Friday, February 26, 2010

Relegislating the Thabeet Pick

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 3:16 PM

The Thabeet pick: Plenty of blame to go around.
  • The Thabeet pick: Plenty of blame to go around.
The Grizzlies host the Charlotte Bobcats tonight at FedExForum. Currently only 3.5 games out of the Western Conference's final playoff seed despite a five-game home losing streak, tonight's game provides a good chance for the Grizzlies to end that streak against a Bobcats team that's 7-22 on the road.

But the story of the day for the Grizzlies isn't tonight's game or even the team's weakening grasp on the playoff race. It's the assignment of #2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet to the NBA Developmental League's Dakota Wizards, with whom he's scheduled to play tonight.

This latest turn in what has been a disappointing rookie season for Thabeet has spurred another look at how the team came to draft Thabeet. (A pick that, it should be noted, was fairly widely questioned locally but not particularly denigrated around the country, with the Grizzlies getting pretty good "draft grades" from most national sites.)

The media narrative that has emerged around the pick goes something like this: That General Manager Chris Wallace preferred Tyreke Evans at #2. Player Personnel Director Tony Barone Sr. favored Thabeet. Scouting Director Tony Barone Jr. was pushing Stephen Curry. And Assistant General Manager Kenny Williamson and Head Coach Lionel Hollins were either leaning Curry or not pushing hard for anyone in particular, depending on which account you believe.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Center, and its Discontents: Haddadi in Rotation, Thabeet to Dakota

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Hamed Haddadi, looking cool in the Griz rotation of late.
  • Hamed Haddadi, looking cool in the Griz rotation of late.
The past week has seen a significant shift in the Grizzlies' rotation, with Hamed Haddadi taking over the back-up center role and with Hasheem Thabeet (along with Lester Hudson) now set to be sent to the Dakota Wizards for a developmental league assignment.

First, on Haddadi. After a couple of stints in Dakota himself and either riding the pine of modeling the latest big-and-tall fashions for the first year-and-a-half of his NBA career, Haddadi is now getting a chance to prove he can be a legitimate NBA player. Good for him.

In three consecutive games now receiving rotation minutes as a back-up center, Haddadi has acquitted himself well.

Against New Jersey on Sunday, Haddadi played 15 minutes and though he only shot 1-4 and picked up 5 fouls, he also had 6 rebounds, an assist and a block and didn't really hurt the team (his plus/minus for the game: +3). He gave the Grizzlies passable back-up center minutes. (Thabeet, by contrast, came into the game and immediately sailed an outlet pass out of bounds. He took a seat after one minute and never saw the floor again.)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Griz-Lakers Endgame: Mayo's Misses, Lionel's Tech:

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 10:32 AM

oj-mayo-1.jpg

With personnel changes at Beyond the Arc headquarters I'm finding it difficult to do the mammoth post-game reports that have been the semi-norm here over the past few seasons. This has me thinking of ways to rework how this blog operates heading into the summer and next season.

For now, I'm just going to feel my way through, probably with shorter, more subject-specific posts rather than long single-game previews and reviews. For starter, a few thoughts on the fourth quarter of last night's exciting and disappointing 99-98 Grizzlies loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:

For three quarters last night, O.J. Mayo was having a terrific game. He'd scored 23 points on 13 field-goal attempts and was playing Kobe Bryant, if not even, then close enough for the Grizzlies purposes.

Then the fourth quarter came around and Mayo was mysteriously absent from the Grizzlies offense, getting few touches and only one shot attempt within the offense until the very end of the game. Mayo was still active, getting a couple of steals and a defensive rebound, but despite having been the team's most effective player through three quarters, the offense seemed to go away from him. Mayo entered in the fourth quarter at the 9:26 mark and for the next four minutes was on the floor with one starter (either Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph) and three bench players. In that stretch, Mayo took one of the team's eight field-goal attempts. The other seven went to bench players, who shot 2-7.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Griz-Lakers Game Post

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Alright. After missing the thriller between the two teams at the beginning of the month, I'm in the house for Grizzlies-Lakers. I'm expecting to be repaid with a dud tonight, but hoping for a good game.

