Saturday, September 6, 2008

Because I'm Just Crazy Enough To Think It Could Work

Most of the news surrounding the Grizzlies right now is about Darrell Arthur's mistake in a hotel room or the possibility of Zach Randolph donning Beale Street Blue this season. I think that we've covered the first one pretty well, and I don't even want to think about the second one. But the potential Randolph deal did get me to thinking about another issue facing the Grizzlies. If they deal Darko & Marko to NYC, then the Grizzlies have 2 rookie C's, 4 PF's and still no backup SF (unless Greg Buckner plays out of position). That will also mean that the Grizzlies go from 13 players under contract down to 12. That opens up some possibilities.

I thought about moving Antoine Walker over to backup SF, given that he has played that position quite a lot over his career. But even then, the team will still have to sign at least one more player -- probably two. Obviously, one of those players will have to be a veteran center, given that Marc Gasol and Hamed Haddadi have played a combined ZERO minutes in the NBA so far. Any number of minimum contract stiffs could fill the bill of being the backup center, so I'm not too concerned about who they sign for that spot. But what about that other potential signing? Who should they take there?

The depth chart would look something like this if that trade took place:

PG - Conley, Lowry
SG - Mayo, Crittenton, Buckner
SF - Gay, Walker
PF - Randolph, Warrick, Arthur
C - Gasol, Haddadi, Token Stiff

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm comfortable that our PG spot is fine, given that Conley, Lowry, Mayo and Critt all have played that position in their recent careers. I'd love to use that last spot to shore up the SG/SF positions though. This is especially true if 'Toine comes in less than 100% motivated this season. But who could we sign for a low level contract (a given with this regime) that could actually contribute if called upon? I know of a guy that's sitting out there in free agency, just waiting for his phone to ring. A player who is already familiar with the nuances of Memphis.

You know him, you love him, so let's welcome him back to the Bluff City..........Mister Bonzi Wells!

Before you start sputtering about his past with the Grizzlies, hear me out. His play on the court was rarely ever an issue -- his conflicts with the head coach (Mike Fratello) were a problem. No more Czar = no more problem. He was a fan favorite and Heisley absolutely loved the guy while he was here. He can play both swingman positions and is a veteran who can contribute, and could even start if called upon. People want a guy who won't back down, plays with heart and wants to win every single night? Here's your guy. Am I worried about having Bonzi, Zach and 'Toine in the same locker room with all these young, impressionable players? I'm scared to death of it. But if we're going to bring Z-Bo in, then why not go all out and find another guy who is long on talent and has a questionable head? Especially if that guy might bring a few more fans back to the FedEx Forum who think of him fondly.

The contract that he signed with Houston two years ago was for 2 years and $4.5 million. Anyone else think that kind of deal would fit in with the fiscally responsible Three Year Plan? Yeah, me too. Let's be honest - Zach Randolph isn't going to bring in more fans than having Adriana Lima in the stands would have. But bringing back Bonzi might -- especially if it rekindles memories of postseasons trips in the minds of fans who are looking for something to believe in.

Bring. Back. Bonzi.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Arthur Comes Clean...But the Stain Remains

Darrell Arthur was in Memphis immediately after being expelled from the Rookie Transition Camp to face the music and air his side of the story.

Darrell was quoted as saying he didn't use marijuana that night nor has he ever used marijuana in his life. He admitted to making a big mistake by allowing the women into his room but he wants everyone to know he did not partake in any drug use nor does he condone it. In fact he wants to speak to local youth groups about the evils of drug use and how even being associated with them can damage your reputation for life.

The story, written by Ron Tillery in the Commercial Appeal, is not getting near the amount of national exposure the rumor did when it was first released however. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who understands how the national media feasts on negative news but is less than interested in the truth behind the story. Almost everyone was quick to jump on the idea that Arthur and his college teammate were using drugs at the camp. Hardly a word was wasted in defense of the players suggesting they may not have been using the drugs themselves. I for one appreciate Ron going the extra mile to get the story from Arthur and not simply relying on rumors and hearsay.

The question becomes will anyone believe him? I assume people will use this as a way to distract him when he is on the road but how will the locals respond to Arthur? Will they give him the benefit of the doubt and trust him or will they assume he is another young man living high with the sudden riches he received for his talent at playing basketball? Many people, including someone on this blog, believe the league is full of marijuana smokers. An interesting attitude considering basketball is one of the most physically demanding sports requiring both stamina and quick bursts of speed.

