Friday, May 30, 2008

The Dorsey Dilemma

Check out those pictures. The absolute embodiment of intensity, intimidation and toughness, isn't it? That's exactly what the Memphis Grizzlies have been missing, haven't they? So Joey Dorsey should be the obvious pick when the Grizzlies selection comes up at #28, right? Well, no....not exactly.

Yesterday, I linked to Geoff Calkins' column where he countered the claims of the local fanbase that the Grizzlies should draft Dorsey based upon his local connection:

So now comes another former Memphis Tiger, Joey Dorsey, available in another NBA Draft. Should the Grizzlies take him with the second of their first-round picks?

Of course they should, if -- and only if -- they think he is the best player available at the time.
If Dorsey is the best player available at No. 28 -- and he might well be -- then, by all means, take the guy. He's always been a pleasure to cover. He's charming the press again at the Orlando pre-draft camp.
But don't make the pick because he's a Memphis kid.

I agree 100% with that line of reasoning. If he is the best talent available at #28, then the Grizzlies should definitely consider him at that point. He has all the makings of a more dynamic Reggie Evans-like player and a recent post on the Wages of Wins Journal predicts that Dorsey will be a very productive player. I truly believe that if Dorsey lands with the "right team", then he could be a tremendous source of energy and intensity.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the Grizzlies are that "right team". While discussing the breakthrough season that Kendrick Perkins has had for the Boston Celtics, I made the case that Perkins made the leap this year due to the presence of Kevin Garnett in the same locker room. Many Grizz fans were bemoaning the fact that yet another "quality player" had slipped through our grasp, but having seen what a difference KG has made in Perk's level of play, I'm convinced that he wouldn't have experienced the same success if he had remained in Memphis, who originally drafted him. Garnett has provided Perkins with a veteran to look up to as a role model, but also acts like a big brother in a fraternity, meaning he'll dress him down in a heartbeat if he feels that it is necessary. That's the real "veteran leadership" that you hear coaches, players and experts talk about in reverent tones when discussing teams who have that special something that is needed to win titles.

Bringing this back to the Grizzlies, the question is: Do the Memphis Grizzlies have that type of veteran leadership? My honest assessment is that they do not. What does this have to do with Joey Dorsey? Well, he has been described by more than one writer/coach/fan as being a "knucklehead". Even though he is a fun-loving, gregarious guy that is beloved in this city, I have to agree with that label. He had trouble staying motivated in college and got into a few scrapes that should have been easily avoided. Taking him with a first round pick means that not only will he stay in the city that was the host to some of his well-publicized transgressions, but that he'll have a guaranteed contract paying him millions of dollars, too. Without having someone to be his "big brother", it is very easy to imagine the trouble that Joey could get himself into. Of course, the idea that a 24-year old needs someone to keep him out of trouble is a little disconcerting to begin with.

Therein lies the issue that the Memphis Grizzlies will have to contemplate if Dorsey is still there when pick #28 comes up. I have heard from plenty of fans that if they hear excuses about not picking "Player X" because of "character issues" then they will hit the roof. I don't know which way the front office is leaning, but it will not be an easy decision. Guess we'll have to wait until June 26th to see how it all plays out.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Links: Draft News

First up is the Commercial Appeal, where Ron Tillery reports live from Orlando:

What some critics view as nominal compensation in receiving the Los Angeles Lakers' 28th pick in the first round of the June 26 draft, Griz general manager Chris Wallace sees as a calculated risk that can pay high dividends.

He also lists some players that the Grizzlies might be targeting:

Among the players the Griz will consider at 28 are: Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), Shan Foster (Vanderbilt), Darnell Jackson (Kansas), Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga), Richard Hendrix (Alabama), Joey Dorsey (Memphis), Davon Jefferson (Southern California), Trent Plaisted (Brigham Young) and JR Giddens (New Mexico).

Of course, the name that stands out to most Memphis fans is that of Joey Dorsey, as evidenced by our poll to the right. However, Geoff Calkins says "Now, don't get all sentimental on us, Grizzlies" when it comes time to make the tough choices in the draft. In fact, he outlines a few flawed ideas that many fans have about the draft this year. It is a great read that I highly recommend.

