Category Archives: Memphis Grizzlies

Screw The Odds, Which Team Needs/Deserves To Win The NBA Lottery?

Because it lacks the transparency that would dismiss most rumors of it being rigged, there are boundless conspiracy theories associated with the NBA Draft lottery selection.

Tonight’s selection, for a number of reasons, is the same way.

Wall will most likely learn where he will be drafted tonight.

First, there are a number of franchises who have seen their attendance and, as a result, revenue, drop steadily for a long period of time. A top two pick in this year’s draft could be the most important step in stopping that trend for that particular team.

Second, it could have major implications on this year’s draft. Most mock drafts have John Wall going first in the draft. Wall is an electric playmaker who looks like he is destined to be a premier point guard in the league for years to come. Many mock drafts have DeMarcus Cousins, Wall’s teammate at Kentucky, going No. 4. Cousins has been described as an immature, unathletic big man.

The difference in this year’s draft between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks — most likely Wall and Ohio State’s Evan Turner — and No. 3 and No. 4 — projected by multiple mock drafts to be Georgia Tech forward Derrick Favors and Cousins — is enormous.

With that in mind, let’s rank the lottery teams 1-14 in reverse order for who needs to get one of the top-two picks in tonight’s lottery. The tiebreaker in this exercise will be the team who deserves to win.

Let’s get to it… Continue reading

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Hasheem Thabeet’s journey into the depths of the D-League

Thabeet will get plenty of run in the D-League. (Pic via hoopshype.com)

Hasheem Thabeet started playing basketball competitively just seven short years ago. Even after three seasons at UConn filled with improvement, his game clearly had holes.

Thabeet will could spend the remainder of the season toiling in small cities around the country trying to make himself into a NBA player.

The highest pick ever to be sent to the D-League, (a distinction he will most likely hold forever) Thabeet averaged just over two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes per game for the Grizzlies. He fell out of the rotation weeks before the Grizz made the call to send him to the Dakota Wizards.

Thabeet appears poised to dominate the D-League, averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, and nearly four blocks in three games with the Wizards while shooting an astounding 68 percent.

Thabeet needs to play, but ultimately he needs to improve.

With few needs on the perimeter and Ricky Rubio not wanting any part of Memphis, the Grizzlies had little choice but to select Thabeet once they were unable to move the pick. The franchise envisioned the 7’3″ Tanzanian native as Marc Gasol’s defensive alter-ego, blocking shots and rebounding while freeing up the rest of the frontline to do what it does best: score.

Thabeet got stronger and more coordinated during his college years and developed a hook shot so that he no longer relied solely on dunks to get his points. But in an era with few (almost none) true big men, Thabeet faced little competition. He struggled against the nation’s best big man, Pitt’s DeJuan Blair, despite having a huge height advantage. Blair provided the blueprint to scoring against Thabeet; ram your giant sweaty rear into his body and knock him off-balance. Welcome to life in the NBA.

Thabeet’s fragile confidence will certainly get a boost as he swats shots into rows of empty seats in the D-League. Whether or not his game will improve measurably remains to be seen.

This is LeBron swatting O.J. Mayo

Remember when OJ was supposed to be the next LeBron?

Stay tuned for some actual posts later this evening, touching on all sorts of topics, including National Signing Day in CFB.  I’ll have a breakdown of how the Big Ten did today–Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan landed top-10 caliber classes while Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa, and Northwestern landed some excellent prospects as well.  It was a good year for the Big Ten to say the least.

July 21 NBA News & Notes

Richardson was traded for the third time this summer, this time to the T-Wolves.

Richardson was traded for the third time this summer, this time to the Timberwolves.

Here are some recent news & notes you may have missed in what has been a very boring NBA offseason thus far:

Q-Rich to T-Wolves, Telfair to Clip Joint

Quentin Richardson has been traded – again. Shortly after acquiring Richardson from the Grizzlies in the Zach Randolph deal, the Clippers sent him to the Timberwolves in exchange for Craig Smith, Mark Madsen, and Sebastian Telfair.

This was another puzzling move between two of the dumbest franchises in the NBA. Telfair played well at times for the Wolves last seen and would have added depth. Ricky Rubio is still way out of the picture, leaving Minnesota with Jonny Flynn as the only point guard on the roster. The Clippers certainly didn’t need Richardson, but probably don’t need Telfair either. L.A. is in hot pursuit of Bucks guard Ramon Sessions and already has Baron Davis and his huge contract.