Here's hoping that Memphians give Arthur a second chance to prove he is dedicated to being the best player he can on this team. Arthur is a big part of the youth movement of this team. He is talented and should be able to work his way into the rotation this season barring any roster moves being made by the team. His development will go a long way in determining how well the Grizzlies fared in the Pau Gasol trade. He has made a mistake but if what he says is true then it was only a mistake in judgement not character. A mistake many 20 yr old men could make given similar circumstances. The punishment was swift, public and severe.

Now Arthur needs to show that it was a singular error in judgement and not the first step down a road of poor decisions.

BallHype: hype it up!

Dining with the Enemy: Hornets 24/7

On Tuesday, Chip and I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Ron Hitley, the fantastic writer who created Hornets 24/7. He was in Memphis to avoid the wrath of Gustav, so we were excited to get the chance to actually sit down with a fellow blogger, rather than the usual contact we have with other bloggers across the nation via email, live blogging or instant messaging in today's age of technology.

We're in Memphis, the home of the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. This is the city of Corky's BBQ, which will FedEx their ribs to anywhere in the world. The home of Rendezvous -- known worldwide for their barbecue. So of course, we took him to Owen Brennan's, a restaurant known for New Orleans' style food. We're both oblivious and cliché at the same time -- it works for us though. Ron and I had the Catfish Boudreaux, which was excellent. Chip settled for the Meat Pie. Um...yeah. It was as appetizing as it sounds according to him.

We had a great time talking shop, sharing ideas on what each of us thought about our respective franchises, as well as our perceptions of each others' teams. We told him that he's going to love James Posey -- everyone loves Skittles when he's on your team. He asked us just how frightened we really are of Darko Milicic (VERY!!!) and what it is like to be able to meet and interview the team's owner and GM. It was a lot of fun, and I know that both Chip and I are looking forward to a future trip to The Big Easy to hang out on Ron's turf.

So go check out Hornets 24/7. Ron's still not settled back in as they continue cleanup down there, but our good buddy Ryan Schwan has been holding the fort down quite well in his stead.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday Roundup: Links and such

Well it was not quite as quiet a week on the Grizzlies homefront as most people wanted with the news that Darrell Arthur was expelled from the Rookie Transition Camp. While it hasn't been released whether or not Darrell was actually involved in drug use, the women in the room was enough to ban him from the event. While mostly embarrassing it does cause on court issues to come into question such as his reputation for zoning out. Hopefully the financial penalty will be all that is neccessary to remedy this problem but the league can add on a suspension of indeterminate length and the team can impose their own penalties as well.

Chris Herrington is back from vacation and back being one of the best reporters of Grizzlies news in the business this week. Welcome back Chris and we hope you had a pleasant vacation with the family.

TrueHoop is kind enough to link to us from time to time so when Henry Abbott takes the time to write a full article on the Arthur situation I felt it appropriate to link back to him.

Ron Tillery has also been busy on the Edge Blog lately keeping fans informed on the recent trade rumors involving the team. Ron also wrote an insightful article on the Grizzlies in the paper. See Ron, we can write nice things about you too!

Our friend Tom Ziller over at Fanhouse puts his two cents worth in on the Arthur story as well. I really can't argue with his logic (mainly because it agrees with mine). TZ also ranked Rudy Gay at #39 in his ongoing listing of the Top 50 Players in the NBA.

Final word comes from David at David's Memphis Grizzlies Blog who says that players should only be punished for performance enhancing drugs and he would rather have Darrell high than skateboarding or motorcycling.

Lost in the smoke from the Arthur scandal was the fact that both O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol were at the Rookie Camp too. It is unclear at this time if Hamed Haddadi was also at the camp. Since Haddidi signed right before the camp was scheduled to begin it is understandable if he didn't make it. There is also the question on his being able to understand anything being said there anyway.

Inside Hoops is confirming Ron Tillery's entry that the Grizzlies and Knicks are in discussions about Zack Randolph. This is interesting since Chris Wallace said on Chris Vernon's radio show that very few trades are done in September and October as most teams are focusing on the getting the team ready for the regular season and he fully expects the current roster to be in training camp on September 30th. I guess you can call him a liar if the deal gets done according to Dr. Zack.