After Chris Herrington posted this blog entry last week, the Grizzlies Messageboards lit up with the idea that new assistant coach Kevin O'Neill was being brought in as a replacement for head coach Marc Iavaroni. I said then that it was nothing more than conjecture (which Chris himself admitted from the beginning) and maintain the same stance now. Fortunately, Pete Pranica rode in just in time to back up what I said upon hearing of the news:

Back now, I’ve been encouraged by the reports of hiring Kevin O’Neill as an assistant coach for Marc Iavaroni’s staff. O’Neill has a track record of putting good defensive teams on the floor. Give credit to the Grizzlies’ front office and coaching staff for considering the move as it underscores their commitment to addressing the Grizz’s most glaring weakness.

This is a great move to shore up an obvious weakness and everyone should leave the conspiracy theories alone for a little while.

There have also been a number of trade rumors floating around, which is not unusual leading up to the draft. Some of the more entertaining ones:

Hoopsworld: PG's for Sale? - "We've heard rumors that the Heat would deal their #2 overall pick to the Grizzlies for #5 and either Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, Juan Carlos Navarro, or Javaris Crittenton. In fact, basically any team that needs a point guard is rumored to have a trade scenario on the table or at least in discussion with Memphis GM Chris Wallace. The simple truth, however, is that the Grizzlies are not nearly as infatuated with making a deal as the rumor folks would have you believe."

DraftExpress - "There is already some talk that Minnesota will look to make a trade with Memphis GM Chris Wallace, who would then have the option of fortifying his front-court by drafting Brook Lopez at #3, or swinging for the fences and taking O.J. Mayo. Memphis could offer Minnesota the young prospect of their choice in Kyle Lowry, Hakim Warrick or Javaris Crittenton to help facilitate the deal. Wallace only has two more years left on his contract and needs to make as big a splash as possible in this draft to jump-start Memphis’ rebuilding process, meaning he could be leaning more towards taking Mayo, especially if his team is drafting 5th."

Blazers Blog ( - "It appears the Memphis Grizzlies have interest, offering Mike Miller to Portland for Travis Outlaw and the No. 13. Excuse me? As expected, Kevin Pritchard and the Blazers respectfully declined the offer." Chris Wallace strongly denied this offer ever took place while talking to Chris Vernon on 730 ESPN yesterday afternoon.

Speaking of Mike Miller, he and his wife made the local news recently by donating $200,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. That is the single largest donation to the hospital by an individual Grizzlies player. Good job Mike and Jennifer!

Websites to read while waiting for the draft:
Ridiculous Upside
Wages of Wins Draft Preview
Yahoo! Sports: Pre-draft camp Day 2
2008 NBA Mock Draft Database (DC Pro Sports)

BallHype: hype it up!

Dancing with the Stars: An Exclusive Interview with Tamara Moore

The Grizzlies Dance Team made huge strides this year thanks to the excellent leadership of new Dance Team Choreographer Tamara Moore. 3 Shades of Blue was able to catch the active leader of the dance team as she prepares for the tri-city tryout competition for next year's team.

3SOB: After a year in Memphis what has been the biggest surprise and the biggest disappointment with the dance team?
TM: I’d say the biggest surprise has been how positively people have responded to the Team. From Grizzlies Staff, to FedExForum game night staff, to fans, everyone has recognized the progress of the team and been very supportive of the changes made. As far as disappointment, I don’t know that I have any. I came here with lots of plans, and I’ve had to learn to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will improvement of the Dance Team. I think I would have liked to have accomplished more of my early goals for the team. But thankfully, I am seeing continued progress in that direction daily, so stay tuned, we’ve got some exciting things in store for next season.

