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The Grizzlies: The Bridesmaid

The Numbers

  • Average Seed
  • 📉 Pessimist
    51.3 wins
  • Realist
    57.3 wins
  • 📈 Optimist
    63.3 wins
First Seed
Top 4
👍 Over (49.0)
👎 Under (49.0)
🎀 Playoffs

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.Thomas Jefferson

The Brief

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 Story

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.


  • Actual Wins: 56
  • Expected Wins: 52
  • Lucky Wins: 3.9
Player Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Marc Gasol   2796 29 .171 10.0
Mike Conley   2757 26 .206 11.8
Zach Randolph   2607 32 .150 8.1
Tony Allen   2109 32 .168 7.4
Jerryd Bayless   1765 25 .083 3.1
Rudy Gay 1541 27 .036 1.2
Quincy Pondexter   1243 25 .112 2.9
Tayshaun Prince   1174 33 .087 2.2
Darrell Arthur 970 25 -.015 -.3
Wayne Ellington 676 26 .085 1.2
Marreese Speights 579 26 .005 .6
Ed Davis   544 24 .238 2.7
Austin Daye 328 25 .132 1.9
Tony Wroten 272 20 -.009 -.1
Chris Johnson 102 28 .160 1.3
Jon Leuer   96 24 .010 0
Hamed Haddadi 87 28 -.008 0
Keyon Dooling   82 33 .058 .1
Josh Selby 59 22 -.341 -.4
Dexter Pittman 20 25 -.456 -.2

Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.

  • 52.0 total Wins Produced
  • 10 players leaving
    (4634 minutes, 9.6 wins)

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.

This Year

  • Projected Wins: 57.3
  • Conference Rank: 3
  • % Playoffs: 98.8
Player Position Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Marc Gasol   5.0 2883 29 .135 8.1
Mike Conley   1.0 2811 26 .178 10.4
Zach Randolph   4.2 2268 32 .158 7.5
Tony Allen   2.3 2188 32 .170 7.7
Tayshaun Prince   3.1 1909 33 .031 1.2
Jerryd Bayless   1.4 1534 25 .079 2.5
Ed Davis   4.6 1345 24 .196 5.5
Kosta Koufos 4.9 1172 24 .187 4.6
Quincy Pondexter   3.0 959 25 .097 1.9
Mike Miller 2.5 777 33 .139 2.3
Jon Leuer   4.6 656 24 .061 .8
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.

  • 📅 60.4 WP last year
    by these players
  • 🔀 5.4 WP (roster changes)
  • -3.1 WP (age/experience)

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!

The Wrap

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.

So what do Hollinger's moves say about his true feelings for PER? And has he become a closet disciple of Wins Produced? He consistently dumped high PER/low WP players (Gay, Speights, etc.) and acquired high WP players (Davis, Miller, Koufos). I think he has earned my grudging respect by his de facto admission that using PER as your guide is no way to run a franchise. I actually sort of hope it works out for him, because I think people are sleeping on Memphis this year.
@fat yes it's appeared so far hollinger has really known what he has been doing- he seems like a smart guy, in that he probably knows what really matters in the nba, and that he has no reason to confirm or deny the merits of PER, off which he probably still makes money in one way or another. my heart skipped a beat when i found out that my dream had come true: we dumped rudy gay's nuts contract- of course now that's he corrected his apparently terrible vision he might(?) start playing better, but his problem was never accuracy, it was just taking too many inaccurate shots. regardless i'm happy with it, davis is a beast.

otherwise, just thought i'd leave this on the preview for my team, but this site looks GREAT. i've been following this site and WoW for a few years now, and it's always been a pleasure to hear the thoughts of those who actually know what's going on in basketball and can back it up empirically. i look forward to following this for years more to come, the new layout and format are fantastic. wonderful job patrick dre and arturo!
[test to see if my avatar works now]

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