Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Most Terrifying Place in the World

Memphis has made some interesting moves over the last 15 months (or since the arrival of Chris Wallace if you prefer). From a trade for Juan Carlos Navarro, the draft night trade for O J Mayo and the well documented trade of Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies have been one of the more active teams in trades since Wallace's arrival.

However, the most intriguing moves by the Grizzlies may have been their free agent signings. First, the Grizzlies acquired Darko Milicic prior to his outburst in the FIBA Championships last season. Now they have signed Hamed Haddadi from Axis of Evil power Iran. Throw in Marc Gasol, another 7 ft physical player and you have remade the Grizzlies from a weak, thin interior to a big interior. The question becomes are tall and heavy enough?

Intimidation takes more than just size. You have to have a reason for people to feel intimidated being in your presence.

It is possible that the Grizzlies now could play two players from countries most famous for Slobadan Milocevic's war crimes and The Ayatollah Khomeni's supporters taking the US Embassy hostage and they could be playing at the same time!

Isn't that special. A foul mouthed, 7 ft PF/C countryman of one of the most genocidal leaders in the 21st century and a inexperienced 7-2 center who's leader is one of the USA's most vitriolic enemies. I wonder how many teams will tell their big men to try and get rough with these two big men under the basket? Would you want to scrape it up under the basket with an Iranian and a Serb?

This alone won't make the Grizzlies front line something that other teams fear on the basketball court...or will it? If anyone has seen Darko's explosion at the FIBA Championships they have to worry that Darko could be a bit unstable emotionally.

Now add in a huge Iranian next to him and it just might give some players a moments pause and at this level that moment could make a difference. Just being put between two true 7 ft players who aren't afraid to mess it up in the paint and aren't in control enough to prevent banging indiscriminately and you have the potential for someone getting hurt. Throw in 7 ft Marc Gasol, who already sent Chris Bosh flying across the floor during the Olympics and Memphis suddenly has a physical if questionably talented interior force.

Is it more important to be talented or physical? Bill Laimbeer never reached the All-Star game due to his skills with the basketball after all. San Antonio puts skill at the PF position with Tim Duncan, but hasn't hesitated to throw out Fabricio Oberto, Francisco Elson or Rasho Nesterovic in the middle with their elbows sticking out. They aren't much to look at, but they keep people away from the rebounds also.

So will the Memphis middle join the list of most dangerous places to venture alone in the world? Probably not but only time will tell for sure.

Now don't you wish you hadn't made fun of Josh's camel jokes?

BallHype: hype it up!

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