Friday, June 27, 2014

Woj: Zach Randolph picks up option, signs contract extension

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (and apparently confirmed by Randolph's agent Raymond Brothers), the Grizzlies and Randolph agreed to terms this morning:

This deal is probably the best the Grizzlies could do and still keep Randolph. The $16.5 million for next year is a lot of money, but the $20 million / 2 year extension after that is exactly the number I thought they should offer him.

Hard to argue with that deal. Next year, it makes getting rid of Tayshaun Prince a little bit more important but harder to actually do, but beyond 2014-15, the Randolph contract is at a price point that allows the Griz to re-sign Marc Gasol next summer (and let's not forget Mike Conley at some point).

Now let's hope they call Marc Gasol this afternoon and start talking about making that happen.

Grizzlies Draft 2014: Next Day Notes

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM


Last night's draft for the Grizzlies was both more interesting and less interesting than expected. No blockbuster last-minute deals were made to move up or down from the 22nd pick, but the players selected could potentially tell a story about how the Grizzlies are going to spend the rest of the summer tweaking their roster.

For the Grizzlies, everything seemed to hinge on whether Tyler Ennis was available to the Toronto Raptors at 20.

If he were, the Raptors wanted to pull off the trade that circulated yesterday—John Salmons and the 37th pick for Tayshaun Prince and the 22nd—in order to have the 22nd pick and select Clint Capela. When Ennis was selected 18th by the Phoenix Suns, that likely torpedoed the Grizzlies' best chance for trading out of the 22nd spot.

Jordan Adams

Once they figured out they were going to pick a player instead of trading, the Griz selected Jordan Adams, a 6'5" shooting guard from UCLA. Adams is athletic, he can score, and his advanced metrics are pretty stellar (all of which leads one to believe that John Hollinger had a pretty heavy influence on Adams' selection). It brings up the question of "why another shooting guard?", but I'll address that later.

The one caveat I have about the Adams pick: the Griz passed over Rodney Hood to get him. Hood managed to drop to the Utah Jazz at the 23rd spot (immediately after Hood) and while I wasn't crazy about his game, I still would've been satisfied had the Grizzlies picked him. If Adams turns out to be mediocre and Hood develops into the very good player he's capable of growing into, that's going to come back and haunt the Griz for a while.

All in all, though, scoring at the wings is what the Grizzlies need, and that's why they drafted Jordan Adams. I didn't have Adams on my radar—although apparently I should have—but given some time to research it, I'm fine with this pick. I think Adams has potential to be a great fit on this team, especially if they continue forward with a style of play that leads to a lot of kick-out opportunities for shooters.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NBA Draft 2014: Getting Down to Grizzness

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 8:52 AM

These two guys were drafted last year. Can the Griz find a diamond in the rough this year?
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • These two guys were drafted last year. Can the Griz find a diamond in the rough this year?

As I write this, the air conditioner has gone out in my house, and my wife and infant daughter have left for cooler undisclosed locations, leaving me here in a stuffy living room with two large greyhounds sleeping in front of a box fan and large quantities of George Dickel #12 on hand—all of which is actually secondary to my real point here:

I'm just not much of a "draft guy." I probably shouldn't admit as much in a column on my basketball-related blog here, but I believe in being upfront with folks, and so there you have it. Evaluating incoming college basketball players is not something I feel I'm particularly great at. I don't really watch college basketball; it's just not really my thing. The game is played so differently—the 35-second shot clocks, the zone-heavy defenses, the pared down offenses—that it doesn't really hold my attention the way the NBA game does (and I don't intend any value judgment with that, so please don't write letters to the Flyer about how much of an idiot I am for that. We get plenty such letters already).

This may be the heat and/or it may be the Dickel, but I just don't care that much about trying to read the tea leaves and figure out who the Grizzlies are going to draft before they do it. As a wise International Man of Mystery once said in a certain Swedish situation, "it's not my bag, baby."

That said, I'm not about to let that stop me from making all sorts of wild prognostications based on hours of YouTube footage, reading scouting reports, and talking to people who know more than I do. These are the four names I've heard the most about heading into tomorrow night's draft:

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Z-Bo Problem: What's Zach Randolph Worth?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 10:35 AM

How much should the Grizzlies be willing to pay to keep Zach Randolph?
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • How much should the Grizzlies be willing to pay to keep Zach Randolph?

I've been putting off this piece for a while, but now that the season is over, it's time to start talking about what the Grizzlies can do to be better next year. No matter who is going to end up calling the shots for the Grizzlies this offseason, pretty much every decision the team needs to make will be influenced by the outcome of a decision in the hands of someone else: the $16.5 million player option of Zach Randolph.

Said player option was put in place by Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace when Randolph's contract was extended after the 2011 playoffs. At the time, it seemed like it was a million years away—who knew what would happen in the meantime, and it'd be a long time before anyone had to deal with it.

That time has come, and it finds the Grizzlies in the middle of a really weird offseason, one that's seen unprecedented (and also as yet unresolved until a long-term GM is hired) upheaval already and not the roster upheaval some predicted but instead a changing of the decision-making guard.

There are only two possible outcomes to this scenario: Zach Randolph is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies next season, or he isn't. Both possible outcomes have their upsides and downsides.

If Z-Bo Stays

The bottom line is this: Zach Randolph is coming off a good season, but probably not a great one. He averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds a game, and a PER of 18.3, continued to play at a high level all around, appeared to have improved his interior passing, and (along with Mike Conley) carried the team through a tough stretch without Marc Gasol.

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