Friday, May 22, 2009

Ian Thomsen Preaching the Gospel

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 10:45 PM

I've recovered from Lebron James' historic shot long enough to put up one last post before I nod off. If anyone in Griz Land hasn't seen SI.com's Ian Thomsen's long draft piece today. Thomsen has some great material on the issues surrounding Ricky Rubio's buyout and includes this must-read stretch:


The questions then become whether the Grizzlies will take him at No. 2, and whether Rubio will want to go there. Dealing with the latter issue, one has only to recall Fegan's attempts to steer Chinese power forward Yi Jianlian away from the Bucks after they picked Yi sixth in 2007. When he was unable to force an immediate trade from Milwaukee, Fegan negotiated promises of playing time from owner Herb Kohl. My understanding is that Fegan doesn't necessarily view Memphis as a bad franchise for Rubio as long as the Grizzlies aren't committed to Mike Conley Jr. as their point guard at Rubio's expense.

Let's be realistic about the Grizzlies. They've rid themselves of most of their older, expensive players, going into next season with no one making as much as $8 million. They surely aren't going to be a contender anytime soon, and drafting Thabeet won't change that dynamic. But drafting Rubio and giving him the keys to the car will make them suddenly and surprisingly attractive. He'll create easy baskets for Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo and increase their value and the value of the franchise, because with Rubio running the team, the Grizzlies can become one of the hot, fun teams to watch next season. Rubio will make them relevant in an entertaining way, whereas no one else in this draft can make them relevant in any kind of way.

Does Memphis really want to see Rubio become an instant open-floor phenom for Sacramento next season, while the Grizzlies invest years in developing Thabeet in front of small crowds?

I'll be on the road again tomorrow, so don't expect any new posts until at least tomorrow night and probably not until Sunday.

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