Updated the OP with current roster, blogs to follow, salary cap, preseason/season schedule.
I thought I would revive this thread. I knew there are still a few people who keep up with the team (outside of me
). Just thought it would be a good idea to keep a lot of the Grizz related stuff in here.
Some recent news...Memphis Grizzlies Reportedly Interested in Australia Guard Joe InglesWarning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Grizzlies Waive Jamaal FranklinWarning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Per Marc Stein of ESPN, Memphis is a potential suitor for the services of Joe Ingles, the Australian guard who seems to be drawing some important attention from NBA executives and scouts at the FIBA World Cup.
Are the Grizzlies sincerely trying to steer clear from the luxury-tax line? Would a Marc Gasol (a reportedly big fan of Ingles) endorsement be the key ingredient that would force management's hand into spending some cash on an international name receiving hype comparable to the amount attributed earlier this offseason to Chicago Bulls' Nikola Mirotic?
Ingles has been a significant contributor to the 2-1 Australian national team at the FIBA World Cup, as they are in second place in the standings of Group D. He is averaging 15.7 ppg and 3.0 apg on a team that also features Spurs forward Aron Baynes, Saint Mary's pride-and-joy Matthew Dellavadova (ok, so maybe Patty Mills is Saint Mary's true pride-and-joy...but, nonetheless...), and Dante Exum, who holds an important key into the Utah Jazz's future. He has stepped up his game as Australia misses valuable production from the likes of Andrew Bogut and the aforementioned Mills. He has had a couple of Summer League stints with the Golden State Warriors, during the summers of 2009 and 2010. Maybe that's not experience in which to invest valuable stock, given the time elapsed and watered-down competition level of the Summer League. Nevertheless, his current play in the FIBA World Cup may be sufficient evidence worth considering as a potential part of the Grizzlies' portfolio for the upcoming season.
Is he worth it, Mr. Pera? What do you think, Mr. Wallace? Better yet, Coach Joerger, do you want Ingles in your rotation? One thing should be considered: if Gasol wants Ingles...and Gasol is a free agent after this season...then it shouldn't matter whether Gasol's request is phrased in Spanish or English...the roster and rotation just might need to include some form of Ingles. Otherwise, this could potentially become a sticking point that forces extension negotiations with Gasol to become lost in translation.
And if Ingles does join the fold, this is a glimpse of what Grizzlies' fans can look forward to watching over the course of next season...
2014-15 Schedule OverviewWarning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Memphis Grizzlies have waived guard Jamaal Franklin using the stretch provision, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery. Franklin just completed his rookie season, and he was on a minimum salary for the next two years, with the final year fully unguaranteed. The NBA wasn't thinking about moves like this when it implemented the stretch provision.
This is a pretty strange move given the circumstances. The No. 41 pick in the 2013 draft is one of the Grizzlies' few young prospects, and now they're giving up on him rather quickly. Franklin only played in 21 games last season, and many of those appearances were in garbage time.
This has no real impact on Memphis financially, but it will open up a roster spot. Perhaps the Grizzlies have their eyes on a particular free agent.
Yesterday, along with the rest of the league, the Grizzlies announced the 2014-15 regular season schedule, and those of us who have been mostly pretending basketball doesn't exist the last couple weeks (no, of course I'm not talking about myself) were forced to admit that basketball is really right around the corner.
Last year's schedule certainly had its oddities: the Grizzlies had most of their back-to-backs after the All Star break, they had the same four-game November West Coast road trip they always have (except this time they went 4-0), and in a weird twist, they were locked in a three-way battle with the Mavericks and Suns for the last two playoff spots and had to (essentially) play a round-robin tournament against them to end the season.
This year's edition also has a few features ("features") worth noting:
• The NBA is experimenting with having a week-long All Star break this year, which I think is a great idea. As a result, the shortest break any team has in February is 8 days. The Grizzlies, however, somehow managed to have a ten-day gap between playing the Thunder on 2/11 and the Blazers on 2/22—which will undoubtedly be some much-needed rest (assuming that no Grizzlies are on the All Star team, which is usually a safe assumption regardless of whether anyone on the team deserves to be).
• The Grizzlies are playing one regular season game on ESPN. One. They have six on NBATV. But they have one (1) (uno) (eins) regular season game on ESPN. Great job promoting a small-market team that's made the playoffs four seasons in a row, league. I guess people would rather watch the Lakers (who have 20 nationally-televised games), who will probably be terrible this year, but that just proves something we already knew: people are dumb. Also galling is the fact that the ESPN game is (1) at OKC, not a home game and (2) in November, so late in the season when the team is rounding into playoff form (we hope) that national basic-cable audience will have no idea what they look like. I think it represents a massive failure of league marketing strategy not to promote their best teams no matter what market they're in. The NFL does a much better job of this.
