I will admit before continuing, that I am not the biggest NBA fan in the world. I am more of what I call a “binge” NBA fan. There are times throughout the season I typically don’t tune in, while there are other times I watch intently for weeks upon weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of Basketball; always have.
So when I decided to sit down and write an article for the NBA community (specifically for the Memphis portion) I realized that I am either going to fall flat on my face, or have a bit of success; either way it will be fun.
I chose Memphis for a two reasons.
1. I was fortunate enough to actually get to watch a lot of Grizzlies’ games last year despite living in New Jersey, and I often found myself thinking: “If there were just a few more tweaks and pieces, this team would be deadly.”
2. And of course, the acquisition of A.I.
As mentioned before, I am probably not the best NBA writer in the community…yet; but that isn’t any reason to not write about a sport I do have an interest in. So here you are Memphis fans, my uneducated look at your upcoming season.
The Past vs. The Future:
What is the one thing we think of when we envision Allen Iverson? Points, assists, an electrifying presence on the court, and a motor that just won’t quit.
Now, what do we think of when one looks at what the Grizzlies missed a year ago or tried their best to do without last year?
Do you pretty much get the same answer?
Last year, the Grizzlies averaged just under 94 points a game—as a team; their lead scorer being Rudy Gay. In addition, aside from O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley, nobody on the team averaged above two assists per game or over 19 PPG.
Rudy Gay is explosive, and a natural talent, but he alone couldn’t carry this team as well as be the prime leader; he’s a couple of years away from that. With the addition of a caliber mentor in Iverson, the ceiling is very high for him to one day achieve that rank.
Mayo at times showed why Memphis drafted him, and at times showed his rookie status so; again, think about what Iverson can bring to the table for him in regard to learning and helping Mayo to realize his potential.
The league thrives on assists just as much as scoring, and the Grizzlies just added one of the best in the business in both departments on top of all that.
So, like I envisioned, imagine the Grizzlies with an upgrade in assists and points—much different looking team, aren’t they?
The Grizzlies don’t have it easy playing in a division that also houses San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans, but these same teams are all using the same philosophy: spread the love and score the points. Now that the Grizzlies are finally on board, you have to admit there is nowhere to go but up.
The A.I Effect:
10 time All-Star, one time league MVP, and over 23,000 career points; this guy is going to have an effect on this team.
I was fortunate enough to watch him throughout his entire career when he was in Philly; he’s explosive and still one of the elite guards in the league.
The big knock on Iverson was that he lost his step; he isn’t what he used to be. But this isn’t entirely true.
Denver offered him a great opportunity for scoring, but little defensive support. The other thing that interfered with Iverson was too many cooks in the kitchen and the cooks being very mismanaged.
Then along came Detroit.
Detroit had a world of problems before Iverson got there, and it was a bad idea from the start. Detroit shares the ball a little bit too much, which doesn’t afford anyone to truly step up every night. In addition, the team was so dysfunctional I couldn’t imagine anyone being able to survive there.
Enter in Memphis, a very young, talented team ready to burst onto the scene.
Nearly everyone on the team will benefit from the veteran guard’s experience; just think of what he can mold Mayo into.
The thing is though, when you have a situation like that, you’re bound for better days.
I am not saying the Grizzlies will go from rags to riches in one season, but there will be noticeable improvement for this team.
For Iverson, this time around is personal.
Iverson feels as if this is his rookie season all over again; he’s heard all the talk about retirement and perhaps being washed up, and he has read all the critics and their not so friendly viewpoint of Iverson as a player.
This is all fuel for the fire, my friends.
So long as Iverson can channel that emotion into his game and his teammates, which I think he will, Iverson is ready to make a comeback of epic proportions.
Like I said, I thought this team needed tweaks and pieces last year; they got both in one player.