3SOB: You are spreading the auditions around the region for the first time this season, are you thinking this is going to be a way to really find new talent or are you expecting this to be like the cheerleader auditions from the Keanu Reeves film ‘The Replacements’?
TM: LOL. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve seen the entire Replacements movie, so I can’t compare the two. However the reason we are opening auditions regionally is to see if we can acquire fresh talent. We are the only NBA team in this Mid-South region, so why not see what additional talent is out there? The Memphis dance community is small, and our hope is by casting a wider net, we will increase our turnout, and thus improve our odds of getting an amazing group of girls. I am excited to see what these regional auditions will bring.

3SOB: Last season the team started with about 18 dancers but by the end of the season it appeared there were far less than that dancing at games. Are their starting lineups for dancers at games and you have to be among the top group to perform or was there some other reason?
TM: We started with 18 dancers on the team, and lost 2 dancers prior to the start of the season, due to work conflict. The third dancer’s full time job relocated her to Philadelphia, so by mid-season, we were left with 15 dancers. That’s a difficult number to work with, especially when we perform with 12 dancers per game.

3SOB: Ideally how many dancers would you like to see on next season’s team and how many openings do you have assuming everyone returns?
TM: All current dance team members must re-audition each year. Therefore, every spot on the team is open. Ideally I would have anywhere from 18-20 dancers on the team. That would give me a solid 6-8 person rotation for game scheduling, which is crucial when scheduling for 41 games. But quality over quantity is always in the back of mind, so if we can’t find what we’re looking for, we will readjust.

3SOB: The dancers were so much better last season than in previous years. Naturally having you as choreographer had a lot to do with that but a lot had to do with the work the team put in. What would a normal week of rehearsals entail?
TM: The girls worked really hard this season. I knew my choreography was a little bit different than what they were normally used to, so there were adjustments they needed to make. I know it was difficult at times, but they did a great job. We rehearse twice a week for 2 ½ hours at a time. I would love to rehearse three times a week, but our game schedule is so packed, it would be very difficult to squeeze a third day in. Needless to say, when necessary, our rehearsals go into overtime!

3SOB: Why do the girls have to spend most of the game in the tunnels or up in front of the suites. Why can’t they be closer to the floor during games like they used to be?
TM: I plan their placement in the arena around their performance times. They always perform twice a game, but their performance times rotate each game. If it’s a quarter when they’re not performing, I try to send them to either the Terrace level or in front of the suites, so that they can be closer to our fans. They often will spend more time taking pictures with fans in those areas then actually dancing! As entertainers, I think they provide a greater service rotating in the stands where they can meet and greet fans, than on the court where they have limited mobility. Next season we plan to use additional locations, so stay tuned they may be dancing right next to you!

3SOB: What kind of experience are you looking for from a prospective dancer?
TM: Ideally, I would love to have someone with 5-7 years of dance training in ballet, jazz, and hip hop. Training is important, because it allows me to push the envelope as far as dance technique goes. I also would love for them to have performance experience. Someone may be a great dancer, but lack personality and charisma in their performance, so it’s important to have a combination of both.

3SOB: Assuming you find some prospects in Nashville or Jackson, would the team relocate them to Memphis and assist them in finding work? Would they even be expected to move to Memphis?
TM: Prospects from Nashville, Jackson, and Little Rock would be expected to re-locate to Memphis on their own. It’s a part time job, but we are confident we will get prospects willing to make the move. I had two dancers relocate from Little Rock this season. You would be surprised what lengths people take to be a part of an NBA dance team. When you love to dance, you will go where the job takes you!

Tryouts are being held in Jackson, Missisippi on June 4th, in Nashville on June 7th, in Little Rock on June 11th and in Memphis on June 14th.

You can also check out our interviews with former dance team members Ashley Nations and Terah Chin.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Key to the Offseason

It seems that for the fans of the 26 teams that are no longer actively playing, their attention is almost completely devoted to the offseason. Let's face it -- the idea of watching the overly entitled Celtics battle the contemptible Pistons or the despised Lakers take on the methodically boring Spurs is just too much for many fans to take. This is especially true for the so-called "casual fan". After all, hope springs eternal for the supporters of the teams who find themselves in the lottery and hope is much more powerful than the passing interest they might have in one of the Final 4 teams still playing. This idea is captured in this morning's phenomenal post by Tom Ziller over on The Fanhouse: Draft Fever Trumps the Playoffs. In this great piece of writing TZ accurately points out that the unknown is always more exciting than the known. Fittingly enough, the key to this year's offseason is an unknown factor that many fans haven't yet considered: Marc Gasol

That's right. The younger brother of former Beale Street Blue Man Pau Gasol has been forgotten by many fans as an afterthought of the trade that sent big brother to La-La Land. But, whether or not little brother suits up for the Grizzlies this year is the key to how this offseason will unfold.

