Thursday, August 19, 2010

Griz Notes: The Acie Law Signing

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 10:46 PM

LAW.jpg
In my continuing series of "stuff I missed while on vacation or otherwise occupied" posts, let's look at the minor free-agent signing that probably concluded the Grizzlies' off-season: Signing fourth-year point guard Acie Law to a one-year minimum contract.

I didn't think Law was much of an NBA prospect when he was starring at Texas A&M and becoming a lottery pick with the Atlanta Hawks, and haven't been surprised by his struggles so far in his pro career. However, given the certainty of the team signing an insurance point guard in the wake of O.J. Mayo's summer struggles at the position and unsigned rookie Greivis Vasquez's ankle surgery, and given that the Grizzlies had only a league-minimum contract to offer, I thought the Law signing was fine.

Given those parameters, what were the other options? A 35-year-old Chucky Atkins? Bobby Brown, Chris Quinn, Royal Ivey, Kevin Ollie, Travis Diener? Among the cheap, end-of-the-bench point-guard fodder available on the market, Law seems like as promising a bet as any of them.

Scouting Report: Law, 25, washed out of Atlanta in two seasons as an on-again/off-again back-up point guard and became a true journeyman last season in his third pro campaign, spending time with the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats, and Chicago Bulls. Even with those three teams, he managed only 9 minutes a game in 26 appearances. He had only three double-digit scoring games last season, although one of those — his second best performance of the season — came against the Grizzlies, when Law scored 18 points on 6-11 shooting in a Bulls loss at FedExForum. (If you remember, this was a really strange game, with the Bulls using Law, Jannero Pargo, and Flip Murray all together for long stretches, like a journeyman guard showcase or something.)

When Law did play last season. he looked like a much different player than he had in Atlanta. With the Hawks, Law was a passable playmaker that struggled mightily to score. He shot 40% and 37% from the floor in his first two seasons while averaging 10.9 and 11.6 points per 40 minutes.

Last year, Law shot 47% from the floor and averaged 19.3 per 40 minutes, but his playmaking plummeted. Again, Law only played 234 minutes all of last season, so I don't know how much stock we can really put into his production.

With good size and reasonable lateral quickness, Law has been a very competent defender and is almost certain to be an upgrade over last year's journeymen — Jamal Tinsley and Marcus Williams — in that regard.

Offensively, he's still a mystery. With one exception: Law has generally been a pretty good finisher at the basket, although he's prone to getting his shot blocked. But, barring an unlikely transformation, he can't shoot. Law is 21-79 (27%) from three-point range in over his career and was 5-16 last season. And he hasn't been much better on long two-pointers.

His Role: Unless there's some unexpected elevation in his overall play, Law's ideal role is at the end of the bench. However, given the team's reluctance to give Mayo minutes on the ball and the odds against Vasquez (late-first-round picks don't have good track records and late-first-rounders taken by the Grizzlies are an even more dire group, not to mention the injury — but God I hope Vasquez can overcome these doubts), I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Law end up with the bulk of the point guard minutes behind Mike Conley. And though I don't really think the team could have done much better with this signing, I don't see that outcome being a particularly positive one for the team.

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