This trade would seem to signal the end of the Allen Iverson courtship, but you just never know with the Clippers.

Jarrett Jack heading to Canada

The Raptors offseason has been very impressive to say the least. The signing of Jarrett Jack to a four-year, $20 million deal is the latest solid move. Jack provides insurance behind the aging Jose Calderon, who battled injuries throughout last season. The former Georgia Tech point guard averaged a career-best 13.1 ppg for the Pacers last season.

Meanwhile, Larry Bird’s puzzling moves continued Monday. He signed Earl Watson as a replacement for Jack, adding to a dismal free agent class of Dahntay Jones and Josh McRoberts. Yuck.

Heat poised to add Boozer, Odom?

With Lamar Odom at odds with the Lakers, Miami appears ready to offer a five-year deal to the versatile forward. Financially, this move is a no-brainer, but it’s not that simple. Odom’s maturity (who would have thought) makes staying in L.A. to win another title his most desirable option. This could drag on for a few more weeks.

Carlos Boozer spoke highly of playing in Chicago last week, and now he is talking about how he would love to play in Miami. Boozer told the Miami Herald the Heat are his “Number one option.” He lives in Miami during the offseason and is close to Dwayne Wade. Boozer spent last week talking about how he would love to play in Chicago and seems ready to play just about anywhere – except Utah.

Misery in Memphis? Grizzlies appear to be A.I.’s only option

Allen Iverson might be seriously considering retirement. The Clippers aggressive pursuit of Ramon Sessions (sources say they are poised to offer a five-year, $34 million contract) suggests that talks with Iverson have stalled. Last week, ESPN reported the Clips wanted to speak with AI about coming off the bench before offering him a contract.

Miami would be a decent fit for AI, but is focused on signing Lamar Odom and working out a deal for Carlos Boozer. Iverson is merely an afterthought at this point.

That leaves Memphis as the one remaining team interesting in signing Iverson. The Grizz would likely offer Iverson the mid-level exception, meaning a one-year deal at around $5.6 million.

Latest NBA draft buzz

The Thunder will likely select Ricky Rubio or Stephen Curry

The Thunder will likely select Ricky Rubio or Stephen Curry

The NBA draft doesn’t come with the fanfare of the NFL draft, or feature coverage anchored by that fat slob Chris Berman. It’s also about 12 hours shorter and has fewer obnoxious fans booing every pick. Perhaps that’s why I actually enjoy watching it.

Tonight’s draft should be one of more interesting drafts in NBA history. The draft is exceptionally top-heavy, but even expected top-5 selections Ricky Rubio and Hasheem Thabeet come with huge questions.

Here are the latest rumors with the draft just hours away:

Rubio to the Thunder?

The latest talk has the Thunder sneakingly planning to take Ricky Rubio with the third pick. On the surface, this doesn’t make much sense, with Russell Westbrook already running the point. OKC has hired lawyers to help make sense of Rubio’s complicated buyout. Stephen Curry is another possibility here – his shooting would be a better fit given the slashing abilities of Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Jeff Green.

Grizzlies still hanging on to the No. 2 pick

Much as I predicted, Memphis still hasn’t managed to move the No. 2 pick despite fielding numerous offers. New York would love to move up, but Memphis is apparently asking for David Lee, Nate Robinson, and the Knicks No. 8 pick. Hasheem Thabeet, in my opinion one of the most overrated players in this draft, will likely end up with the Grizz. A trade is still a possibility in the last few hours leading up to the draft.

Harden, Holiday, Jennings dropping

The Thunder could still select Harden at No. 3, but it now seems he will fall behind Tyreke Evans. He could end up in Minnesota or even fall all the way to New York if the Warriors select Stephen Curry. There doesn’t seem to be a reason behind his fall in many mock drafts, so don’t count on him to slipping too far.

Holiday’s limited production during his one season in college coupled with average workouts has him dropping a bit. There is a real possibility he could land outside the top-10.

I have Jennings going to the Pacers at No. 13 in my mock draft, but that seems high given what I’ve read in the last couple days. After seeing the skinny youngster on the Jim Rome show yesterday, I wouldn’t want him on my team. Look for Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, and Eric Maynor to be selected ahead of Jennings.