• Presumably because of the long All Star break, the Grizzlies are playing 20 back-to-backs this season. That seems like a lot, especially when you consider that only five of them happen before January 1 and only 2 in April, meaning January, February, and March—always the "dog days" of the NBA schedule anyway—are going to be even more of a grind. I really hope the league is considering reducing the number of regular season games. Even taking it down to 70 or 75 would provide some relief from this craziness; 82 is just too many. "Because we've always had to play back-to-backs" just isn't a good enough reason to keep doing it. I'd be totally in favor of a 65-game NBA regular season with no back-to-backs at all.
• Also worth noting is a phenomenon that has popped up all over the NBA in this schedule: April 3 and 4th is rare home-home back-to-back, two home games in two nights against OKC and the Wizards. That ought to be fun.
• At the end of the season media availability back in May (or April? I had a newborn at the time, so I honestly couldn't tell you when that actually happened) coach Dave Joerger and the players all expressed the same sentiment: the Grizzlies' poor start to the season was a big reason they ended up having to play the Thunder as a seven seed instead of being a four, five, or six seed. This schedule, especially the November chunk, should lend itself rather nicely to a good start: only one back to back; road games in Charlotte, Milwaukee, L.A. against the Lakers, and Sacramento; home games against the Lakers, Pistons, and Celtics (and Clippers, which should be fun). Before that, the Grizzlies' two games in October are against the Wolves and Pacers. They should be in pretty good shape going into December, which starts to get a little tougher, including two games against the Spurs. But the November schedule looks like it should be kind to the Grizzlies and let them build some momentum early.
• No matter what, the Grizzlies have to do one thing better than they did last year: the Griz were a miserable 4-12 in the Southwest division, the same divisional record as the last-place Pelicans. The Spurs and Mavericks gave the Griz all kinds of problems, and so did the injury-plagued Pelicans, who can use Anthony Davis to blow up everything the Grizzlies' offense tries to do within 15 feet of the basket. Houston was a bit of an easier out, due to stylistic mismatches, but the problem remains: if the Grizzlies can't do better against the teams they play the most often, they're not going to get the playoff seeding they want. They had the worst divisional record of any playoff team last year (Charlotte was next-to-last at 6-10) and the next-to-worst divisional record of a Western Conference playoff team was Dallas at 9-7. The only team in the league with a worse divisional record than the Grizzlies (five teams finished 4-12) were the Sacramento Kings at 3-13. That has to change, period, or the Griz are going to be in trouble at the end of the year.
Overall, it's a schedule that seems pretty fair. We'll have to wait and see how standings shake out to know whether March and April are going to be problematic in terms of the toughness of the Grizzlies' opponents, but I think that's okay. The Grizzlies' challenge is now ahead of them. Fewer than two months to (preseason) basketball—ready or not.
It will be an interesting season, nevertheless. The front office still thinks this core is capable of winning a championship, which is why they decided to re-sign Zbo, replace Miller with VC and retain everyone else from the roster. A lot of things have to go right in order for this team to even come close to an NBA Finals berth this year, let alone winning a championship.. Here's my list of things:
- A healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. If these guys are not healthy and playing some high level basketball, any chance of winning a title goes out the door. The positive is that Marc looks to be in the best shape of his life (contract year) and this could be a good sign for the team heading into the season
- Coaching. Joerger will have his rookie season behind him and hopefully, he can continue to improve. The experiment last season of trying to run n gun with a slow team was a failure. Most of the additions added in the off-season are not considered to be big time athletes, so I'm thinking he will continue more of a half court style of play.
- Better offense. Stop pounding the ball inside to Zbo, which results in inefficient possessions. Shoot the ball when open. Make smart passes. Stop waiting til 5 seconds left on the shot clock to take a shot. The Grizz DO have shooters and guys capable of creating now. No excuse to continue to run iso's for Zbo.
- Continue to play elite level defense. This should not be an issue. I see the team easily being in the top 10 in defensive efficiency next season.
- Either find a way to get rid of Prince or change his role to being a sparingly used stretch 4 off the bench. Prince should see NO minutes with both Zbo and Gasol on the floor. I would prefer to play him in that Lamar Odom role off the bench as Zbo's backup, if anything. Honestly, I would rather him not play at all and allow Stokes and/or Leuer to get PT. Knowing how Joerger likes to dedicate himself to the vets, I'm sure Prince will probably start AGAIN.
- Improvement in the younger players. Guys like Pondexter, Leuer, Calathes should all improve somewhat (or at least that's what I'm hoping). Having that type of internal improvement from your younger guys can boast well come playoff time.
Overall, I see the team finishing somewhere around 4th or 5th in the West. About 54-56 wins IF HEALTHY. I do see them making it to the 2nd round at the very least.Edited by bhzmafia14 - 9/4/14 at 8:54am