Every mock draft I read described Kevin Love as being a perfect fit for the Memphis Grizzlies.
After basically giving away Pau Gasol last season to the Lakers, the Grizzlies went into the 2008 NBA Draft desperately needing some help in their front court. With the #5 pick, they seemingly got that help in UCLA's Kevin Love.
Memphis fans everywhere (well, somewhere) went to bed last night excited about the fact that they now have a big man to help strengthen a front-line that includes Hakim Warrick, Kwame Brown, and Darko Milicic.
Kevin could start right away and give the team an exciting starting five for the 2009 season: Mike Conley; Mike Miller; Rudy Gay; Hakim Warrick; Kevin Love. That is certainly a group of starters that may help get some butts in the seats next season in Memphis.
Needless to say that excitement turned to confusion Friday morning when Grizz fans woke up and read the sports page.
During the night, while fans dreamed about the future of this group, an 8 player trade with Minnesota went down that sent O.J. Mayo, forward Antoine Walker and guards Greg Buckner and Marko Jaric to Memphis for Kevin Love, shooter Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.
Somewhere Rudy Gay is shaking his head and repeatedly muttering a single word: why?
This was going to be Rudy’s year to take over the team. Management drafted a player that has played with bigger stars before and seemed to be perfectly fine with not being the No. 1 option. A solid, hard working kid to help battle down low and help Gay turn into the star he seems destined to become.
That all changed as soon as this trade was announced.
This team will obviously now become the O.J. Mayo show. O.J. is marketable and will help the Grizz sell tickets and make Sportscenter each night. Kevin Love does not carry the “star power” with him that O.J. brings with him.
Rudy Gay has all of the makings to be a star, but he is still developing and will need another year or two before he becomes a “household name”. O.J., for a number of reasons, is already there.
Don’t get me wrong, O.J. is a very talented youngster that easily could be a star in the NBA. He should step right in and take the place of the departed Mike Miller. O.J. and Rudy could turn into one of the strongest 1-2 punches in the league.
The duo should go a long way in helping Mike Conley grow into a very solid PG.
The Memphis backcourt is now set for years. On the flip-side, with Warrick, Milicic, Kwame Brown, Antoine Walker, and rookie Donte Green…their frontcourt could use a few upgrades.
While I don’t “Love” this trade for the Grizzlies, the Gay/Mayo combination should be an exciting one to watch!