The following is my response to an article written by Dante' Robichaux.
I decided to post this as it's own seperate article because of how long of a response it is.
No offense, but I don't really like any of his scenarios. The one I dislike the most is throwing big time money at Lamar Odom. Dante's scenario involving Lamar Odom:
"Lamar Odom. Two words. Give him the great big contract. Draft Brandon Jennings early or Tyreke Evans late, with the teams first pick.
"Draft the best forward with the second first round pick (Hansbrough, Blair, Lawal, or Gibson. Trade away the second-round pick and get a veteran point guard mentor to make Conley a smarter player, and make a second free agency acquire in a need perimeter shooter.
"Kyle Korver, Michael Finley, and a possible convinced Allen Iverson for a MLE contract, if they draft good and already acquired a Lamar Odom or Al Harrington caliber player."
I hope you know Odom would be 30 by the beginning of the season, and he's also one of the most inconsistent players in the league. On top of that, he provides nothing the Grizzlies need. He's basically a notch below Rudy Gay on offense, but a better rebounder.
But like I said, very inconsistent. Expect a 25-14 game one night, and a 6-4 game the next. Lakers fans know what I'm talking about.
Dante's next idea centers around Paul Millsap:
"The aggressive power foward the Grizz need could be fulfilled in Millsap. He is a great offensive rebounder and solid contributor as a defender down low. He is only 6'8" but he plays bigger. If Memphis goes hard for him in free agency they can acquire him if they put the biggest offer on the table.
"Paul Millsap is a great fit, and lets them take the best guard in the draft not a forward or center. Not to put hopes down, but most likely they wont get Blake Griffin, which means they wont get the first pick. So I project drafting Demar DerRozan, Brandon Jennings or Stephen Curry could make this team playoff better, with the acquiring of a solid small foward to back up Rudy Gay and an veteran guard."
The Paul Millsap idea isn't bad, but I don't think he solves as many problems in the front court as you think he will. He's still not a great post scorer. He gets the majority of his points off of put-backs and playing the pick-and-roll with Deron Williams.
We'd be incredibly lucky to get Carlos Boozer, and if we had a shot in hell, the Grizzlies front office would throw top dollar at Boozer. He provides a great low post scorer, a double-digit rebounder, and he requires all eyes on him when he gets the ball down low. That will open up everything for Mayo, Gay, and Conley on the outside.
That's the best solution, and if we could land Boozer, you'd see a lineup of something like this...
PG - Conley
SG - Mayo
SF - Rudy
PF - Boozer
C - Thabeet
That would make drafting Thabeet the best possible scenario for the team because he wouldn't be relied on to score, just crash the boards and change shots on defense, which is what he excells at. That moves Marc Gasol to the bench, which immediately improves our front court off the bench. If we have Marc and Hakim, that's two guys who can both score, and Marc can play good defense and is an above average rebounder off the bench. Backcourt still needs some work, but there's still options. We could draft another player in the second round to develop, or we could sign some more role players via free agency.
Dante's next scenario revolves around Ben Gordon:
"Anything is possible. Ben Gordon could be a Memphis Grizzly. How? Memphis is going to have the most cap room, for one. Secondly he wants the money. He can play the one or two for the Grizz, and that means the two.
"Give him a three-year contract and watch them win. He wants in his home state but the Knicks fans have LEBRON written on their foreheads. And they already have Duhon and Hughes.
"Look at the Grizzlies drafting for some money and get Chase Budinger for a great shooter off the bench at the two or three. With their second pick they should snag up Hansbrough. A great team only thing missing would be to pick up a Glen Davis or ex-Grizzly Drew Gooden for a reasonable price. They both can become great players, even Gooden, whom I believe is underrated but averaged 24 minutes, 11 ppg. and seven rpg behind Tim Duncan."
My problem with the Ben Gordon scenario is that he's not as good as Dante seems to think he is. He's not going to turn the Grizzlies into a contender. Sure, he would be exceptional off the bench to provide that spark, but he's a very streaky shooter and at times can be tremendously one-dimensional. He could help us win five or so more games that we didn't win last year, but we need a bigger improvement and Ben Gordon wants too much money for what he's worth.
The next scenario involves Anderson Varejao:
"Lets not be cheap, GM Chris Wallace. 2009 is the year. No more waiting. Acquire stars behind star players.
"VAREJAO! He would fit in Memphis. He brings energy the fans have wanted since forever. He could start at the center position and make Marc play off the bench. When Marc does come in, Varejao could slide to the PF position because the 'not being cheap' GM will also seek 'Big Baby' Glen Davis or Charlie Villanueva to start at the power position.
So in the draft the Grizzlies save money, draft down, and get Tyreke Evans to create a three-guard rotation with Conley and Mayo and sell tickets because he already has fan base in the city. That's a good team, plus they have their second-round pick where they can grab a perimeter shooter and Gay backup in UNC's Danny Green."
I love Varejao and his energy, and I like the idea. I'm just hoping it's not the biggest deal the Grizzlies would pull off this summer. And like you said, he's going to want to get paid, and the Grizzlies don't need to throw big money at a defensive/hustle player who's inept on offense.
My favorite scenario besides the Boozer one is actually if we trade the number-two pick and Mike Conley to the Clippers for Baron Davis and the number-one pick. We get Blake Griffin, who immediately helps our front court, and then we get B-Diddy. A lot of people are probably weary of Davis after what he did in Los Angeles last season, but Baron has always thrived in a system that revolves around him.
People forget that Baron Davis had a bad first year and a half with the Golden State Warriors, but he bounced back in 2006 averaging 20 points, eight assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game. Not to mention how much he revitalized the Warriors team as a whole. That's a lineup of:
PG: Baron Davis
PF: Blake Griffin
C: Marc Gasol
Baron's contract eats a lot of cap, but we will shed more of that off during the next season and the year after that.
Nothing will change overnight, and it's foolish to think otherwise (not implying you were saying that). With the Boozer or Baron/Griffin moves, this team would be able to contend in two years. It would just take some more good free agent moves in the next off-season as well.
By writing this article, I had no intention of calling Dante out. I just enjoyed his piece on the Grizzlies and decided to reply to it. This is my first "article". Hopefully there will be many more.