Marc Gasol isn't currently under a contract overseas, but is being heavily pursued by most of the top-level clubs in Europe after turning in a performance good enough to win MVP honors of the ACB league this season. That means that the younger Gasol has options. He could choose to test himself against the best competition in the world by signing with the Grizzlies and playing in the NBA. Or he could decide to stay overseas, sign a long-term contract with a team like Real Madrid or Barcelona, allowing him to stay in Spain, where he is already the best center in the league and would easily be considered amongst the best players outside the NBA. His potential has GM Chris Wallace very excited, as he would definitely be a 1st round selection if he entered this year's draft, possibly even going as high as the Top 12. Since Gasol was a 2nd round pick last year, he isn't bound by the rookie salary scale, which means he'll be able to demand a certain level of pay in order to be persuaded to cross the Atlantic Ocean. If Gasol is willing to sign a contract and play in Memphis, where he played in high school and his family is still seen on a regular basis, then the offseason takes on a very different perspective.

Let's start with the draft. Bringing Gasol aboard means that a few players should be no longer be viable options with the #5 pick. That takes Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan out of play, which is a very good thing from where I sit. With Gasol joining Darko Milicic and Jason Collins at the center position, the Grizzlies' front office can turn their attention to the hole at PF (Anthony Randolph, Kevin Love) or look to upgrade the Guard position (O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Eric Gordon). It will also influence their decision at #28, where they won't have to look to add frontcourt depth as a necessity, meaning that players like Bill Walker, Courtney Lee, Brandon Rush or Chris Douglas-Roberts could be a possibility if they take Love or Randolph at #5.

While I don't expect the Grizzlies to use the cap space they will have this offseason to sign any of the big name free agents, they will be required to sign a few players to meet the league's roster minimum, so this once again eliminates the need to look exclusively for frontcourt players. This means that they could look to upgrade the swing positions by going after someone they could sign to a mid-level contract like Mickael Pietrus, James Jones or Bonzi Wells -- a player capable of playing both the Shooting Guard and Small Forward positions, given the astounding lack of depth at SF if something were to happen to Rudy Gay or Mike Miller *knock on wood* and keep either of them out for any length of time. That issue needs to be addressed either through the draft or in free agency, perhaps even both.

As of right now, Chris Wallace has been saying that it is a 50-50 proposition on Gasol signing with Memphis. If this issue is still up in the air on June 26th, then the front office will be left with a lot more uncertainty that I would like to see. Either way, Marc Gasol's decision is the most important factor facing the Grizzlies' front office, given how it will shape this pivotal offseason.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A 'Needs Prozac' Nation

Sometimes it feels like we're all living in a Prozac nation. The United States of Depression.

Memphis has long been a city suffering from depression and an inferiority complex.

The city has been rejected repeatedly by the NFL despite numerous efforts to acquire a team. The Tiger basketball team has been among the better teams in the NCAA for the last 30+ years but was turned down for admittance to the Big East Conference when the league enlarged a few years ago. That followed many years of the Tigers trying to be admitted into the SEC without success. And who can forget the year that Memphis needed the #1 pick to keep the pick in the LeBron James draft? The Grizzlies finished 2nd, surrendered the pick to Detroit and lost out on Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. The Grizzlies are the only professional sports franchise to start 0-12 in the playoffs. The number of examples where Memphis fell short are numerous. These are just the more public and recent examples of why Memphis feels second rate.

Even a higly respected local sports columnist propogated the 'Memphis can't win' belief with an article last week before the NBA Lottery. Geoff Calkins article titled 'Grizzlies history indicates tonight won't be the night, either' continued the long standing belief that Memphis is somehow unworthy or unable to do well when matched up against the big boys.
Good morning, Grizzlies fans!

