- NBA Rank: 3
Conference Rank: 3
- Memphis Grizzlies
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.Thomas Jefferson
After bottoming out from 2006-7 thru 2008-9 and basically giving the Lakers a title by gifting them their franchise player, the Grizzlies have turned around in the last four seasons. Last season, they pulled up a seat at the big boy table as a full-on, genuine contender. As the season progressed, Memphis was able to make in-season moves that both helped their cap and improved the team. The offseason has seen more stellar work by their front office. The result? The Grizzlies have a real chance to hang a banner in 2013-14 season.
The much maligned acquisition of Gasol's younger brother and the scoffed at signing of Zach Randolph were the surprising keys in turning around the Grizzlies. Last year, everything broke right. Mike Conley hit his prime. Marc Gasol bounced back from a sub par lockout year. The Grizzlies also managed to somehow dump Rudy Gay for Tayshaun Prince, who despite being ancient and a shell of him former self, was an upgrade, and a productive young big Ed Davis, who stands poised to handle any decline in an aging Randolph. You can't see me but I am currently giving Hollinger a slow clap.
|Rudy Gay ||1541||27||.036||1.2|
|Darrell Arthur ||970||25||-.015||-.3|
|Wayne Ellington ||676||26||.085||1.2|
|Marreese Speights ||579||26||.005||.6|
|Austin Daye ||328||25||.132||1.9|
|Tony Wroten ||272||20||-.009||-.1|
|Chris Johnson ||102||28||.160||1.3|
|Hamed Haddadi ||87||28||-.008||0|
|Josh Selby ||59||22||-.341||-.4|
|Dexter Pittman ||20||25||-.456||-.2|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
Memphis ended last season with a pretty nice combination of young talent. In the offseason though, Memphis managed to improve even more. They flipped Darrell Arthur, a terrible big man, for Kosta Koufos, the quite good starting center for one of their conference rivals (the Nuggets *sigh*) .
The Grizzlies also upgraded their small forward situation, by picking up Mike Miller. Now, we don't expect huge minutes for Miller in the regular season but we do expect him to be a major piece of the rotation come playoff time. The net result? The Grizzlies stand poised to be a top three team in the league! Unfortunately, because they're in the west, this means they could spend round two on the road.
|Kosta Koufos ||4.9||1172||24||.187||4.6|
|Mike Miller ||2.5||777||33||.139||2.3|
|Jamaal Franklin ||2.0||512||22||.101||1.1|
|Nick Calathes ||1.0||386||25||.055||.4|
|Willie Reed ||4.0||273||23||.056||.3|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
Last season the Grizzlies turned Gay into Prince and Davis. Can they turn Prince and Miller into a legit three? Understand this team won 56 games and made the conference finals without a strong three or strong three point shooting. If they can upgrade this, then this team goes from shockingly strong to legendary. Both the Clippers and Spurs have had solid bouts with the Grizzlies. Will this year help cement a rivalry with either?
Projected Playoff Rotation: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Ed Davis. Watch out!
When the Pau Gasol trade went down, I would not have believed that in five seasons the Grizzlies would be in better shape than the Lakers. This team has the same disadvantage so many great teams have had in the west in the last decade -- the competition is so damned fierce! I've made my potshots at Hollinger over his use of PER in his writing. That said, his moves in a front office have been spot on. The simple fact is everything looks great for the Grizzlies going forward. I look forward to the next act.
The Second Opinion Arturo is wearing a Blue Grizzly Bear suit
I'm such a fan of the over for Memphis. I love every move this team has made since Hollinger came on board. Pure brilliance in ditching overpriced assets like Gay for valuable young pieces. They even managed to get rid of Hollins who I considered a terrible offensive coach and who failed to understand the direction the NBA is moving. Yes, they do need more three point shooting but I have every confidence that they'll figure out a way to add it during the season.