Pacers targeting Blair

As a Bulls fan, I’m hopeful the Pacers take Blair at No. 13 so the Bulls can’t. Larry Bird reportedly loves Blair despite his lack of ACL’s and limited size. The Pacers really need a point guard, but Blair makes sense too. Don’t rule out Tyler Hansbrough here either – that would be a terrible pick.

Which teams are trying to move up?

The national media loves the idea of Boston moving up to No. 2 and selecting Rubio. That won’t happen. The Celtics are finding out Rajon Rondo isn’t an overly attractive player to other teams.

Portland already moved up but could look to get closer to the top to select a point guard. The Knicks are desperately trying to move out of the No. 8 slot, and could even trade down in the draft if targeted players are no longer available.

Phoenix could also be on the move, but any potential deal would most likely have to involve Amar’e Stoudemire.

TTT live blogging tonight’s draft

We will begin our live blog at 6 PM Eastern time and continue until we run out of things to discuss. Hope you check it out.

Mock Draft: Stephen Curry Goes To OKC, Flynn to Sac-Town, Thabeet To Minnesota

(First, I would like to invite you, the readers of TTT, to let us know your mock drafts in the comment section of this post.  If the draft seems like you took it seriously, we’ll gladly post them.  Who are we to discriminate?)

I think it’s safe to say that most serious sports fans think mock drafts are stupid.  At least that’s what I hope.  As we approach Thursday night’s NBA Draft, there are a bunch of question marks after the Clippers choose Blake Griffin.  Nobody really knows what the Grizzlies are going to do with the second pick.  Will they pick Thabeet or Rubio, both of whom don’t want any part of Memphis?  Or will they trade the pick, as multiple writers say they are desperately trying to do?

I have no idea what the Grizzlies will do because I don’t have access, but let’s assume they trade the pick to someone looking to take the second-best player in the draft.  That player is, well, let’s get to just get to the draft and go from there.

1)      LA Clippers – Blake Griffin, PF Oklahoma

Griffin is the best player in the draft and should team up nicely with Marcus Camby, Baron Davis and Eric Gordon to make the Clippers at least 6 wins better in the West.  Then again, the Clippers are such a pathetic franchise that they’ve allowed Mike Dunleavy to coach for seven years and even promoted him to the team’s GM.  The Clippers will likely be terrible for the foreseeable future, even though their talent base is impressive with the addition of Griffin at the top of this draft.

2)      Memphis Grizzlies – (trade to ???) – Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain

Like I said before, I don’t know who’s going to trade up to snatch up Thabeet or Rubio, but I don’t think the Grizzlies are dumb enough to go through the whole Steve Francis ordeal again.  In addition, the Grizzlies have a ton of time and money invested in their starting backcourt of Mike Conley and OJ Mayo.  It wouldn’t make much sense to draft Thabeet either because of Marc Gasol’s above-average play last season.

Look for the Grizzlies to trade down to either the Knicks (for the Knicks’ pick and David Lee), the Warriors (something with Monta Ellis) or another team looking for an All-Star point guard.  Whatever the scenario, I can’t see Rubio falling past this spot because of the importance of point guards in the NBA today.

(I just remembered that I read this morning that the Grizzlies are smitten with Tyreke Evans.  If the Grizz stay here, I think they’ll pick Evans because of his potential and where he attended a semester of college.)

3)      Oklahoma City Thunder – Stephen Curry, PG, Davidson

First off, Thabeet doesn’t make sense on the Thunder.  Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant want to run and Thabeet won’t let them do this.  If Rubio is available here, I think he’s clearly the pick because Westbrook and Rubio could share ball-handling responsibilities (as both have done in the past) and Rubio would give the Thunder a Suns-like advantage of four guys who can run the floor and create mis-matches for the opposing team.

I know that most mock drafts don’t have Curry this high, but I think he would make perfect sense for the Thunder if Rubio is off the board.  Curry could put Westbrook at the 2-guard and would give the Thunder floor spacing that would allow Durant and Westbrook to go one-on-one the entire game.  Durant, in my eyes, is going to evolve into an unstoppable player who simply needs teammates who compliment his skill set (like LeBron).  Curry, with pin-point shooting and the ability to drive and kick, does exactly this for Durant and the rest of the Thunder and would also allow Scotty Brooks to play up-tempo like the Suns.

The other player who would make sense here is Jonny Flynn, who gives the Thunder quality shooting and consistent penetration into the lane.

