I want to bring in some with championship experience, or at least conference championship experience.

All that said, I do want to see where 'Toine's head is before we trade him. . . if he's motivated, and willing to bang in the post, he could provide us those things as well.


Chip Crain said...

Any deal for Sheed would have to include Detroit taking Antoine back!

Having said that I don't see how the Grizzlies would acquire Sheed. He doesn't fit at all in Heisley's 3 yr plan.

Shawn said...

Rudy: (to Chip) Did you just call warrick a black ho?

Conley: Man, a HOLE.

Warrick: What's a black hole?

Darko: A black hole is a theoretical object in space. It is so dense that matter collapses... and light itself cannot escape. (shoots his free throw)

Coach I: I knew that

Acehigh718 said...

The most pessimistic post to not come from Zack, in quite some time :D. However I regard this as the most realistic post that I've seen in quite some time. Many of us fans (myself included) have been "gaga" over the recent acquisitions by the front office, but the inexperience of our roster will still likely relegate us to being a 20-something win team for the third season running. My fear is that this "3 year plan" is going to cause management to look at the present with a blind eye, in order to look towards the future, and thus damage the future. If they ignore what is the present, the young players that we now have could grow disinterested in the franchise ala Pau Gasol, and cause problems down the line. I understand that the idea is to build for future success, which I completely understand and support, but I also would like to see a bit more commitment to competing now, as well.

Anonymous said...


We want to build experience among our guys, but we have to be careful not to have that be the experience of losing. That's why I'd love to see us bring in some veteran champions to offset our youthful exuberance and build in some winning traits.

To me, this AUGMENTS the 3-year plan instead of detracting from it - even if said veteran players are not part of the long term picture.

My targets? In no particular order, position or consideration of actually being able to get them:

Antoine Walker
Rasheed Wallace
Robert Horry
Sam Cassell
Tayshaun Prince
Rip Hamilton
Chauncey Billups
Raja Bell

Of course, of the guys on this list that aren't old as dirt, few would want to come to the worst team in the league to be a backup/mentor to our young guys. But these are the kinds of players I'm thinking of: Savvy vets who have won at the NBA's highest levels.

For the record, what might make a Sheed deal unattractive for Joe D.: Sheed's contract expires after this season. Don't see him trading for a smaller expiring (Toine's), or if he does, not before February.

Here's hoping that 'Toine can be that veteran we need. I have a hunch that as long as we give him playing time (OK, he mostly earns it) he'll support the program. He wants a new contract, probably wants to contend, needs to rehab his image, so there's plenty of motivation.


Chip Crain said...

L3E - Isn't Antoine Walker already on the Grizzlies?

Anonymous said...

@ first anonymous:

Actually, Pops only played the last game.

Anonymous said...

A trade for 'Sheed? That would be too good to be true. I don't see how we could work one out anyways. Maybe Lowry, Hak, and a first rounder would be enough to get him. Since we have a significant amount of cap space, we don't need to even bother throwing in Walker's expiring, unless they actually want it. Of course 'Sheed's contract expires this year, so he may walk after just one year and we would waste our time and draft picks on him just like Navarro (except in in a Rasheed Wallace trade we would have to give up two good, young players also, which would be worse). Still, I it would be really cool to take a risk on 'Sheed. It would definately put asses in the seats. There's no doubt about that.

Ugo Valenti said...

The Marc Gasol's comparison with Pops Mensah Bonsu is absolutely ridicolous: it would be like saying that Donte' Green will be the best rookie of this generation based on his performance on just one summer league game.

grizguru said...

UGHHH! Sheed no way! That's all the Griz need is a malcontent serial technical fouler on board to
poison the young guys! I think they are doing the right thing now and not trying to waste a trade or FA on some over the hill has been who will give them one good year and then be bought out. That is what Jerry West would do and it DIDNT work! He went for the quick fix not a smart fix. I still like the deal they may make with Orlando trading Critt for Bogans and a draft pick.

Anonymous said...

Rasheed Wallace? That would be sweet. He would actually bring some attitude to this team, which we definately need. Plus he is super-talented. We would make a run at the playoffs this year if we got Sheed.

Anonymous said...

Darko has shown good things in his first year as a starter against big players like Duncan, Shaq, Yao. Actually, he plays his best against those type of centers.
That's why I would have liked another center with a different bodytype. If Darko doesnt have the body to run a faster pace game, I dont see Gasol faring any better when the opposing team goes small unless Arthur fills that role.
5-10 years ago I would have loved to have two intense 22 year old seven footers.
In the Kings>Mavs>Suns wake, im not sure its really needed.
Still, if both pan out, you can always trade one.
Big, aggressive centers are always needed. If there was more of them, you wouldnt have guys like Loren Woods hanging around forever based on their size only.

Btw, relax and breathe yall...this team is not playing 500 ball next year.
Whenever you get too carried away, remember we still dont have a starting PG and just look at the standings and remember that the Grizz play in the West.
Then, remember who the rest of the teams in the division are.

Progression to the next step and improvement of individual players is what Im looking for.

But even talking about 500 is absurd.

Oh yeah, wasnt Iavaroni the defensive specialist when he was with the Suns because I have family in Toronto and the words Kevin Oneill made both my cousins wince.
Seems inconsistency was a mantra around the Raptors the year he was in charge (and while you can teach lazy dogs like Jalen Rose and Wince Carter new tricks, his defensive prowess was nowhere to be seen that year) and you cant find one media guy who would suggest that he is a good addition.
His mouth also got him fired, so it should be interesting to have a guy who can antagonize players, management and media in less than 8 months on a job.

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