I am not sure if I agree with the statement that the biggest problem with the pick was a misguided assessment of the roster. First, if the goal is to have a team that is competitive in the playoffs, I don't think the Grizzlies had enough talent going into the draft to worry that much about roster construction. Second, the Grizzlies still needed to dramatically improve their defense and get frontcourt help, even if the Randolph trade was already in the pipeline and even if Marc Gasol fully panned out. They are last in the NBA in giving up baskets at the rim and are 23rd in defensive efficiency.
Since we are being retrospective, I wonder what would have happened if they had never made the Love and Miller for Mayo trade. Love seems like he is going to be a better version of Zach Randolph, they would have had a clear need for help in the backcourt going into last years draft, and they would have a couple of expiring contracts and a pretty good cap situation. If the Knicks gave up Jordan Hill and a future first rounder to get rid of Jeffries, what could the Grizzlies have gotten taking Eddy Curry's contract, which isn't that much bigger than Jaric's, off of their hands last summer?
I think alot of the reason why OJ didn't get the ball in the fourth quarter was a combination of Kobe playing great defense and some of the limitations of his game (at least at this point). There were a couple of times where it seemed like they ran plays that were designed to go to OJ as he was coming off screens, but Kobe fought through the screen and there wasn't a pass to get him the ball in good position. This was a good contrast to OJ and Rudy going under the screens that let Kobe get his jumpers at the end of the game. In particular, I am pretty sure that the play with a little under a minute to go in the game which ended up with Conley driving through the paint and (luckily?) flipping the ball to Rudy for a floater was designed to go to OJ on the wing off a screen after he crossed with Rudy in the paint, but Kobe stuck to him and there was no way for him to get the ball. They could have given him the ball to let him try to create some offense, but he wasn't very successful at creating half court offense in this game-- only 1 assist and 5 turnovers, plus 6 of his 9 made baskets were assisted, and at least another was on a fast break.
I don't know if I am that sold on Randolph's future. As you say, his game is not based on athleticism, so he could age well, and I agree that he will probably be able to score and rebound as long as his body holds up. But if his defense is not good now, how bad will it be if he starts to lose a little athleticism? Also, even if Randolph doesn't decline, I don't think a team with a frontcourt of Gasol and Randolph will be good enough defensively to be a legitimate championship contender.
The Thabeet thing doesn't make any sense to me. What did they expect when they drafted him? Except for his fouls, his rate stats are actually ok. He has rebounded better than I expected. If they are seriously considering trading him, it would seem to me either whoever is making the decisions has the patience of a 3 year old or that someone else is making the decisions.
They never should have drafted him in the first place, but I don't think "subsidizing" Thabeet's development is the right way to think about it. Even if he never becomes the Grizzlies starting center, if he improves, his trade value will go up, and you get a better return on the investment.
I think Duncan's stats are better because his percentages and advanced stats are all much better than Randolph's. I was thinking about defense with the importance to the team comment.
38103- Where/how did you get the projected record? Is there some Hollinger thing?
Also, Randolph has been very good this year, but his numbers have not been better than Duncan's this year and he is not more important to his team.
Another positive from the game is that Gasol probably had his worst game of the year and the Grizzlies won anyway.
I am glad Mayo had a good shooting game, but was not particularly worried. I am pretty sure Mayo's 2 point FG% shooting percentage has actually been up this year. Coming into December, he was only 32% from 3, but that was only on 63 attempts. If 2 of his misses bounce in instead of out, he would have been at 37%. Same thing with Conley-- he shot around 38% from 3 combined in his first two years in over 300 attempts. I think it is much more likely that his 28% shooting on 36 attempts coming into December was the fluke.
"When has there ever been a healthy, still-productive former MVP and future Hall-of-Famer struggling to get even a low-ball contract offer from ANYBODY?"
I don't know why anyone would be sure that Iverson on a one-year contract would beat out Conley. Stuckey got all of the starts at point guard for Detroit, and he and Conley were practically the same statistically last year.
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By Leonard Gill
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