4)      Sacramento Kings – Jonny Flynn, G, Syracuse

The Kings have a pretty strong front line with Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson, but need help in their backcourt.  Flynn is reportedly high in the minds of the Kings and I think they a backcourt player to compliment Kevin Martin.  James Harden, Thabeet and Jordan Hill don’t do that for the Kings, but watch out for Tyreke Evans here if they don’t pick Flynn.

5)      Washington Wizards – James Harden, G, Arizona State

With this pick, the Wiz have to choose between Harden and Thabeet, which isn’t all that tough when you start to think about their style of play.  The thing that stands out about Thabeet, and all centers who are over 7’3”, is that there’s really only one style of play a team can emphasize.

In the Wizards’ case, they have Arenas, Jamison and Butler.  Those three players, especially Arenas, aren’t very good in the half-court.  All three love to take bad shots, drive to the hole and hoist threes.  Though he brings defense and rebounding, Thabeet will clog up the lane and wouldn’t really need to develop any post moves with all of the shooters on his team.  Quite simply, the two styles of play won’t mesh very well if Washington picks Thabeet and he’ll turn out to be a misfit in Washington.  That’s why I think the Wiz take Harden, who’s the second-best shooter in the draft, at this spot.

6)      Minnesota Timberwolves – Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn

Contrary to Washington, Thabeet would be excellent in Minnesota.  He would move Al Jefferson to power forward and they, along with Kevin Love, would create one of the best front lines in the league.  The T’Wolves are at least another year away from going .500 out West, but a front line of Love, Thabeet and Jefferson would definitely get fans excited about the future of the franchise.  And, with additional revenue created by the excitement for the team, Minnesota could then try to complete some sort of a trade for a veteran point guard, which they need desperately.

This is the first place, in my opinion, where Thabeet wouldn’t be out of place.  If he’s taken by one of the five teams before Minnesota, I think his career will be a big disappointment.  But don’t rule out a team trading up for Thabeet.

7)        Golden State Warriors – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis

There are a bunch of unknowns in this draft, but the biggest may be Evans.  When I saw Memphis in the NCAA tournament this year, Evans looked like he should go in the top three of the 2009 draft.  He’s a combo guard who’s very good with the ball in his hands, but he’s not that good of a shooter.  In the Warriors’ system, his lack of shooting hurts.  But, let’s be frank: the Warriors are a terrible franchise that has no idea what they’re doing.  They have a glut of guards, none of which seem to be happy with their situation, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take another Thursday night.

They also have Corey Maggette, though.  So don’t be surprised if the Warriors move up (to the Kings’ pick, possibly) to snatch Curry or Harden.

8)      New York Knicks — (likely to trade up) – Jordan Hill, C, Arizona

This is where the draft starts to get muddled with a slew of different situations.  When Stephan Curry declared for the draft, the Knicks reportedly told him and his agent that he wouldn’t fall below pick eight.  As the draft inches closer, it’s clear he won’t be there at the eighth pick.

Do the Knicks trade up?  Do they settle on someone like DeMar DeRozan?  I have no idea how things will turn out, but the Knicks must find someone to fit their system and work well with a big-time member of the 2010 free agent class.

My pick: The Knicks need a quality point guard above anything else.  Look for them to trade up by packaging the eighth pick with David Lee to get Curry, Flynn or Rubio.  (Rubio would be my choice)  With the trade, it depends on who falls here.  I think it’s most likely going to be the Grizzlies, who will subsequently choose Jordan Hill to compliment Marc Gasol.

9)      Toronto Raptors – Gerald Henderson, G, Duke

This team sucks.  I hate watching them play and they’re going to have to do something of note to keep Chris Bosh in town.  At number nine, I don’t think there’s much they can do outside of trading up or hoping a really good player (Hill and Evans seem to be the most likely candidates) falls to them at nine.

Out of all the players left on the board, I really like watching DeMar DeRozan play.  He’s big, athletic and has a ton of potential.  But the Raptors seem to value good shooters over anything else, so he probably won’t be the pick.  I’ll go with Gerald Henderson here just because he seems like the type of player the Raptors would draft.

10)   Milwaukee Bucks – DeMar DeRozan, G/F, USC

I see this team play four times per year (all versus the Bulls) and that’s probably four more than anyone outside of Milwaukee.  To write this preview, it took me three minutes to figure out who their best players are (Villanueva, Redd & Bogut), which isn’t a good thing.  The Bucks, more than anything else, need to draft players for their athletic gifts and potential so their fans get somewhat excited to go see their team when it’s 30 degrees below freezing and they’re, once again, in 11th in the Eastern Conference.