Or former Grizzlies fans. Or potential Grizzlies fans. Or -- no need to be exclusive, is there? -- fans of abject misery.

Today is your day! The NBA lottery is tonight!

Which means that, sometime after 6:30 p.m., there's a 99.9 percent chance you're going to be inconsolable!

There are more subtle examples that run deeper however. Some would argue that the greatest sports success to come from Memphis is Jerry 'The King' Lawler. How secondary is that! The city fell in love with their elite college basketball team this year. They naturally finished 2nd. What was interesting was the favorite player on that team was not Derrick Rose, a possible #1 pick in the NBA draft. It was not Chris Douglas-Roberts who was a Naismith finalist as college basketball's player of the year. Instead the city fell in love with Joey Dorsey, a troubled 24 yr old center who's faults in his on-court game are as well documented as his indiscretions off the court. Joey is not an elite NBA prospect. He may not even be drafted in the 1st round. Rather Joey represents Memphis' opinion of itself. A secondary player trying to keep up with the elite around them.

Why does Memphis have this problem?

In the 1960's Memphis was a city that rivaled such places as St. Louis, Atlanta and New Orleans but failed to maintain that status. Was it a result of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination? Was it poor city government? Whatever is was, like the Yellow Fever Plague of the 1880's the the city's failure to develop as quickly and prosperously as neighboring cities seems to have sapped the optomism out of the city and replaced it with a seeming confidence in it's own failure to succeed. Every additional failure just reinforces the belief that Memphis will never be able to rise above their second rate status.

And that attitude can be seen most clearly among the fans of the Memphis Grizzlies. People came out to the Draft Lottery Parties but none held any real hope of winning the lottery. An informal poll of opinions showed most people expecting Memphis to get the 5th pick and a clear majority expecting 5th or lower. Fewer than 1 in 10 people asked expected Memphis to have a top 3 pick much less the top pick. It turns out that once again the low expectations were realized.

But we at 3 Shades of Blue have repeatedly said Memphis doesn't need to win the lottery. The team needs to win the draft.

That is still attainable. With the 5th pick in the draft there will be a number of players capable of raising the team, and likewise the city, to never before seen heights. With a core of young players already maturing and an additional 1st round pick this year the seeds for a future elite franchise are in place. Yet the fans of the Grizzlies don't expect success in this draft. They expect more failure. It seems that anything else would contradict the ways things are meant to be. After all, 'those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it' and for many Memphis fans it is easier to remember past failure than to dream of future success and risk repeating the feeling of loss so prevalent in the city's past.

So what has to happen to change that attitude? What will be the Prozac pill to change the attitude of a city. As the bard said 'there's the rub.' Memphis needs to win the draft. Chris Wallace, Michael Heisley and Tony Barone Sr and Jr need to rub the bottle and get the genie and not a face full of dust.

Will this draft produce a city wide Prozac pill? Honestly I don't know. I don't think it will immediately. What I believe is that like Prozac it will take some time to start producing results. So Memphis will come out of the draft still feeling that the worst possible outcome will result. Over time the team will start improving and so will the attitude of fans. People don't get over depression with one event and likewise this city won't get over their feelings with one draft. One can only hope it is the first step toward a road to recovery.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, May 26, 2008

MemphisX's Fave Five at Five

Well, luckily for me I distanced myself a bit from the Rose vs. Beasley debate because I did not want to feel the great disappointment that I felt last year after the NBA Draft Lottery. Although I was still disappointed, it was nothing like last year's groin kick. So like Chris Wallace and the rest of the Grizzlies staff, it is time to work without being given the easy road to talent and ticket sales. Fortunately for Grizz fans, this is not the 2007 NBA Draft. The talent gap between the top 2 and the field in 2007 was much wider than the talent gap of the top 2 and the field in the 2008 NBA Draft. I am positive that a future All Star will be available when it is the Memphis Grizzlies time to select a player. Now it is no coincidence that T-Mobile picked two of the best number 5 picks in NBA history, Charles Barkley and Dwayne Wade, to represent them in their ad campaign. I am hoping that the Grizzlies selection in the 2008 NBA Draft enjoys similar success, both on and off the court, as Barkley and Wade.

