Last season, the Memphis Grizzlies had a devastating Achilles' heel, their defense. The team had the potential star scorers with Gay, Mayo, and possibly Conley, but their lackluster and inconsistent defense made the team lose games that should not have been lost.
The front office’s focus going into the offseason was improving the defense that gave them so many headaches last season.
When Lady Luck finally gave the Grizzlies a break in the draft by giving them the No. 2 pick, the management weighed its options and decided to go with University of Connecticut’s defensive anchor, Hasheem Thabeet.
To most draft experts, there were players available that were much more polished than Thabeet and could make an impact much more quickly than Thabeet could, but there was no player in this draft class that could lead the defense the way Thabeet potentially can.
Personally, I am not a fan of the pick, but I can see where the team’s decision comes from.
As the draft went on, two more players primarily known for their defense were drafted in DeMarre Carroll with the No. 27 pick and Sam Young with the No. 36 pick.
In the press conference introducing the team’s new rookies, general manager Chris Wallace mentioned repeatedly that the team’s biggest need was defense and the players drafted did just that.
After all the commotion of the draft was settled, it was time to begin free agent signings and off-season trades.
The topic of the off-season was improving the defense and building the team around the young players like Mayo, Gay, and Conley. After all that talk, whom does the team go and get? Zach Randolph.
Zach Randolph is a talented power forward that can score in the post, but has been made infamous for DUIs and even punching a teammate.
There is no denying Randolph’s talent; he is one of the few players in the league that can average over 20 points and 10 rebounds, but Randolph plays for himself.
Throughout his career, the media has given Randolph the nickname “The Black Hole” because when he gets the ball passed to, it is not coming back. Along with being known as one of the biggest ball hogs in the league, Randolph is lazy on the defensive end and is known to get a long very poorly with teammates. Randolph made news when he played in Portland and punched his teammate, Ruben Patterson, during practice.
The Grizzlies have enough troublesome egos as it is with OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay, but adding Randolph would mean even less ball movement and less leadership.
In Randolph’s press conference, he said he was ready to "begin a new chapter,” but wasn't he also supposed to start “a new chapter” when he was traded to the Knicks and the Clippers? I am not buying it yet.
The Grizzlies finally get the low-post scorer they have needed since dealing Pau Gasol, but at what cost?
When the tides were set concerning the Zach Randolph deal, there was yet another rumor surrounding a possible player the Grizzlies may have interest in. That player was Allen Iverson.
Iverson is a future Hall of Famer, but he is well past his prime. He cannot get to the rim with the same ease he could a few years back and, as always, Iverson is a gambling defender.
He gets good defensive numbers by intercepting passes in the lane and constantly going for steals, but at the same time, he lets the player he is guarding go for career highs.
Iverson can still do two things as well as anyone and those are selling jerseys and destroying locker rooms. According to Yahoo! Sports, Iverson has the third most popular jersey in the NBA this decade only behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Iverson also has one of the largest fan bases in the NBA.
There is a marketing factor to Iverson’s possible signing, but how about the team factor?
Iverson was one of the main reasons many considered the Denver Nuggets one of the most underachieving team in recent memory and almost single-handedly destroyed the Pistons (well, Curry helped as well).
Whether or not Iverson signs with Memphis, I think it was a mistake to even consider bringing him in.
This is one of the busier offseasons in recent memory for a team that is usually quiet around this time, but this offseason has kept Grizzlies fans scratching their heads at the trades and rumors the front office are considering.