Kobe Bryant is back in the line-up for the Lakers. Lester Hudson, who gave the Grizzlies a big boost in the earlier game, will not do the same tonight, as he is inactive.

I'll be tweeting throughout the game and will hopefully have a post-game report up later tonight (pending how much my son chooses to sleep when I get home).

Let's do this.


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    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Pick Protection on Brewer Deal

    Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Here's the pick protection on the future first-rounder the Grizzlies are sending to Utah for Ronnie Brewer:

    2011: 1-14
    2012: 1-12
    2013: 1-10
    2014: 1-9
    2015: 1-9

    If the pick hasn't been sent as of 2015, the Jazz will receive cash to complete the deal.

    Quick Thoughts on Brewer Deal (Part One)

    Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    ronnie_brewer_09.jpg
    The Grizzlies acquired Utah Jazz swingman Ronnie Brewer this afternoon in exchange for a protected first-round pick in 2011.

    Since I'm going on radio with Chris Vernon (730FoxSports.com) at 4:20 this afternoon, I don't have a lot of time now, but some quick thoughts on the deal:

    Scouting Report: Brewer, a 24-year-old Arkansas native with strong area ties, is a versatile 6'7" perimeter player. He's a good athlete with a good handle but a shaky jumper.

    This season, Brewer has averaged 10 points, 3 boards, and 3 assists in 31 minutes per game, shooting 50% from the floor and 26% from three-point range. This production is down from the past two seasons, when Brewer averaged 14 and 12 points per game, respectively, in similar playing time with much higher shooting-percentages.

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    Griz May Get Ronnie Brewer

    Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I heard this afternoon that the Grizzlies were working on a deal that would send a protected first-round pick next season to the Utah Jazz for swingman Ronnie Brewer. I have not confirmed that this is a finalized deal, but the Salt Lake Tribune is also reporting that Brewer could be traded today.

    More as it comes.

    UPDATE: Brewer deal done, for protected first-rounder in 2011. I'll be on the Chris Vernon Show at 4:20. Will try to have a trade breakdown post up before then.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Notes from Last Night, Trade Thoughts, etc.

    Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    I wasn't able to do a full post-game report last night, so a few thoughts about the game and other issues here, with more to come:

    Last Night's Game: There are many reasons for the Grizzlies' 109-95 home loss to the Suns last night. Marc Gasol having a rare bad game on both ends of the floor was a killer for the Grizzlies. In shooting 4-12 from the floor and 3-11 from the line, Gasol might have single-handedly squandered enough points to make up the 14-point difference. And at the defensive end, he was a non-factor, with Suns starting center Robin Lopez logging an out-of-character 18 and 10 and the Suns as a whole outscoring the Grizzlies in the paint 58-32. The Grizzlies couldn't stop penetration, were late on rotations, and couldn't protect the rim. A total defensive meltdown, but with Gasol as the back line of defense and generally most reliable defensive player among the starters, his lackluster play was perhaps the biggest problem.

    Or maybe it was O.J. Mayo, who had one of those games where his lackluster size and athleticism for the two-guard position really hurt him. The bigger, more explosive Jason Richardson had a big game for the Suns, scoring 27 points on 12-17 shooting.

    Continue reading »

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Griz-Suns Game Post

    Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    I'm courtside at FedExForum, where the Grizzlies will host the Phoenix Suns in a rematch of the wildly entertaining Martin Luther King Jr. Day game last month. Like that one, this one will be on national television, albeit NBATV.

    After losing six of seven heading into the All-Star break, the Grizzlies obviously need a quick course-correction to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. A win tonight over a Suns team currently 7th in the West and four games ahead of the Grizzlies would be a good start.

    Check back later for a post-game report and follow along with my occasional Twitter commentary during the game.

    Let's do this.


