Memphis Media Circus Starring The Memphis Grizzlies

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Memphis Media Circus Starring The Memphis Grizzlies
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The Memphis Grizzlies have racked up an impressive 1-7 record already in the 2009 campaign.  Does this record surprise you?  Well it surprises me as I thought they would be pressing if not surpassing the .500 mark at this point.  I was thinking they would be surprising other teams, not me! 

 

So why are they off to such an impressive start?  Well let’s look at a couple of key decisions beginning with the off-season.  There was this guy last year I think they call him the sixth man off the bench named Hakim Warrick who averaged over 11 points a game off the bench each of the last three years and played in 239 of 246 games over the last three seasons with the Grizzlies

 

This guy added energy to a game every time he stepped on the court.  The crowd would feed on his entry into the game.  Well he is not a Grizzly this year but was traded to Milwaukee to make room for the sixth man on this year’s team, uh, Allen Iverson who is no longer with the team.  Well it was probably a good trade right?  Warrick is, well averaging more total rebounds, offensive rebounds, assists per game, more points per game and fewer fouls per game than last year.  Okay maybe that one did not pan out so well.

 

Well they had a very high draft choice this year so they did improve there, right?  A friend of mine was thinking about not renewing his high priced seat this year and received a call from owner Michael Heisley who promised him that they would put a competitive team on the floor.  My friend suggested they address the position of point guard but Heisley while not coming out and saying it, told him they thought more of Hasheem Thabeet, leaving the possibility of bringing Ricky Rubio to Memphis just a distant dream. 

 

Now it was widely publicized that Ricky did not want to play in Memphis but he had to be drafted in the first three picks to have enough money to buy his way out of his current contract.  So what would have happened if Rubio had come to Memphis?  Well Lionel Hollins would have had to make a choice but that choice was already made in the off-season. 

 

Mike Conley was his guy!  No matter what, it was going to be Mike.  So Thabeet became a Grizzly on draft night and he is averaging a blazing 6.8 minutes a game, 1.8 rebounds per game, 2 personal fouls per game (that would mean that he fouls out in less than 20 minutes of playing time) and a wonderful .7 points per game.  Yes Thabeet over Rubio was another great decision. 

 

So what happened to Warrick?  He was let go to provide room to sign another point guard in Allen Iverson.  Well Michael Heisley thought this move would put some fans in seats, so after they signed him the season ticket sales did go up, but AI was injured in the pre-season.  Finally among all of the hype AI made his debut as a Grizzly as the sixth man.  

 

It did not take him long to complain though as the media found out and reported that after that first game he was complaining out loud among his teammates that he was no bench player, no reserve and certainly his skills were worthy of starting.  Immediately everyone started all over again that he was a cancer to a team.  That he should not be allowed to spread his ill will on the younger players. 

 

While I don’t think he deserved to start in any of the first three games, he has proved himself over many years as a formidable player in the NBA.  He is playing with a team that is not winning.  Hollins has hitched his wagon to the Conley wagon train not only while heading west, but for the season it would seem.  Conley finished the year 46th in assists last year, are there 46 teams in the NBA?  He is also averaging a powerful 9.7 points over almost 32 minutes per game this season. 

 

So does Iverson actually have a beef here?  This writer says give him 10 games with the first team and see what he can do.  Hey if he wants the ball, give it to him and let him sink or swim.  A team that is 1-7 has nothing to lose and everything to gain.  AI is a big boy so let him prove himself here in the Forum. He has opened his mouth now give him the chance to back it up. 

 

The real losers in this media circus are Marc Gasol, OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay and a guy named Zach Randolph.  Has anyone noticed that Gasol is playing like a mad man in the middle averaging over 15 points and 12 boards a game?  Randolph at over 20 points a game and 11 boards?  OJ is averaging 18 points per game, 5 boards, over 3 assists and under 2 turnovers a game?  Who is that other guy on the team, oh yea Rudy Gay at 22 points a game, 7 boards and just over 1 turnover per game? 

 

These guys are playing their hearts out every night at home or on the road.  The contribution of these men is being overlooked because of the media circus around Heisley, Hollins and AI.  These young players deserve better than they are getting.  They have the potential of being a better than average team and with a smoother NBA world to work in who knows what the limit might be. 

 

Memphis may not be the largest market to play NBA basketball in but start winning and watch the world tune in to Grizzly basketball.  Hard work and putting the best players on the court make winning teams.  I want the guys on the court that are willing to lay it all on the line and play hard every second they are in the game. 

 

Does do I think that AI is right?  I think his complaining out loud is a sign of selfishness and improper on every level.  I also believe that he is a better player right now than Mike Conley.  AI was out playing Conley to this point and his play would have pressured Hollins into starting him.  A successful coach will always play the guys that win, that is how he is successful. 

 

Where do we go from here?  Perhaps Michael Heisley should step back and let a guy named Chris Wallace do his job.  I believe that Wallace, given the chance without interference could produce a winner in the FedEx Forum. 

 

AI needs to live up to the agreement he signed, learn a work ethic from the young guys on this team and play each night like it is his last game.  He agreed to play the game of basketball for the 2009-2010 season for a large sum of money and he should be a man and live up to this.  I have seen the whole “I am going to take my ball and go home routine” before and it does not impress me at all.  AI stop running your mouth and start playing the game, if you love this game so much then prove it.  Let your skills prove your worth. 

 

Then again, I could be wrong!

 

 

 

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