Sports 56 WHBlog Q

July 2, 2009

Grizz Use Band-Aid to Cover Gaping Wound

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Will Askew @ 9:42 am

Yesterday afternoon, the Grizzlies were rumored to be mulling an offer to Knicks restricted free agent forward David Lee for a financial commitment of 5 years and $60 million dollars.  David Lee is one of the best rebounders in the league.  He led the league in double-doubles last year and averaged 16 points a game.  What isn’t clear is if his 16 ppg average from last year is a testament to his improving offensive ability or to Mike D’Antoni’s uptempo system.  Yeah, the Grizz would slightly be overpaying for him, but they have to do that in order to get a prize free agent.

Guess that’s not happening now.

Almost out of nowhere last night, the Grizz traded for Zach Randolph, a 20 ppg, 9 rpg guy last year with the Clippers who, on paper or on a fantasy basketball team, solves their need for a go-to power forward.  That leaves the Grizzlies a few more million dollars to go out and sign some shooting and point guard help off the bench.

Here’s the problem–the NBA isn’t a fantasy basketball team.  You have to consider things like “team chemistry” or “the fact that you’re bringing one of the most selfish, combustible players in the NBA into a team who has all young players.”  First, the good–the Grizzlies didn’t give up anything to get him.  Q-Rich wasn’t figuring to do too much this season for the Grizzlies, and then he would have been gone.  Secondly, Randolph will provide an offensive threat at the 4, something they haven’t had since Pau Gasol.  That’s it.  Those are the only two positives I see.

Here are the negatives–Zach Randolph has been either the leading scorer or the second leading scorer and the leading rebounder on every team he’s been on since 2004-05.  On the surface, that’s a good thing; that’s not taking into account, however, that his teams since 04-05 are a combined 166 games under .500.  That’s an average of over 32 games a year.  Secondly, he has fought with a teammate on the bench during a game before.  Telling fact–the player he fought with, Nate Robinson, is still on the Knicks.  Third, he plays zero defense.  Pau is a better defensive player than he is.  Fourth, he’s a black hole on offense.  Those who think he’s going to draw the double-team and kick it back out, be prepared for him to draw a double-team and shoot it anyway.  Fifth, the man is a half-court player.  He’s not into running up and down the floor.

I have never thought that Michael Heisley has chosen to shed costs just to shed costs.  He has proven in the past that he is willing to spend if he thinks he can win.  That being said, proponents of this trade will say that the fact that they got Randolph proves that he’s willing to go out and spend money if he thinks the player can help him win.  To the point that he will help them win…umm, did you see the stat above?  Secondly, with a little quick math, I can tell you that a commitment of 2 years and $33 million is quite a bit less than a commitment of 5 years and $60 million.  If Randolph fails to pan out, what then?  Do they  trade his expiring contract next season for another crappy collection of veterans, like Randolph has been traded for three times in the last three years?  Back to square one I suppose.

Why has this double-double machine been traded so many times?  And why does he never get traded for anything of value?  The Knicks were so desperate to get rid of him they traded him for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas.  The Clippers were so desperate to get rid of him they traded him for a 3 point specialist who’s not that great at shooting 3 pointers.  Zach Randolph is like a ridiculously hot woman who doesn’t have a boyfriend–you can’t believe she’s single and keeps getting dumped for someone much less hot, but behind the scenes, she’s a total psycho.

Zach Randolph will come in here and average about 18 points and 10 rebounds.  You’ll never officially hear anything from anyone, but you’ll hear stories about how he’s a bad influence on the young players and how he’s immature off the court.  At the end of next year, the Grizzlies will be right back where they were this year–in the lottery.  I hope they get a high enough pick to take Ed Davis or Derrick Favors.  Then maybe the Grizzlies will have a long-term solution instead of a Band-Aid.


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