Saturday, May 31, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies
Record: 22-60
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: $44.0M

Draft Picks: #5, #28

It wasn’t all horrible for the Grizzlies. Rudy Gay earned acclaim for his vast improvement between seasons 1 and 2. When healthy, Mike Miller was his normal self, knocking down shots. Though inconsistent and riddled with injury, the Grizzlies received plenty of contributions from the point guard position.

Looking forward to the 2008-2009 season, the Grizzlies need to become acquainted with playing defense (gave up 107 ppg). They didn’t do it last year and that continued this year. The loss of Shane Battier has proved huge and Memphis needs to acquire an unselfish player with a similar mind frame.

Burning Questions: After a 22-win season, what type of latitude will the front office give Marc Iavaroni to bring in his type of players? Will Memphis trade the 5th pick overall in pursuit of a veteran power forward or center? Can Memphis entice a team to take on Brian Cardinal’s contract ($13M over two years) by trading them Kyle Lowry ($6.2M over three years with a qualifying offer of $3M in the final year) on the cheap?

Perceived Needs: PF, C, Veteran Leadership, Athleticism

If I Were GM … I would find suitors for the 5th pick and look to trade down, unless Brook Lopez (whose stock is reportedly dropping) falls into your lap. In my eyes, Mike Conley Jr. and Rudy Gay are untouchable, and Mike Miller would cost a steep price. Because Mike Conley Jr., Javaris Crittenton and Kyle Lowry all cannot play on the court at the same time (though, Crittenton play the 2), Memphis will need to ship one (preferably, Lowry) along with Brian Cardinal’s contract and one of the first-round picks for a veteran power forward or center with leadership skills.

If unable to strike a deal or trade down in the first round, Memphis should select the athletically-gifted Anthony Randolph. With the 28th pick, the Grizzlies would be wise to look in the direction of a big who is defensive-minded. Instantly, Joey Dorsey comes to mind.

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