Sports 56 WHBlog Q

November 3, 2008

Weekly Ramblings

Filed under: sports 56 — Tags: — Eli Savoie @ 10:05 pm

This week’s ramblings are dedicated to looking ahead at the Grizzlies season at what I expect. So here is MWR’s player-by-player look at the Grizz for 2008-09.

Rudy Gay-Rudy made a huge step in his development last year and I expect much more of the same out of him this year. He is an explosive offensive player with athleticism that is second to none, but he must get better defensively this season. With his athletic ability there is no doubt he can be a good defender, but he has to put more effort into it. There are many times where he gets lazy on the defensive end and this team can’t afford that. He also needs to step up and be a vocal leader on and off the court. He’s the best player on the team so it’s only natural for the others to look to him for leadership.

O.J. Mayo-He’s been groomed his whole life to be an NBA player and now he gets his chance. He has a chance to be special. Some people are expecting him to be the ultra athletic flashy type player, but that’s not what he is. Mayo has tremendous skills that will allow him to do a lot of different things on the offensive end, but he’s not the type of athlete Rudy is, and unlike Gay, Mayo comes in as a very good defender so he will immediately make the team better at that end of the court.

Mike Conley-This is a big year for Conley. His rookie year had mixed results. He didn’t get to play early, was slowed by injuries, and then late in the year played well in spurts. Most point guards take a couple years to develop so it’ll be interesting to see how Conley comes along this year. He must use his quickness to get to the basket and break down defenses and then must be able to finish at the rim himself or set up teammates. He also has to push the ball and make good decisions on the break. I’m still a believer that he can be a very good NBA point guard, but he must get better this season.

Marc Gasol-Marc has looked very good so far in the preseason and through the first few games of the regular season. The think I like about him, is his willingness to play physically. Unlike his brother, Marc is willing to bang and even knock someone to the floor if he has to. He also has good hands and decent offensive skills. He’s probably the best center theGrizz have ever had, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

Darrell Arthur-Could prove to be the steal of the draft. He’s extremely athletic and is very active around the basket. Has the ability to score a little, but most of his points will come offputbacks. His main contributions will come on the boards.

Kyle Lowry-If Kyle accepts his role for what it is as the backup point guard, he can be an important part of the team, but if he continues to think he should be the starter, than he will continue to battle the coaching staff and his role will be diminished. There’s a chance he could be moved before the season is over, but while he’s here I hope he can keep a good attitude and help out at the point. He can’t shoot so when he’s in there, he must focus on being a great defender and creating off the dribble.

Hakim Warrick-Hak showed last year he can score and can rebound at the power forward spot. The problem for Warrick is that he’s a bit of a tweener and it hurts him defensively. He’s often overmatched by the strength of the other power forwards, but can’t match the quickness needed to guard small forwards. I like Hak, but I’m not sure how much faith the coaching staff has in him. This could be his last year in Memphis.

Darko Milicic-What can I say, I’m starting to think that Darko is simply a bust and will never be a big contributor in the NBA. It was a good risk the Grizzlies took by signing him, but it just hasn’t worked out. He’ll play some minutes and hopefully he can contribute as a defender and rebounder, but he just doesn’t have the skills to do much of anything offensively.

The rest of the roster doesn’t figure to contribute much so I won’t go through them. I think this team is on the right track in trying to rebuild. Theyhave a solid three-man nucleus in Gay, Conley and Mayo that could lead them to good things in the future and I think Gasol will be a solid big man for years to come. They still need many parts, but they are on the right track. I don’t expect them to win many games, I have predicted 23, but I think the improvement will be noticeable and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. They will also be more fun to watch, although not many fans will show up to see it. If they do get off to a really bad start, such as 2-12 or something, I think MarcIavaroni will be fired, hopefully that won’t happen though. They had a great win in their home opener, let’s hope they continue to play well at home at least and they can get the home fans excited and coming to games.

I’m looking forward to watching this team develop, it could be a pretty fun year if they all come along like we hope.


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