2009-10 Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview
It was another bad season for the Memphis Grizzlies (24- 58). Why is this franchise always rebuilding or in the dumper? The problem is management. Unwilling to spend cash, they constantly rid themselves of potential franchise players like Pau Gasol of the championship LA Lakers. Right now the Grizzlies have some quality young guys. Last season the team was lackadaisical on offense but fairly solid on defense. That was partly because coach Marc Iavaroni emphasized that aspect of the game. That is until he was fired and replaced by assistant Lionel Hollins. The “D” stopped threes and rebounded at a decent rate. But the team could not stop two-pointers, ranking 28th in the league in that category. On offense, their below average performance cost them about 11 wins. In the front office, GM Chris Wallace kept his job title but lost his power to owner Michael Heisley.
In terms of defense and scoring, the guys in the frontcourt look solid. Center Marc Gasol (11.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.7 APG) averaged 1.10 BGP and hit 53% of his shots from the field. Those are sound numbers. Small forward Rudy Gay (18.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.7 APG) averaged 1.24 SPG and power forward Zach Randolph (20.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.1 APG) made 0.86 SPG. Center Hasheem Thabet averaged 4.22 BPG for the Connecticut Huskies last season. It’s hoped that he can bring some of that athleticism and skill to his pro game.
The starting guards are both fine defensive players. Point man Mike Conley (10.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.3 APG) had 1.10 SPG and shooting guard O.J. Mayo (18.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.2 APG) was good for 1.11 SPG. Conley and Mayo both hit 44% of their shots from the field. The backups are Allen Iverson, Marko Jaric and Marcus Williams. Iverson is still a good shooter but his work ethic and attitude is poisonous.
The best aspect of this team is the frontcourt depth. Memphis has a lot of combos that they can put on the court for specific situations. In terms of skills and specialties, the guys in the front have just about all you can want. The major problem for this team is the play of the wings. The Grizzlies don’t have quality starters and that will sink them this season.
An upgraded offense will help the club and the young talent should continue to improve. It would be great if this team learned to pass. It would be a big help if there were more depth in the wing area. But most important, it would be the fulfillment of a massive dream if management were less dysfunctional. They have been shortsighted, ineffective and overall too frugal. A turnaround in the front office will benefit this team within a year or so. The Grizzlies will have a better year than they have in a while, but they won’t be good enough to garner a playoff berth. They will finish last in the division and in the bottom third of the conference.