The sad news here is that rumor involves Marko Jaric and Darko. Darko isn't a great loss but would leave us very thin at center. Losing Mr. Adriana Lima before the first pre-season game would be heart-breaking! Come on Grizzlies, at least let us have one game with Adriana in the stands before you ship him off!

Matt over at Hardwood Paroxysm must have seen our back to school series last week and has added his touch of Science to the world of Blogging. He rated us with some impressive blogs so I wanted to make sure everyone sees it.

Notes From Memphis has an interesting view of the Hamed Haddidi signing.

BallHype: hype it up!

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!

Who's bringing the Krispy Kremes?


NO WAY!!!!!!!!!! YOU'VE GOT TO BE PULLIN' MY LEG!!!! Two NBA rookies ("according to sources") get in some trouble with a bit of sticky fineness? Gee, that's never happened.

Folks, we need to realize something. The list of NBA players who do not commit this particular indulgence may very well be shorter than the list of ones who do. I've no real evidence of that, but I gotta assume that Josh Howard and Rasheed and Damon (formerly, allegedly) and Brad Miller and Zach Randolph (BOY could the Grizzlies use him now!!) and Joakim Noah....and on and on...are not the only ones.

I do NOT condone or encourage what they were doing (and even more so WHERE they were doing it-dang, y'all, why not just go kick it down at the park like we used to do..I mean, no we didn't....). However, this indiscretion is non-violent (unless you happen to be that last Snickers in the resort's vending machine-then your opinon might vary on that one) and can only be considered minor in the grand scheme of things. Y'know, dude, "grand scheme" like that thing we were gonna do where we built a whole amusement park where they play Dark Side of the Moon on all the rides and there's a yellow brick road running through the whole place, and there were flying monkeys? What? You don't remember that?

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Basketball.

That's what I need these guys to do. Play basketball, and play it hard and to the best of ability and talent. What they do elsewise is not of my concern, unless they eat all the rest of the Cheez-its and don't call me and tell me I need to stop and get some more on the way home. Role model? Puh-leeze. We are influenced by the examples we see in the world-it's each person's job to know how to take the examples-either follow them or don't.

I do, however, plan to make some extra $ by droppin' a call to Crimestoppers when the Heat come to town ;).


in this article, written by Ron Tillery, Arthur is quoted as saying firmly that he did not use and was not involved with marijuana. I believe him, and will be cheerin' my lungs out for him all season and for as long as he plays the Grizzlies. Tagging my blog on this subject as "satire" is an understatement of my humorous intent-again, in no way do I condone the breaking of the "no visitors" or the "none of that stuff in your room at a ROOKIE NBA CAMP, for Pete's sake" rule.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Darrell Arthur Tossed From Rookie Transition Camp

Darrell Arthur was tossed out of the NBA Rookie Transition Camp today. Rumor is that it involved an illegal substance in their hotel room but the official comment was that Arthur and former Kansas Jayhawk teammate Mario Chalmers were excused for braking league rules.

The NBA Rookie Transition Camp according to the NBA Players Union contract is a mandatory meeting for rookies only. The 4 day camp is designed to help ease the rookies transition from colleg to the NBA. "The program is designed to teach players techniques to cope with unique stresses inherent in their lives and how to utilize the various resources available to them throughout their careers" according to There is also a mandatory Team Awareness Meeting which covers such issues as substance abuse, HIV awareness and gambling issues.

More on this story as it becomes available.

UPDATE: It now appears that the players were discovered with a lady in their room and this was the official reason for the players being expelled according to the Orlando paper. No comment yet on the veracity of the marijuana charge or if true whether it belonged to the players or not.

BallHype: hype it up!

Ramblings About The Very Real Possibility of Spoiled OJ and No More Gayness

It is no secret about LeBron James' love for New York, his friendship with "Brooklyn" Nets owner Jay-Z, and Bron-Bron's big market appeal.

In my personal opinion, it is just a matter of what I will call for lack of a better term, "Contractual Time."

As soon as he can, Akron's native son will bolt from the team and city he ressurected and go to the biggest media outlet and best city in the United States. (Sorry, every other city.)

Big ups to Bronny for placing Dallas in his top 5 NBA Cities.

