2009-10 NBA Season Preview: Memphis Grizzlies



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




Memphis Grizzlies (Last Year: 19-63)

Depth Chart:

C: Marc Gasol/Hasheem Thabeet/Hamed Haddadi/Steven Hunter

PF: Zach Randolph/Darrell Arthur

SF: Rudy Gay/DeMarre Carroll/Sam Young

SG: O.J. Mayo/Allen Iverson/Quinton Ross

PG: Mike Conley/Marko Jaric/Quincy Douby/Marcus Williams

Head Coach: Lionel Hollins (2nd year)

2009-2010 Team Salary: $56.3 million

Projected 2010-2011 Team Salary: approximately $47.2 million



Off-Season Grade: Fail

It is unfortunate that the Grizzlies' general manager shares his name with one the greatest rappers ever, Notorious B.I.G. Maybe we should start calling Memphis' Chris Wallace "The Notorious B.A.D.G.M." because he continues to make absolutely idiotic decisions that continue to haunt one of the worst franchises in the NBA.

Baffling, unfathomable, stupid; pick a synonym. All those words would aptly describe Wallace for trading Quentin Richardson to the Clippers for Zach Randolph. Who in their right mind purposely acquires a head case with a terrible contract (two years, $33.3 million remaining) on a supposed up-and-coming young team that is in a great situation with the salary cap, and calls it a good idea? "The Notorious B.A.D.G.M.", that's who.

Outside of that guaranteed blunder, the Griz had a fairly quiet offseason until they finally convinced Allen Iverson to come to Memphis because, well, nobody else really wanted the so-called "Answer." Yes, Iverson is going to play with a massive chip on his shoulder, but that's not necessarily a good thing. A.I. is a scorer who loves having the ball in his hand and is known to play 1-on-5 offense. His addition to the team is likely to stunt the growth and take away opportunities from talented young players like O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. But if you are a Grizzlies franchise badly in need of some publicity and drawing fans to see your pathetic excuse of an NBA franchise, then why not roll the dice on bringing A.I. to Memphis?

They took project Hasheem Thabeet with the second-overall pick in the draft, and added DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young with later selections to add depth at forward and on the wing.



2009-2010 Outlook:

Randolph punches a teammate. That should be fun. Other than that, it is going to be a long season in Memphis. There are some nice young pieces led by Gay and Mayo, but a lack of depth and experience will hurt the Grizzlies, as will Iverson chucking up 30 shots a game and refusing to pass the ball. Hollins may actually have to incorporate the junior high rule of "three passes before a shot."

On a serious note, it will also be a telling season for third-year point guard Mike Conley. The former fourth-overall pick has yet to live up to his potential and will need to take that next step if the Griz are to make any noise at all. Well, besides the noise of Randolph's fist hitting one his teammates' face.



Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

The Randolph trade really handcuffed Memphis' flexibility next offseason. The true story will revolve around Gay though, who will become a restricted free agent. It would not be shocking if the former UConn Husky decides to play out the final year of his contract so he could become an unrestricted free agent in 2011 and free himself from a franchise that is searching for an identity. I suppose if the Grizzlies offer him a max-level extension, the temptation to stay with the team might be too big to resist. Knowing the "Notorious B.A.D.G.M.," he will probably deal Gay straight up for a terrible contract like Dan Gadzuric or Eddy Curry. I mean you can't rule it out, right?

2009-10 NBA Power Ranking: 26th



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




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Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

The Randolph trade really handcuffed Memphis' flexibility next offseason. The true story will revolve around Gay though, who will become a restricted free agent. It would not be shocking if the former UConn Husky decides to play out the final year of his contract so he could become an unrestricted free agent in 2011 and free himself from a franchise that is searching for an identity. I suppose if the Grizzlies offer him a max-level extension, the temptation to stay with the team might be too big to resist. Knowing the "Notorious B.A.D.G.M.," he will probably deal Gay straight up for a terrible contract like Dan Gadzuric or Eddy Curry. I mean you can't rule it out, right?

2009-10 NBA Power Ranking: 26th



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com








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