2008-2009 Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview
2008 Memphis Grizzlies preview from the Maddux Sports experts. In addition to the free previews Maddux also provides FREE NBA DAILY PICKS.
As it was last season, this year the Memphis Grizzlies (22- 60) will be the only club in the Southwest that won’t make the playoffs. Why have the Grizzlies been so bad for so long? The answer is simple—ownership. At this point, the team is in a no-win situation. They are restricted from moving again and, yet, they are unable to draw anywhere what they need in order to make their nut. Last season, after posting a 13-33 record in the first half, they started to cut expenses by sending star Pau Gasol to the Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, the rights to Marc Gasol and two first-round picks. Although they sent their star power packing, the deal gave the team some depth.
Memphis was ranked 21st overall on offensive efficiency. They did hit 49.2% of their twos, which made them ninth overall in the NBA. But turnovers and putting up too many threes really hurt the team. Their passing was bad and often nonexistent. Just 51.4% of their baskets included an assist. After Gasol was traded, the offensive efficiency slumped to 27th. The club’s defense was rankled 28th as the Grizzlies allowed too many lay-ups. They were 29th when it came to steals.
Talented guard and point producer O.J. Mayo joins the club as a rookie. His summer league performance was topnotch. Rookie forward Darrell Arthur looked tough under the boards this summer, while rookie Marc Gasol, at center, could help beef up the club’s inside game. Forward Antoine Walker has been added; perhaps he can improve the team’s three-point accuracy.
In his second year, guard Rudy Gay put up 20.1 PPG and took down 6.2 RPG. Forward and third-year player Hakim Warrick hit 50% of his twos, notching 11.4 PPG. There’s hope that free agent center Marc Gasol can be a difference-maker but he’s still an unknown. Swingman Darko Milicic offers some decent backup and inside man Antoine Walker brings shooting capability.
It’s hoped that guard O.J. Mayo, a rookie, will be solid at the point. Rookie Mayo has an array of talents that should allow him to be successful.Guard Mike Conley, who enters his second year, is good for just 9.4 PPG. He needs to score more. The vets on the Grizzlies simply want to win. Six-year vet Marko Jaric offers sage judgement and advice. Point guard Kyle Lowry had 9.6 PPG, 3.6 APG and 3.0 RPG. That’s decent output when playing 25.5 MPG. Second-year guard Javaris Crittenton offered some minutes last season.
The Grizzlies lack a solid inside game, but they do possess two talented, young guards and a developing wing in Gay. There’s speed and athleticism on this team. It will certainly take them some time to get their act together. Expect the club to finish in last-place in the Southwest Division and somewhere near the bottom of the conference. If they can make a few moves, two or three, during the next few years, they’ll be one of the best teams in the NBA.