Surprising no-one, O.J. Mayo finished second in the NBA's Rookie of the Year race, behind current Chicago Bull and former University of Memphis Tiger Derek Rose.
Mayo was the leading rookie scorer but by playing point guard on a team that made the playoffs, Rose became the clear favorite, garnering 111 of 120 first-place votes. Mayo, with five first-place votes, was a clear second in the race. New Jersey's Brook Lopez and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook finished third and fourth, respectively.
Griz center Marc Gasol finished eighth.
The full standings:
Rookie, Team 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Derrick Rose, Chicago 111 5 4 574
O.J. Mayo, Memphis 5 64 29 246
Brook Lopez, New Jersey 2 28 33 127
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City 2 13 24 73
Eric Gordon, L.A. Clippers - 4 10 22
Kevin Love, Minnesota - 2 10 16
Michael Beasley, Miami - 2 1 7
Marc Gasol, Memphis - 1 1 4
Robin Lopez, Phoenix - 1 - 3
Rudy Fernandez, Portland - - 3 3
Mario Chalmers, Miami - - 2 2
Courtney Lee, Orlando - - 2 2
Nicolas Batum, Portland - - 1 1
The Grizzlies victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the season's final game might prove costly. With the Minnesota Timberwolves laying down for the league-worst Sacramento Kings the same night, both the Grizzlies and Wolves finished 24-58, tied for fifth worst record in the league.
Today, the NBA announced, the Wolves won the random-drawing tiebreaker and will be seated 5th heading into the lottery. The Grizzlies will be sixth.
I misreported part of the lottery impact of this earlier this week. In terms of the odds of getting the top pick, the tiebreaker difference is minimal. The Wolves will now have 76 of 1000 lottery combinations. The Grizzlies will have 75. Of course, the difference would have been greater in the Grizzlies favor had they been alone in 5th with the Wolves sixth.
A more likely impact will be if neither team is selected in the lottery — which impacts only the top three picks. In that event, the Wolves will be slotted ahead of the Grizzlies in the draft order.
Grizzlies.com blogger Chris Avis, a friend of Beyond the Arc, is hosting a couple of playoff contests via NBA.com. One is a straight-up picks contest with the playoff bracket. The other is a daily fantasy contest where you pick individual players.
I'm participating in both contests, so if you think you can beat me then let's see what you got.
You can access both contests on Avis' blog here.
Back in October, as part of my season-preview story, I issued seven predictions about the then-upcoming Grizzlies season. With that season now (mercifully?) over, it's only fair that I look back and see how I did:
1. The Grizzlies will finish last in average home attendance. And it may not even be close. Last season, the Grizzlies finished 29th of 30 NBA teams, outdrawing the Indiana Pacers by about 500 spectators a game. This season, with the Pacers having jettisoned more of the players who alienated a once-strong fan base, the New Orleans Hornets a legit title contender, and the former Seattle Sonics embarking on their first season as the Oklahoma City Thunder, three of last season's other bottom-five draws should be in line for a significant bump. With the economy in trouble, things will be bad in New Jersey, Charlotte, Sacramento, Milwaukee, and Minnesota, as well. But look for the Grizzlies to be four-digits worse than anyone else this season.
Verdict: I guess I'm happy to report that I wasn't quite right on this one. The Grizzlies were not a distant last in average home attendance. In fact, they weren't last at all, coming in 29th again at 12,745 a game, just ahead of the Sacramento Kings at 12,571. The Grizzlies were nearly 1,500 behind the 28th place Pacers. I was dead on about the rest of the dregs: Minnesota, Charlotte, New Jersey, and Milwaukee.
The Grizzlies ended their season Wednesday night with a 98-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks to finish 24-58, tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves (who folded to the Kings — boo!) for the fifth worst record in the league.
I'm excited to get into the offseason stuff, but my plate is extraordinarily full on my other beats the next two weeks. So I'm going to get on the record with this batch of quick thoughts on Lionel Hollins and the entire season-ending Griz roster.
The rest of this month, Beyond the Arc will be on semi-hiatus. I might pop in with breaking news, links, or responses to reader comments as warranted, but don't expect much else here until the first week of May.
