Memphis Grizzlies: The Hasheem Thabeet Experiment is Finally Over

Tyler WardAnalyst IFebruary 24, 2011

PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 25:  Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 25, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 126-111.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the Grizzlies' deadline deal on Thursday, they were able to ship out center Hasheem Thabeet and a future first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for forward and long-time Grizzlies fan favorite, Shane Battier.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm ecstatic to see Thabeet get his 7'3" body out of Memphis.

This deal definitely works out for the Grizzlies.

When I look at the trade as a Grizzlies fan, Thabeet was just a sweetener. The headliners of the deal are the first-round pick and, of course, Battier.

Chosen second overall in the 2009 draft, Thabeet has done nothing but show us that he is one of the biggest busts of all time. He will never be a prominent big man that will go out there and give you 35-plus minutes per game along with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

I often wonder why the Grizzlies chose Thabeet, especially when they could have drafted players like Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, and even Tyreke Evans (who played collegiately here in Memphis).

Owner Michael Heisley and general manager Chris Wallace clashed over the selection, as Heisley wanted Thabeet and Wallace wanted Curry.

But, in the end, the owner gets to make the decision and, thus, Thabeet became a Grizzly.

Since his selection, he has been a waste of space. Nothing more.

Thabeet was a good collegiate player at Connecticut and was immediately thought to be a top-five selection. Though he was a highly-decorated player, the Tanzanian hadn't played much basketball before arriving at Connecticut.

So, why choose a player that has little to no experience playing basketball, when most players in the draft have been playing for their entire lives?

Picking Thabeet made no sense.

Thabeet's rookie season was filled with controversy for the Grizzlies' organization.

In late February of last year, the Grizzlies announced that they had sent Thabeet down to the NBA Developmental League. With the move, Thabeet became the highest drafted player to be sent down, which meant he surpassed Martell Webster, who was chosen sixth overall by the Blazers in the 2005 draft.

However, Thabeet played really well in the NBDL. He made players look like little children in the six games he played in.

He started four of those games and averaged 13.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game for the Dakota Wizards.

Thabeet played in 68 games during his rookie season, while starting only 13 of those. After playing roughly 13 minutes per game, the center averaged 3.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.

Many thought Thabeet could only get better in his second season.

But, somehow, he and his stats got worse.

Prior to the season, the Grizzlies announced that they had picked up the option on Thabeet, which required the team to pay Thabeet roughly $5.1 million next season.

Why on earth would you sign a guy like that to an extension?

Thabeet showed in his rookie season that he was worth nowhere close to $5 million. If anything, he's been worth about one-fifth of that.

Moving on, I went to the Grizzlies' opening game against the Atlanta Hawks this season, when the Grizzlies lost the game.  Guess who was an integral part of that loss? Thabeet.

In my seat, my eyes were completely on Thabeet when he was on the court. He was absolutely horrible. He honestly looked like he had no idea what he was doing.

When head coach Lionel Hollins would put Thabeet in the game, the fans, including myself, would all stand up and boo. When Hollins took him out, everyone in the stadium cheered as if the Grizzlies had just won the championship.

Not to mention, every time he got taken out, Hollins immediately waltzed over to him, sternly talked to him, and told him what he did wrong.

After that game, no one had confidence in Thabeet. Well, actually, there was one person. And that was owner Michael Heisley, the most important one. Everyone else seemed to hate Thabeet.

He had struggled mightily throughout the entire season, with his stats somehow declined.

Thabeet played in 45 games for the Grizzlies this season, starting zero of those. Playing roughly eight minutes per game, Thabeet averaged 1.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, and .3 blocks per game.

Those stats aren't worthy of a second overall selection.

In his time in Memphis, Thabeet brought absolutely nothing to the table. He was consistently the worst player on the court (unless Hamed Haddadi was on the court, too).

As a Grizzlies fan, I am ecstatic to see the back of Thabeet. This is one of the best moves in Grizzlies franchise history.

Did I mention that the Grizzlies get Shane Battier in return? That makes the deal so much better.

Battier was a long-time fan favorite here in Memphis, especially in the community. He has done so much for the city of Memphis, and I am so excited to see him don a Grizzlies uniform once again.

The Hasheem Thabeet experiment is finally over. And I think I can speak for the entire city of Memphis when I say "thank you" to the Grizzlies organization.