I digress.

This article is old, but the topic is still fresh. Furthermore, it has gotten me to do something I normally don't like to do.


What if it happened to us?

We've all heard the phrase applied to something in our life. "It could happen to you....It happened to them, and it could happen to you, too!"

So what if? What if it did?

Boozer "bam-boozered" Cleveland years ago and bolted to Utah, and the fans were in an uproar. Lebron leaving would kill the Cavaliers franchise, in my opinion, or at least revert it back to the way that it was, which was basically an iron lung. Lifeless, with a disinterested fanbase.

What would happen to the Grizzlies, already long-suffering from attendance problems, bad seasons, lack of player development and no real stars, if our two promising stars bolted?

These were some of the questions I was beating and batting around. I weighed why I thought it would happen, why I thought it wouldn't...and had come to the conclusion that it is one obstacle, nothing that a little extra money couldn't solve. We might have to overpay to keep them, but hey, we're a small market team, sometimes we have to "overcompensate" for our smallness. We, being the team, of course. Nothing personal. Moving on...

I was so confident. Money was the answer. We'll just pay them more, and they will surely be ours!

Not Necessarily.

With the American dollar shrinking to the Euro, and teams overseas having the types of funds that would cripple teams or be impossible to pay outright, do we have a second legitimate threat? If Lebron and Kobe are "joking" about taking 20-50 milliion tax free dollars to go overseas, don't we have to worry about Rudy and Mayo going? Anyone who could possibly develop into a star? You don't even have to be an elite player to be courted...Josh Childress, the player who started this exodus, was a decent player at best. Earl Boykins has been a proverbial backup when he wasn't an Emmanuel Lewis impersonator, so elite isn't all they are chasing.

I never thought I would see the day where Cleveland had to worry about New York while New York was worrying about Greece, Russia or Italy. What a sign of the times.

Now here is the dilemma:

If we grow Mayo and Rudy as star-caliber players, and create a winning combination on the court here, is that going to be enough? LeBron has been to the Finals, Kobe has 3 NBA Championships, so a winning culture isn't the factor. It's what makes the world go around...the green. The cash.

If we don't develop them, we miss out on two potential stars, we're stuck where we have been and lose them to an NBA team in free agency so they can "grow" their stats and wallets, until they possibly go overseas.

Here is the (in keeping with the number 3 and the word plan) 3-Step Plan to keeping them. Mr. Heisley, if you read, this can be a great complement to the 3-Year plan as well.

Step 1: Develop them. High-Risk yes, but High-Reward payout. These two kids are studs.

Step 2: Pay them. I know your pocketbook will frown a bit, but thats fine. We need to keep them here, and if its money they want, money they shall get, apart from financially crippling the franchise.

Step 3: Be hopeful. Be hopeful that they have enough loyalty to circumvent the ideas in their heads of MORE money, and keep them focused on bringing a winning culture to Memphis.

Let's keep them in the three greatest colors. The Yellow, White and Blue.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Acronym Anonymous

Hey guys, Diggler here.

I have been thinking lately about one thing our team has been sorely lacking over the past few seasons: INTEGRITY. Then I began thinking that this is not the only aspect that has been missing from our team, so I decided to come up with an acronym for integrity that also delves into other problems currently plaguing our team.

Enjoy my friends.

I - Identity. an aspect this team has been sorely lacking as of late. I would love to see a team who develops their own niche in the Southwestern Conference, and the rest of the league as well. We want to have a team that is not automatically penciled in as a win by the other team.

NNo laziness on defense; period. Coach O’Neill should help tremendously in this aspect. Man to man, help defense, transition defense, defensive assignments should all improve (hopefully) under his tutelage. I pity the fool who doesn’t play defense for O’Neill.

TTrepidation. We want a team that other teams are afraid to play. We want to be a team that is known for playing tenacious defense, as well as a team that is capable of outscoring opponents.

E - Errors. Whether mental or physical, we must cut back on mistakes made on the court. Playing smart basketball is an absolute must.

G - Grit. Notice a common theme here? Our team needs to have true grit, play the game with confidence. Don’t allow teams to tear through our defense like dollar-store toilet paper.