DeRozan has a ton of potential and will fill the hole left by Richard Jefferson, who was dealt to the Spurs on Tuesday.  This is the type of player the Bucks never seem to have, which is why he would be perfect for this irrelevant franchise.

11)   New Jersey Nets –  Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA

They have Devin Harris, Vince Carter and Brook Lopez in place.  At this point in the draft, SG/SF is typically the quality positions left on the table and Jrue Holiday would give the Nets a nice replacement for Richard Jefferson.  Holliday has a unique skill set that compliments Harris very well.

At this point in the draft, however, it’s not really clear what any team is doing.  I could see Earl Clark going here or the Nets reaching for someone like Austin Daye, BJ Mullens or Ty Lawson.

12)   Charlotte Bobcats – Earl Clark, F, Louisville

The Bobcats have two quality point guards and now they need to address their front court.  Last year, they relied on Sean May to get into shape and that was an epic failure.  The Bobcats need a PF, which is why it wouldn’t surprise me to see Michael Jordan and Larry Brown trade up to get Jordan Hill.

If that doesn’t happen because Jordan is to busy with his golf game (which isn’t a criticism; he’s earned it), Earl Clark would be a nice fit into Larry Brown’s system because he’s versatile and experienced; just the kind of player Brown seems to adore.

13)   Indiana Pacers – Brandon Jennings, G, International

Almost every mock draft I’ve seen has the Pacers picking Jennings.  I think that’s a good move because it allows the Pacers, like the Bucks, to get someone their fan base can get excited about.

16) Chicago Bulls – DeJuan Blair, C, Pittsburgh

(I skipped the last two picks because I really don’t know who either team will pick.  Things change too much, so it’s not worth it to fill your head with things that probably won’t come true.)

I love this pick for the Bulls, who desperately need someone to give them depth in their front court.  At their best, Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas need to be aggressive on defense and need to play off the ball.  Against Eastern Conference Centers like Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins and Al Horford, the Bulls typically struggle because Noah isn’t strong enough to play them one-on-one.  Blair’s strength (and girth) would make him a huge asset to Vinny Del Negro against teams with solid front lines and would give the Bulls, a team with a ton of depth, even more flexibility.

That’s all.  Let’s try something new: Let’s see your mock draft.  Where do you think Stephan Curry will land?  How far will Hasheem Thabeet fall?  What on earth will the Knicks do on Thursday night?

Where will Ricky Rubio end up?

D'Antoni would love to get his hands on young Ricky Rubio.

D'Antoni would love to get his hands on Ricky Rubio.

With the NBA draft right around the corner, it’s still unclear where highly-touted Ricky Rubio will land.

Multiple reports in recent days have Memphis looking to trade the #2 pick to either New York or Houston, in a deal involving an established NBA player (or two) and draft picks.

The Knicks are looking at Stephen Curry among others, but Mike D’Antoni loves his foreign players.

Nobody really knows if Curry can play point in the NBA. Rubio clearly has the ability to be a dynamic playmaker for years to come. It would be much easier to land LeBron with a solid guard like Rubio already in place.

The Grizz could ask for David Lee and the Knicks’ first round pick, or substitute Chris Duhon, Wilson Chandler, or another player for Lee.

Houston doesn’t have a first round pick in the draft and has view veterans to deal to Memphis. The emergence of Aaron Brooks late last season apparently hasn’t ended the endless quest to find a point guard that began when Matt Maloney retired.

The Rockets want to get younger and are dying to move T-Mac. Memphis has repeatedly shown low standards when it comes to trades, but it deserves to get kicked out the NBA if it accepts McGrady’s expiring contract for the #2 pick.

Stranger things have happened.

Memphis is clearly in a bind. Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill aren’t worthy of being the second selection in the draft. Several mock drafts today, including the latest at draftexpress.com, have the Grizz taking James Harden. Selecting a swingman like Harden or Tyreke Evans would be a stupid move to say the least with a number of talented perimeter players already on the roster, including O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.

The Grizz will almost certainly take Thabeet or trade down. The Knicks look like the most likely trade partner at this point.

Stay tuned for more updates on the quest for young Ricky.