The Grizzlies made some surprising moves this offseason when they brought in Allen Iverson and Zach Randolph, two notoriously isolated and inaccessible teammates.
This to me suggests a “win now” attitude, but it also reeks of desperation.
However, that being said, the composition of this team just might be crazy enough to work.
The Grizzlies are unquestionably a more talented team this year and have a six-man rotation that is as capable on paper as just about any in the league.
They have the potential to be near the top in scoring average, but the questions surrounding their defense and their depth remain.
O.J. Mayo is well on his way to being a superstar at the two spot. His numbers as a rookie rivaled those of Dwyane Wade, Ben Gordon, Ray Allen and Brandon Roy. Pretty decent company to say the least.
Rudy Gay has already proven himself a top flight wing player, and has been the team's best player since being selected in the draft.
Zach Randolph is a question mark, but if he displays any sort of commitment and fortitude, has the potential to be a top 10 power forward capable of putting up 20 and 10.
Iverson is one of the most gifted basketball players to ever walk this earth, but he tends to be an offensive black hole.
If he can avoid using half of the shot clock on every possession, and if he can take that chip on his shoulder and use it to lift up his teammates, this could be a good fit.
Mike Conley has had ups and downs since his rookie season in ’07, but he has the makings of an All-Star point guard.
Once Lowry was traded to Houston last year, and Conley was reinserted into the starting lineup, he averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 assists per game.
His scoring output might take a hit this year, but you should see improvements in his assist numbers with the scoring threats surrounding him.
Marc Gasol trained vigorously over the summer to shed 25–30 pounds to improve his agility, which was the biggest knock on him last year. He is set up to have a breakout season.
The selection of Hasheem Thabeet at number two in the draft this year certainly came as a surprise to some, with Gasol having already established himself in the paint.
However, Thabeet is a once in a lifetime defensive talent, and has more upside than perhaps anyone else in this draft. The Grizzlies were wise not to pass him up.
So far, in the preseason Thabeet has 10 blocks in six games, clearly demonstrating the shot-blocking ability that made him a top five pick. He will clearly make a shaky defensive team better.
If Lionel Hollins can work some magic on this team and get them to tame their egos and play as a team, the Grizzlies have the potential to push for that final playoff spot.
Assuming they can avoid utter implosion, they have all the talent to be a team to watch.