Sports 56 WHBlog Q

December 10, 2008

Wednesday in the Office

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 11:41 am

First of all, I have a major beef with Rob Fischer. How can you write a post complementing the Guitar Hero World Tour ads and not have this one?

Seriously. I don’t understand you sometimes, Fish.

Yesterday on the Sports Bar, Jeff and I had a massive argument (shocker) about the state of the Grizzlies and our opinions on what should happen to Marc Iavaroni in the immediate future. The great insight from Ron Tillery on the coaching situation yesterday on the Memphis Edge led us to the discussion. I am of the opinion that expectations coming into the season should have been low…The team’s starting lineup had an average age of about 21 and a half, with the oldest guy being Marc Gasol, who was a rookie. You simply do not win with that much youth in the NBA. It doesn’t ever happen. My prediction was 23-28 wins, but that the Grizzlies would be more aesthetically pleasing to watch–better defense, more running, more talent…a more exciting team. Through the first 21 games, that is essentially what has happened–the team is playing better defense than it did last year, OJ Mayo is putting up historically great numbers for a rookie, Marc Gasol is better than anyone thought, but the team is not very good, at least record wise. Rudy Gay has seemingly regressed, Mike Conley has been very disappointing (although he is playing better as of late), and the team isn’t winning games–the Oklahoma City loss at home was inexcusable. If they stay on pace, they’ll win about 23-25 games, about where everyone thought they’d be.

As for Iavaroni, he is far from perfect. The team, despite the phenomenal athleticism it possesses with Gay, Mayo, Warrick, and a speedy Mike Conley, does not run nearly enough, it is inconsistent defensively, and the halfcourt offense is totally out of sync…It seemingly always devolves into Mayo or Gay going one on one and trying to score. Assist numbers are down as well, which points to the poor play of the point guards and the lack of a good low post scorer; with a low post scorer, double teams would mean open shots on the perimeter. Defense has been inconsistent, and at times the team seems to be slipping out of his grasp.

All of that being said, though, has he really had a fair opportunity to win? The guy had a bad team last year that was gutted at the trading deadline. They went even younger on draft night by trading their most experienced and proven veteran for Mayo, and he has only had 21 games this season to try and win with one of the youngest teams in the NBA. My take on the situation is this–keep Iavaroni and see what happens the rest of the season. If at the end of the year it becomes clear that he has either lost the team or is not the guy you want leading you at the end of the three-year plan, make a move. It will be much easier to find a head coach in the offseason.

Predictably, ESPN has gone wall to wall with coverage of CC Sabathia signing a ridiculously huge contract with the Yankees. I could be way off on this, but I think it is an awful move. It looks good on the surface, because the Yankees desperately need an ace, but this will not end well, I promise. Sabathia is a work horse, almost to a fault. The guy throws a ton of innings. He is over 300 pounds. The Yankees beter hope that he is a freak of nature whose arm will never get tired, because committing 7 years, $160 million are crazy numbers.

Quick random thought–I went to five different gas stations trying to put air in my tires today, and none of the air machines worked. Why is it so difficult for air machines to function in the winter? This happens every year.

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