Sports 56 WHBlog Q

June 26, 2009

Grizz Draft Not Sexy, But Solid…Maybe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 8:15 am

Yesterday on the Sports Bar, I said that if the Grizzlies didn’t end up with Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, or Tyreke Evans, I would be disappointed.

I am disappointed.

In a draft that featured all of one sure thing, the Grizzlies chose the biggest wild card of the draft (Thabeet), a guy who had really good value in the 2nd round (Sam Young), and for the second year in a row a guy who had a huge hand in knocking the Tigers out of the NCAA tournament (Carroll).  I think it says something that the thing I’m most excited about from last night was that I got 9 picks right on my mock draft from yesterday.

Hasheem Thabeet:
From a public relations standpoint, it’s a disastrous pick.  With so much hope and optimism coming out of the lottery and the best draft pick the team had had since it came to Memphis, they got…a shot blocker.  The expectation level was that the team was going to come out of this draft with a star.  I don’t think they did it.
Pros: Great defensive presence inside; Shot blocking; has tremendous potential as a rebounder and offensive player because of his good footwork, agility, and size
Cons: No offensive game to speak of; Not a great rebounder despite being 7’2; has trouble with physical players; team never did anything until his junior season
Thabeet immediately becomes the best defensive center the franchise has ever had.  He also becomes an extremely high draft pick that’s going to have to fight to start: Lionel Hollins said last night of he and Marc Gasol–“The best man is going to win the job.  He’s got to earn the right (to start). But Marc’s going to be good competition.”
(Voice rising) You used the 2nd pick in the draft on a guy who may not start?  Really?!
Everyone wanted the Grizzlies to trade the pick…in principle I agree.  However, if you can’t get value, you don’t move the pick.  You take the guy who’s the best player.  I hope they did, but I doubt it.

DeMarre Carroll:
Apparently that rumor that they had promised Carroll was true…with DaJuan Blair, Wayne Ellington, and Sam Young still on the board, that’s the only reason you take Carroll here.  Note: For the second year in a row, a possible lottery selection plummets because of health questions–Darrell Arthur about his kidneys, and DaJuan Blair because of his knees.  At least this year, the concerns were legit. While I don’t think they got a good value for this pick, I do like what Carroll brings.  He’ll back up Rudy at the 3 and bring defense, energy, and toughness off the bench.  People will hate playing against this guy, and that’s not bad at #27.  Still would have taken Blair or Ellington, though…

Sam Young:
A good value pick where they got him, but Blair was still on the board!!  Notice it took Adam Silver 25 seconds to announce that Blair was the next pick.  The team he went to–the Spurs.  They always make good picks.  Young will provide defense and toughness (a theme, much?) to the bench.  He’ll swing between the 2 and the 3.  A good value pick at #36, but still DaJuan Blair?  Best offensive rebounder of the last 10 years in college basketball.

To use an analogy all you guys can understand, the Grizzlies draft last night was like looking at Britney Spears naked.  Definitely not sexy, but will probably be an overall pleasant experience.

Coming into last night, the Grizzlies had five needs: defense, shooting, a power forward, scoring off the bench, and rebounding.

They addressed one, possibly two.

They did address the need for defense with Thabeet, Carroll and Young, and they did get three guys who will play.  They still don’t have anyone but OJ Mayo who can shoot from the outside (something Ellington would have addressed at #27), they still don’t have a power forward–pardon me for not being inspired by Arthur-Warrick (if he stays with the team, which I doubt), they still don’t have anyone who can score off the bench (especially if Warrick leaves), and they still may have trouble rebounding, depending on how good of a rebounder Thabeet is.  But hey, free agency starts soon, right?

Next year, the salary cap will be around $57.3 million dollars or so.  Here’s a look at the roster and the salaries that will definitely be on the books next year, courtesy of hoopshype.com (and a little research on my part)…

Quentin Richardson–Player option for $9.3 m
Marko Jaric–$7.1 m (really?!!)
OJ Mayo–$4.165 m
Greg Buckner–$4 m (man, to be a veteran in the NBA)
Mike Conley–$3.88 m
Marc Gasol–$3.24 m
Hasheem Thabeet–$3.59 m
Rudy Gay–$3.28 m
Darrell Arthur–$1.05 m
DeMarre Carroll–$814, 300

Pending Young’s contract, whether or not Warrick is back with the team, and whether they re-sign Hamed Haddadi, the total of the Grizzlies salaries is $40.4 million, which will likely be about $1.6 under the minimum and $17 million under the cap.  Assuming Young will be on the roster, they will need two or three more players just to fill out the roster, and will be approximately just over $16 m under the cap.  Here’s to hoping they get shooting, a power forward, and scoring off the bench with that $16 million.  That’s an awful lot of needs.

A quick joke because Blake Griffin was picked by the Clippers…

Q:  What do Blake Griffin and DaJuan Blair have in common?

A:  In five years, they’ll both have two blown out knees.

It’s the Clippers, people.  You don’t mess with Native Americans.

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