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      Wednesday, February 10, 2010

      Hawks 108, Grizzlies 94 Post-Game Three-Pointer

      Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 12:01 AM

      1. Limping Into the Break: After starting the season 1-8, the Grizzlies are entering the All-Star break on a bad 1-6 stretch. What is this team's real level of ability? The 2-14 bookends or that 24-9 stretch in the middle? Those options are so stark that it's pretty clearly somewhere in the middle.

      Even when this team was playing its very best, reasonable fans knew that potential injury, likely fatigue, a weak bench, and the deep field of good teams in the Western Conference would all work against the team's rather unlikely run at a playoff birth. The Grizzlies remain lucky on the injury front, but the rest of those concerns are all a factor in the team's recent slide from 7th to 11th in the conference standings.

      I'll get into this in more detail in a post-All-Star-break preview post, but for the Grizzlies to remain a factor in the playoff race, they're going to need to get back on track in a hurry coming out of the break. With five of eight April games roadies against likely playoff teams, the Grizzlies probably need a cushion going into the final month. The rest of the February/March schedule is relatively favorable, but if the team can't relocate than December/January mojo it won't matter.

      Continue reading »

      Tuesday, February 9, 2010

      Griz-Hawks Game Post

      Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 6:50 PM

      I'm courtside at FedExForum where the Grizzlies will host the Atlanta Hawks in their last game before the All-Star break. With the Houston Rockets likely an underdog at Miami and with the Blazers and Thunder playing each other (meaning one has to lose), the Grizzlies could pick up some ground in the Western Conference playoff race with a win tonight — and also stabilize themselves after a rough stretch of three straight losses and five losses in their past six games.

      I wouldn't be too optimistic, though. The Hawks are a terrific team and present some match-up problems with their frontcourt athleticism and backcourt size. The combat the latter, the Grizzlies should thinking about giving that O.J. Mayo/Sam Young backcourt a look, as the Hawks have a two-guard (Joe Johnson) who can post Mayo but a starting point-guard (Mike Bibby) who isn't much of a threat on penetration. But I don't expect this to happen.

      On the latter, hopefully the return tonight of Darrell Arthur, who will play his first game of the season, will add a bit of speed and activity to the Grizzlies' frontcourt, though it's unfair to expect too much of Arthur after not playing in six months.

      Check back later for a post-game report and follow along with my occasional Twitter commentary during the game.

      Let's do this.


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        Friday, February 5, 2010

        Rockets 101, Grizzlies 83 Post-Game Three-Pointer

        Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM

        I've been on a Grizzlies hiatus for the past week or so as my wife and I welcomed our second child and first son into the world. Tonight was my first game back since the Orlando game on January 25th. Am I resentful that I sat through this desultory dud of a game while missing the packed-house nail-biter against the Lakers? You bet!

        I'm hoping that the insistent demands of a nocturnal infant will force me to be a more concise and efficient post-game blogger. Let's find out:

        1. Playoff Hopes Taking a Hit?: As of this writing, the Grizzlies are 10th place in the Western Conference — two games out of the eighth and final playoff seed, three games from the fifth seed, and, amazingly, only 4.5 games out of the third seed, all with nearly half a season still to play. In other words, still very much in the thick of a very tight playoff race.

        But I think you'd have to be less confident about this team earning a playoff birth after the past week. Not only have the Grizzlies lost four of their past five games, but have lost very costly home games to the Hornets and Rockets.

        Continue reading »

        Griz-Rockets Game Post

        Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 6:54 PM

        I'm back from a bit of a hiatus and courtside at FedExForum where the Grizzlies will take on the Houston Rockets in about 20 minutes.

        I missed a bad second-half meltdown against the Hornets and what was surely a thrilling win over the Lakers (probably the most significant Grizzlies home game that I wasn't in the building for), but I had a good excuse: My wife and I welcomed our second child and first son into the world. (His arrival roughly coincided with that meltdown against the Hornets, but I'll take no blame for that.)

        I'll try to get into some broader team-related issues over the next couple of weeks, but for now I'm just going to dive into this game, a particularly important one against one of the Grizzlies' key competitors in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

        Check back here later for a post-game report. In the meantime I'll chime in with occasional Twitter commentary during the game.

        Let's do this.


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