R - Rudy. This one is, in my opinion, an absolute must. Rudy must continue to elevate his game. He must become more of a leader. This means on the court, vocally, and in the locker room. Rudy must improve his ball-handling skills, his assist numbers, his defense, and hopefully continue to elevate his scoring average as well. The sky is the limit for Rudy; it just depends on how high he truly wants to take his game.

I - Intuition. This team must be keen of mind. Make smart, quick decisions on the court to elevate team play, and overall game play as well. Eliminate mistakes that hinder smart basketball decisions.

T - Togetherness. This team must play as a cohesive unit. Like a well oiled machine, all parts should run together and compliment each other. A team that plays together stays together.

Y - You guys. Yes, that is right. This team can’t do any of the things mentioned above without the support of the fan base. Why would a team play their hearts off if the fans are unwilling to show them the same dedication (other than their fat bank accounts)? So next time you are sitting at home, bored, looking for something to do; go to a Grizzlies game. Take a friend, take your family, support a franchise we should be THANKFUL to have.

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A Cursory Glance

Well, I've been looking at some individual player movements from this offseason (during which all moves may have yet to come to full fruition), and I've got a couple of ideas about who may have done right or wrong by themselves.

Forget the teams. I ain't worried about those for the moment.

Winners (this is list is nowhere near complete or all-inclusive...I'm a bit too cognitively challenged to come up with a complete one):

1-Josh Childress. He's sorta pulled the same move that Kapono did when he STOLE an MLE contract from the Raps in that "struck while the iron was hot" could be described as an understatement. Chill is a really good player with BY FAR AND AWAY the coolest hair in the league, and I wish that the Grizzlies could have scored him...but he got more than his NBA market value would have garnered him (by the proverbial country mile when tax aspects are considered). I won't say "he got more than he deserved", 'cuz that, by definition, cannot happen. SOMEONE with a LOAD of money thought he deserved it.

2-RON-RON, baby! Back with Adelman. Our old friend Shane may suffer some minutes 'cuz of this one, but Artest will get a real chance to do some important things on what could (sounding like "the boy who cried SW Division champions" now) be a very important team. The flip side, of course...attribution bias counts on the negative side, too, Ron.

3-Chris "things go better with" Andersen. He's got a job. That darned well better be enough for him.

4-Anthony Roberson. See Chris Andersen.

5-One word: BENO!!!! If Kapono stole an MLE contract, Udrih should be tried for upwards of twenty-odd million counts of grand larceny.

6-Flip Murray. Sure, it's not a championship team, but it will almost certainly be a fun place to play the limited minutes he'll likely see,and he scored one more year's work.

That's just a few for now. I'll take a look a little deeper and see who else came out smelling like a rose and who came out smelling like, well, not a rose...

BallHype: hype it up!

Links: Read'em Edition Floor Burn Tournament Finals: Pitting "Baby Eater" Jason Maxiell against former Grizz fan favorite Shane Battier. Go out and vote!

Hoopsworld: Grizzlies should see an increase in attendance.

O.J. Mayo's former agent is in trouble.

Tom Ziller is ranking the Top 50 Players in the NBA on FanHouse. How intrepid of him. We're big on starting arguments, too.

The Grizzlies make a hire. Welcome aboard Maggie Bidenharn!

BallHype: hype it up!

Training Camp Begins This Month

Someone start the official countdown clock. Pre-season NBA action is 5 weeks away and training camps opens in less than a month!

Training camps open early this season to correspond to the earlier start of the NBA season. As most people remember, last season opened on Halloween and this season the Grizzlies second game of the year is on Halloween. The earlier the start of the season, the earlier the start of training camp. It makes sense.

The good news this season is that training camp won't be interrupted by a trip to Europe. That site seeing, media crazy, league sponsored events that disrupts training is fine for experienced teams with veteran players but has proven a tough nut to overcome for less experienced teams that are looking to build cohesion among the team during training camp. In other words teams like San Antonio and Phoenix don't get to bothered by traveling around the world during training camp but for teams like Memphis is can be disastrous.

So it is a positive that the team doesn't have to worry about a trip this year. With an amazing number of new faces (at least 7 new players among the 13 rostered invites) to implement into Coach Iavaroni's offensive system and Coach O'Neill's new defensive schemes the last thing the Grizzlies needed was to travel to Spain, France, England or China in the middle of their training.

BallHype: hype it up!