Figuring all this out.
If you go all the way to forming outwardly "professional" minor league systems in football and basketball, then why in the world would they be connected to the college system? They aren't in baseball.
Most think pieces on these problems come from a place of wanting to save and preserve college sports as a major spectator enterprise. Why is that important? Why is it relevant? Why can't we "tear down the walls of college sports"?
I've long been of the mind that most college financial aid should be need-based and none of it should manifest itself in athletic scholarships. We should be trying, if at all possible, to make sports less important on our campuses, not trying to engineer ways to preserve its importance in the face of overwhelming evidence that the two enterprises — professional sports and higher education — don't fit.
Short of that, it seems to me that the only valid personal response to the corrupting influence of college sports — provided you care more about the universities than their sports teams — is to stop caring about it. That's the source of the problem: fan interest. It's a corrupt institution because we care too much about it and we're asking universities to entertain us.
How about we start by withdrawing that request? One person at a time is a good start.
Is the only way to not be considered "cheap" to pay luxury tax? Because they're right up against the line and if that's "cheap" then most of the NBA is cheap.
Stu Lash made an interesting point on the radio today: That teams are only allowed to field four "veteran" players (from their roster) in summer league. Wroten, Leuer, Greene, and Reed make four. I don't think anyone in the current regime (with Hollins out) wants Davis in summer league and they'd have to leave one of those guys off the team to make room for him anyway. So it's sort of a non-issue. Which was my reaction to Tillery pointing it out to begin with.
I agree with your overarching concern to a considerable degree but I think you're off-base on a couple of specifics:
1. On Tony Allen: Every indication — and I mean EVERY — is that there's a mutual desire to have Allen back and get it done quickly. If Allen's agent waits for other offers to set the market and someone offers more than three years at or above the mid-level, then I think it could -- and, in that instance, should -- get tricky. But I'm pretty comfortable in saying that there's nothing disingenuous going on with this.
2. I'm always surprised that people think the Hollins/Hollinger practice story reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski was an attempt to smear *Hollins.* I've heard that from a few people. Go back and read it and how the (blown wildly out of proportion, by all accounts) story was presented and then put it in context of other stuff Wojnarowski has written about the Grizzlies since the ownership change (calling Hollinger "a statistician for a cable sports company"). Pretty clear to me that story was a dagger intended for Hollinger, not Hollins.
Given Memphis' market size there are always going to be legitimate reasons to question its *long*term viability as an NBA locale, but applying this coaching change to that subject in conspiracy theory fashion is where it gets silly.
1. The point here isn't to make a case for Hollinger but simply to apply his published draft rater articles to past Grizzlies drafts. If you read carefully, I don't say definitively "this is who Hollinger would have drafted" but rather "this is the pick the available info suggests." There's really no other way to fairly do it.
2. As I argued AT THE TIME there was no good reason not to draft a versatile guard like Evans, Stephen Curry, or James Harden even though the team had Conley and O.J. Mayo because there was no third guard on the roster at the time. You have 96 backcourt minutes to fill. The difference with Lawson is that, like Conley, he's a small guard who can only really play the point. As I also argued at the time, drafting one of those three guards made a lot more sense, positionally, than drafting true center Thabeet when true center Gasol was already on the roster.
3. Nobody drafts for position or need at #49. You're just trying to find a player.
4. As for your last point, that anyone drafting is unlikely to find *the best* player available most of the time, I think that's certainly true.
On Thabeet: It sounds good now to say that "any idiot" would have taken someone different, and I was on record at the time in opposition to that pick. But it just isn't true. Thabeet was considered a consensus top 2-5 pick at the time and the Grizzlies draft was given positive marks by every national site the next day.
On Calathes: He was a terrific college player at Florida just a few years ago who was selected by the Mavericks and went overseas to begin his career. If a player *never* comes over, then your argument is correct. But Calathes is only 24 and has been really good in Europe. See this story from a few weeks ago --
I can't imagine the Mavs would trade his rights now for a second-round pick, and maybe not a late first. So you can make the case that, as an asset, he's more valuable right now than Carroll or Meeks, the two players he matches up against in this exercise.
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By Richard Alley
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