1. Ovinton J'Anthony "O.J." Mayo - 6'5 PG/SG University of Southern California (USC)

O.J Mayo is probably one of the most polarizing figures in this draft. Much like Kobe Bryant, fans either love him to death or do not want him anywhere near their team's roster. I am of the former group. I think the biggest knock on O.J. Mayo has been that after all the hype, casual fans expected to see some Micheal Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant hybrid player that was going to revolutionize NBA basketball. Mayo is not that player. Add to that the fact that Mayo was played out of position by Tim Floyd at USC and taken off the ball for the first time in his career and the results were mixed. Mayo started off the college season very slow but had turned himself into the best shooting guard in college basketball by the end of the season. I don't think people have grasped the difficulty of this feat.

Why the Grizzlies should draft Mayo: Mayo is a big point guard that comes into the league with an advanced three point stroke and an ability to either score at will or get his teammates involved. Even at his size, Mayo has shown the capabilities to play shut down defense at both guard positions. Mayo also would bring a swagger to the Memphis Grizzlies that has not been here in the entire history of the organization. On the court confidence has been a big problem for the Grizzlies. Drafting Mayo also increases the value of one of our other assets: Juan Carlos Navarro. It is a struggle to play Navarro next to the smaller Conley or Lowry but next to the 6'5 Mayo, Navarro would be able to see more court time without being such a liability on defense. Mayo also allows the Grizzlies to keep Mike Miller and deal Conley for some much needed help on the inside.

Why the Grizzlies should NOT draft Mayo: Mayo's best NBA position is point guard and this would mark the 3rd year in a row that the Grizzlies will have drafted a point guard. Although Mayo is capable of playing the two, I think his best and most effective position will be at the point with the ball in his hands causing mismatch problems off the pick and roll. Drafting Mayo probably means trading both Conley and Lowry. I think one has to be traded anyway this summer so I guess it is not that big of an issue. Another issue is Mayo's image. Initially some of our fans will be turned off by the image of Mayo: selfish, arrogant, me-first player. I think this is all hype backlash. One thing I know about perceived bad guys, when you win the fans come out in droves...but if you are losing, he will get the brunt of the blame.

Draft Express O.J. Mayo Workout report

Draft Express O.J. Mayo Interview

ESPN's Chad Ford O.J. Mayo Interview

2. Anthony Randolph - 6'11 SF/PF Louisiana State University (LSU)

Anthony Randolph is probably the one player that is flying to low under the radar. Due to how bad the LSU Tigers were this season and their lack of TV games, most people have not seen him play in games. I did catch a few of his games this season because DraftExpress had him coming out early in the college season before it was known to most. So it really was not a shock to me when he declared. He had to deal with his coach getting fired mid season and a team that just seemed to be out there "balling" for most of the season.

Why the Grizzlies should draft Randolph: Randolph is going to be a nightmare for opposing power forwards on both ends of the court. Although he is very skinny, his length and athleticism will allow him to compete with bigger players until his strength catches up. He has a very long wing span with great ball anticipation and good lateral quickness that should make him able to guard every position except center. His ball hawking allows him to be a great off the ball shot blocker in the mode of Andrei Kerilenko of the Utah Jazz. On offense his ball handling ability and lethal first step will allow him to get to the rack against most power forwards while his length and mid-range jumper will keep him effective even against other hybrid forwards like Josh Smith and Lamar Odom. For a team that wants to run, having a power forward that can grab a rebound or blocked shot and lead the break himself is invaluable. Most power forwards simply wont be able to run with him and the quicker players won't be long enough to stop him from finishing. Did I mention he won't turn 19 until a month after the draft?

