A couple of days ago, my (former) good buddy at Hornets 24/7, Ryan Schwan, wrote a post decrying the horrific predictions that were foisted upon his team last year by the big media outlets and their sudden about-face this year. He then spent his final 340 words absolutely demoralizing the Grizzlies, while acting apologetic about it the entire time. Of course, this means that I must retaliate. But I like the way this Hornets team is put together and realize that they are definitely one of the top 2 teams in the West, so I cannot reciprocate in the same manner. That means I must tear apart his post -- word by word. Let's do it!
Flat out, the Grizzlies will be pushing to have one of the worst records of all time. Their veterans are the worst sort of dregs: Greg Buckner, Antoine Walker, and Marko Jaric. Useless, Cancer, Slacker.
The worst record of all time for an 82 game season is the 1972/73 Philadelphia 76ers who went an absolutely atrocious 9-73. The worst team last year, the tanking Miami Heat, went 15-67. I think the Grizz will be bad, but not historically bad. Definitely not, drink yourself into a stupor by halftime and drive your car off the New Bridge bad.
As for our lovely collection of veterans....Ryan does know that Marko "Slacker" Jaric can't be slacking that much if he's engaged to Adriana Lima. Right? I mean, c'mon! If he's a slacker, then I must be doing everything wrong.
Their frontcourt is horribly weak. Marc Gasol - if he makes a successful transition to the U.S. - is a good Oberto-like backup big, but other than Marc, there's no one to rebound or play in the paint. Darko has finally developed . . . into a foul- and injury-prone stiff. Hakim Warrick and Darrell Arthur provide no post presence and combined weigh as much as Marc Gasol, and the new Iranian import Haddadi is both raw and twenty-three, a bad combination.I make no guarantees about how Marc Gasol will transition to the NBA. I can say that he will be 5 times as tough as his older brother, which is an excellent start. His decision to put Chris Bosh on his backside in the Olympics made me all warm and tingly inside last month.
Let's take a look at some stats. Player A averaged 7.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg in 22.5 mpg over 180 games. Player B averaged 7.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg in 22.1 ppg over 181 games. Look strikingly similar? Player A is Darko Milicic since he got traded to Orlando and actually got playing time. Player B is Tyson Chandler's first 3 years in the league -- the 3rd year was shortened by injury. If Darko's thumb injury that plagued him for most of last season makes him an injury-prone stiff, then I guess I'll take that with a grain of salt.
Hak is still Hak, so I can't dispute that he's a rail-thin Zach Randolph level black hole. What? Ryan didn't say that about him? My bad.
I have no idea what either Darrell Arthur or Hamed Haddadi will do at the NBA level, so I'll have to bow before Ryan's superior prognostications.
The Memphis guards aren't going to be tremendously better. OJ Mayo was simply not that good in college, and I already have doubts he'll ever be a top tier shooting guard in the league, much less be one in his rookie season. Mike Conley showed last year he was injury prone and merely okay when he wasn't hurt, Kyle Lowry showed he was fierce but limited, and Javaris Crittenton showed . . . well not a lot because he played so little - which is its own indictment.
You know, I thought the same thing about O.J. Mayo prior to the draft. But then I did a little research and came up with these numbers: 20.7 ppg, 3.3 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 spg, .442 FG%, .409 3PT%. For a comparison, here's some stats: 20.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, 3.0 spg, .390 FG%, 23.2 3PT%. Those are Allen Iverson's after his freshman season at Georgetown. I think we can upgrade him from "simply not that good" to "much better than perceived".
One season makes for an injury prone player? Does Ryan know what I know -- which is that Conley played most of last season with a bum shoulder, which is what contributed heavily to him being "merely okay"? He's no CP3, but he's not Sebastian Telfair either. I expect a marked improvement from Conley this season -- as long as he doesn't let my impending destruction of him on the bowling lanes affect him all year.
I agree about Lowry and Critt to this point.
That leaves Rudy Gay. He's a good scorer, but he's not all-around good, and he's probably not even a franchise player. Put him on the Hornets, and I'd rank him as only the fourth best player behind Paul, West and Chandler.
Wow. Just simply wow. 20 ppg, 6 rpg, a steal and a block per game aren't good enough to warrant an "all-around" tag nowadays? I understand that he's not a passer and should probably have slightly better numbers in the rebounds and blocks categories, but for a 2nd year player, I think we've placed expectations unreasonably high if those stats are to be an indictment, rather than a reason for praise.
As for where he would rank on the Hornets, if you put him with CP3 as his point guard, rather than a couple of rookies, he would be the 2nd best player as he would become Paul's new favorite target on the fastbreak. I like David West and Tyson Chandler, even as I watched them destroy the Grizzlies last season, but without Paul, they aren't nearly as good. It's like players who leave the company of Jason Kidd (coughKenyonMartincough) and suddenly prove just how dependent upon him they were. Rudy Gay was a 20 ppg scorer with little to no help from his teammates -- imagine what he would do with a premier setup man like Chris Paul feeding him.
And that's my entire problem with these Grizzlies. They have one player who could start for most of the teams of the league(Gay), four players that would be in a nine-man rotation because they are young and show promise(Conley, Lowry, Mayo, Gasol) and that's it. If they break 15 wins this season, I'll be impressed.
Yes, they are a young team. Just like the Hornets were 3 years ago and the Blazers were 2 years ago. Where are those two teams now? Oh, that's right, one is among the elite of the league and the other is expected to crash the postseason this year.
Bold (aka Foolish) Challenge: If the Grizzlies fail to win 15 games, I will end all of my posts next season with a link to Hornets 24/7 in the following sentence "Ryan Schwan is the greatest blogger in the history of mankind."
Now what do you have to offer in return? Consider the gauntlet to have been thrown down.
The opinions of this blog are not shared by the entire 3 Shades of Blue blogger staff. Some of us won't call Ryan the greatest blogger of all time even if the Grizzlies don't win 9 games this season!