Lionel Hollins: I was probably a little unfair toward Hollins a few weeks ago in my post-Calipari piece. He's gone 13-26 as head coach — a slightly better record than Marc Iavaroni had this season with slightly less talent (following the Kyle Lowry trade) and against a much tougher schedule. Despite his disappointing reluctance to give O.J. Mayo serious point guard minutes when Mike Conley sits, he's done a pretty solid job with this team, particularly getting Rudy Gay refocused. Mike Conley also blossomed on his watch, but I think that started when Iavaroni left, not when Hollins started. Given the solid finish, the response from the team, and financial factors, he's very likely to remain head coach heading into next season, and that's fine. My biggest concern: That he'll have too much off-season influence, often a danger with head coaches, as Griz fans have seen. More on this later.
O.J. Mayo: Mayo averaged 38 minutes a game and played all 82 as a rookie, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he couldn't quite keep up his torrid November scoring pace. But more than 18 points a game on 44/38/88 shooting is very good for a jumpshot-dependent rookie that defenses have been keying on most of the season. His limitations in terms of size and athleticism by NBA two-guard standard in conjunction with his promising playmaking ability suggests a fulltime move to the point could be in his future. He's too turnover-prone for that now and has proven he can be a big-time player at the two (potentially on both ends of the floor), so the team has a lot of options with Mayo in the backcourt. Mayo is clearly the most significant player on the team, but doesn't profile, to me, to be a top tier ballhandler/scorer (Lebron/Kobe/Wade). He can clearly be a second-tier guy (Roy/Billups/DWilliams), but that means this team is still on the "balanced-talent" rather than the "star and role players" team-building plan. (Which is fine by me, actually.)
The Grizzlies end their season tonight with a home game against the Atlanta Hawks, but this isn't the only game Griz fans should be following.
Right now, only two games separate three teams — the Oklahoma City Thunder has 22 wins, the Grizzlies have 23 wins, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have 24 wins. And both of those teams have dangerously winnable games tonight: the Thunder are on the road against the 19-win Los Angeles Clippers while the Wolves host the league-worst 16-win Sacramento Kings.
The most reasoned national take I've seen on last season's Pau Gasol trade — and on the current status of the Grizzlies — comes today from the excellent Lakers fan blog Forum Blue and Gold:
With tonight's Grizzlies-Suns game not on television, I'm going to live blog this one. Check back here at 7 p.m. to follow along with the action.
This will be the first live blog on the new site. We'll see how it works.
Alright — I'm courtside now at FedExForum where the Grizzlies and Suns are getting ready to tip. I have to confess that I had totally forgotten that Stromile Swift now plays for the Suns.
I would love to see Stro and Darius Miles square off tonight in a historic battle in honor of the deplorable 2000 rookie draft, in which they went 2nd and 3rd, respectively. But I don't expect that to happen.
Instead, the game-within-the-game entertainment tonight will come from Marc Gasol and (please!) Hamed Haddadi matching up with Shaq Daddy.
Let's do this.
# And the winner @kiafbaby , dam that was fast , they got me at the lisa marie , I was lookn at the plane
about 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry
# Whoeva finds me at graceland gets four tickets
about 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry
# Pullin up to grtaceland in about twenty minutes, is this were elvis is really from
about 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry
# Should I go see elvis, I'm in memphis, you aint nuttin but a hound dog, ridin around town Dun nun daa
With the college season over and the NBA season winding down, it's time again to start focusing on the draft. Like last season, I'm going to do multiple installments of my Grizzlies draft board following each step in the process: the lottery selection, the pre-draft combine, the individual workouts. Unlike last season, I expect some significant changes to the following list.
Last year, the only big difference between my initial draft list and my final one was moving Anthony Randolph off the board after seeing his individual workout (and getting a sense of how much of a project he was going to be). But this is a more difficult draft to get a handle on and I've watched less college basketball than I did last season, so I expect to learn a lot more over the next two months that will impact my thinking on the draft.
So, consider this a very preliminary ranking of who the Grizzlies should be looking at in the lottery. I'm going nine deep on the list, because #9 is the lowest the Grizzlies will possibly be picking. I'll have a follow-up post in the coming days on players to potentially target with the team's two later picks.