Why the Grizzlies should NOT draft Randolph: He is scrawny. Looking at his pictures, you can see he needs a lot of work in the weight room and the dining table. He will never be the bruiser that most Grizzlies fans are wanting after Pau Gasol's departure. However, he is very tenacious and competes on the inside. Randolph has not developed a 3pt shot. In fact, he was horrible in college from long range and probably is 3 years from being effective as a 3pt threat. Might struggle to play power forwards in the league on defense due to lack of strength.

3. Eric Gordon - 6'4 SG Indiana University

Eric Gordon was probably a lock for the #3 pick in January. He was simply sensational coming out of the gate for Indiana. However, he injured his wrist at the end of January and his shot left him. Shortly thereafter, his head coach Kelvin Sampson was dismissed and his fall was complete. For people who did not evaluate Gordon before the injury, it is understandable that they are not high on the kid. However, he was dominant prior to being injured and the two events (wrist injury/shooting slump) were to close not to be related. So I will believe what I saw early in the season and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Why the Grizzlies should draft Gordon: Coach Iavaroni has harped on our need for more shooting and Gordon is the best shooter in the draft. He has range out past the NBA three point line and shoots without effort. Gordon is not one dimensional. He was able to get to the free throw line at a very high clip do to his physical nature and his willingness to drive into contact. He shot 83% from the line. Gordon also has the athleticism to make up for his lack of true SG height. He is 6'3ish with very long arms. Gordon also was an AAU teammate of Conley.

Why the Grizzlies should NOT draft Gordon: He is not the prototypical size for an NBA shooting guard. Even with his athleticism, he might struggle to translate his game from college to the pros. The Grizzlies have a plethora of small guards and the need for another, despite his great stroke, is not that great. Is he that much of an upgrade over Navarro to warrant passing on some interior help?

4. Danilo Gallinari - 6'9 SF Armani Jeans Milano

Danilo Gallinari plays the same position as our best player Rudy Gay but at #5 you take best player available and it could be this Italian import. Unlike other young European players, he comes into the NBA after being the #1 option on his team at the tender age of 19. He is a capable ball handler and scorer that thrives off the pick and roll. More scorer than shooter, he has some point forward capabilities.

Why the Grizzlies should draft Gallinari: Gallinari has a history of being the big dog on his team and should not shrink from big moments. His ability to handle the rock from the wing would be very valuable. I like his fire and his will to compete. Measuring at a length to play power forward would be a plus.

Why the Grizzlies should NOT draft Gallinari: He plays the same position as Rudy which means it will be a struggle getting him minutes. He does not have a lethal shot from long range nor does he have a great rebounding ability. Would thrive in our system but likely only at SF and even then it is a question if he will have the athleticism to defend. Can the Grizzlies sell another Euro at a high pick to the Memphis fans?

5. Jerryd Bayless - 6'3 PG/SG University of Arizona

Originally I had DeAndre Jordan in this spot but I decided to switch because there is a chance that Jerryd Bayless will be available at five and I prefer him over Jordan despite our need for a center. Jerryd Bayless is very similar to OJ Mayo but unlike their reputation, Bayless has more of a scorers mentality. Bayless has the same explosive athleticism of Monta Ellis but he has legit NBA 3 point range to go with his stellar mid-range shot. I think he is more shooting guard than point guard but he has a lot of NBA in his game already. Very adept at getting his defender off balance with freezes and hesitation dribbles. Attacks relentlessly. Has star presence.

Why the Grizzlies should draft Bayless: Bayless would be a better alternative to over paying Monta Ellis in free agency. He is undersized as a shooting guard but in the right system, he could be very effective. He is a big time scorer and his ability to get to the free throw line will help his game translate to the NBA. Turmoil at Arizona hurt his college season but he was still the best player on that team easily. Has the aggressive mentality that the Grizzlies lack on the offensive end and should be able to close games out.

Why the Grizzlies should NOT draft Bayless: Just like Eric Gordon, at the end of the day, Bayless is still just 6'3. Even with his athleticism, he will have a transition period for being an effective scorer. Not particularly bulky nor is he a great defender. However, for anyone wanting to sign Monta Ellis in free agency, he is a lower risk proposition and should be just as effective. Bad fit with our point guards.

BallHype: hype it up!