Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Will Mike Be Like?

We've all heard the phrase 'If I could be like Mike.' Well we at 3 Shades of Blue decided to take a more local look at that phrase and to think 'what will Mike be like' this season?

This topic was discussed on the Grizzlies message board but it seemed to devolve into a typical player fan arguement. I thought I would instead take a more objective view of the situation on the blog.

Does anyone remember how Rudy performed as a rookie and what his statistics were?

I looked it up to make sure I was remembering things correctly. Rudy played 2,103 minutes as a rookie despite fans being critical he wasn't getting enough playing time. I remember one poster in particular complaining about Barone every time he took Rudy out of a game because Tony had said in his first press conference that he would let Rudy 'die on the floor before taking him out.' Rudy averaged 27 mpg and 10.8 ppg while grabbing 4.5 rpg and 1.3 apg. Not bad numbers for a rookie SF.

Conley played on 1,381 minutes as a rookie yet the same poster who criticized the Grizzlies for not playing Rudy enough complained that the Grizzlies played Conley too much. Despite the fewer minutes played in total Conley also played fewer minutes per game (26.1) yet still averaged 9.4 ppg. 2.6 rpg and 4.2 apg. So after playing in fewer games and fewer minutes per game, Conley's numbers looked very similiar to Rudy's rookie season. One should also remember that Mike was a year younger than Rudy when he entered the leauge and two years younger in physical development.

Mike however has not been as dominating in his 2nd summer league as Rudy was in his his. Perhaps this is from the plethora of PG's or PG wanna-be's on the team. Perhaps this is from Conley not pushing the action enough (which could be an off-shoot of the terrible schedule the team has played). Perhaps this is do to the difficulty of playing the point. There is a big difference from initiating the offense and calling defensive sets at the point and simply trying to score from the small forward spot after all.

I don't know why but I haven't seen the progression yet from his rookie to sophomore seasons but all of the above reasons have had an effect. This doesn't mean Conley is incapable of improving according to his position in a similiar manner to Rudy's progression at Small Forward but it probably would require a move in the roster to free up Conley to play up to the mid 30's in minutes like Rudy did his sophomore season. That would involve a roster move to eliminate the person taking those extra 10 minutes a night of playing time. I am not suggesting the Grizzlies actually move Kyle Lowry. I just believe that the Grizzlies can't expect Conely to average fewer than 35 minutes a game and still see a dramatic improvement in his game.

Personally I don't believe Conley will make the same impact Rudy did in his second season. Conley has to contend with Kyle Lowry and OJ Mayo, both who are extremely talented and want his job, as well as the pressure of being a 20 yr old leader on the court. Rudy was a leader by scoring. Conley has to elevate the games of his teammates and this is much harder to achieve for a 20 yr old 2nd yr player. That is not to say that Conley will be a disappointment. I fully expect him to be a good contributor. I am just unsure he will establish himself among the elite players from his draft by the end of this season.

And that will probably leave some people disappointed.

BallHype: hype it up!

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Anonymous said...

Yes, that will leave you disappointed when you draft a PG in consecutive years. Take Brandon Wright instead, and the future looks much brighter.

Anonymous said...

i said last year to some friends that taking a PG (conley) was a mistake when considering the crop of PGs coming up in the 2008 draft. not to mention, we already had Lowry and a proven vet in Damon. Turns out, we got one of those 2008 PGs in Mayo. I totally agree with the above comment that drafting a big like Wright or Noah last year would have been best.

Joe said...

Umm have any of you guys seen Noah or Wright play? They don't have near the talent level of Conley, especially Noah. Both of them are headcases- Wright doesn't ever play hard and Noah is a pot head that no one likes. Also, Mayo to me and many others is a 2-guard, so that doesn't impact Conley that much. He can play some point, but he really struggles when he does.

Anonymous said...

the best thing to do is trade lowry and warrick for a pf-give the keys to connely -let him drive this thing-let crittendon back up both guard positions and lets roll

AussieGfan said...

Wow when I first saw the title I thought to myself "Mike Miller? Why would they do a story on Mike Miller? Maybe for how we will fit into the TWolves and if we get the better of the trade or not?"

Wow, I think I earned myself an uppercut for that horrible blonde moment.

D-WADE said...

yo mane mah mane mike is da man mane. i'm callin dis shiz rite now MVP!!!!!!! BOYYYYYYYYY!!!!! mike conley > lebron, cp3, and kobe combined biatch. mane i was playin 1 on 1 wit lebron and i like totally skooled hiz ass dawg. bronbron said mike conley = the answer. im prolly gonna try out fo da griz dis year, so ima be playin ball wit conley an ill let you know how good he iz fo real lata dawg. booyakasha.

Anonymous said...

Good analysis Chip . . . overlooks two key things, I think.

Defense. If Kevin O'Neill is the defensive genius that Conley says he is, we're going to be very aggressive, which will likely force turnovers and hopefully some easy baskets. Which brings us to . . .

Offense. Ask Steve Nash and he'll tell you that as a PG, it never hurts to have great finishers. I think that for certain, Rudy and OJ will grow into great finishers, and we should probably expect good things from Arthur and Hak. Haven't even gotten to Gasol and Darko yet. So if these guys can finish at the basket, especially coming off of forced turnover fast breaks, look for Mike Conley to have a good year.


Dave said...

I believe Conley is suffering from the logjam at the point position. He also has two guards who need the ball in their hands and Rudy who needs the ball at SF which limits him again because he doesn't get as much time to create off the dribble.

His biggest problem seems to be confidence because he's too comfortable being the role player. A little passive. He has the ability to demand more of himself on the court.

I'm not sure what to expect from him in his second year. I can't help feeling his talents are going to waste at the moment.

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