|The Vancouver Grizzlies have the 4th pick and their GM:
I. Team History/Needs Well, the 1996-97 season wasnít the jump forward that most expected the team to take. In fact, it was a step backwards in a way, finishing with a record that was worse than the season before it. However, most wonít dispute that this year's edition was a better team talent-wise, and certainly more competitive. One major problem was that the players, I believe, lost a lot of motivation after losing so much, Shareef Abdur-Raheem has actually acknowledged this publicly that effort was a problem with this yearís team. Another player hiding behind anonymity said that he was tired of having 80% of the offense run through SAR or Bryant Reeves, but I think that was largely a case of those two players were the only ones who could put in the basket consistently. The three main things that happened to the team were: A) Shareefís emergence as a prime-timer who continued to develop as the season went on, B) Bryant Reeves coming into camp out of shape again (sigh), but then finishing the season on an impressive note, showing that he can be a second echelon center in the NBA, and C) the firing of Brian Winters with Stu Jackson becoming coach as well, but Stu has made it known that he wonít be the coach next season. Guards A) Point guard Greg Anthony and Lee Mayberry split time here, and this is one of the Grizzlies need spots. Anthony regressed this season, partly from the injury bug. After being the definite floor leader in the inaugural season, his future with the team is definitely in doubt. Mayberry, one of Stu Jacksonís FA acquisitions, showed that he would be more then capable as a backup point guard, and was getting a lot more playing time toward the end of the season. He distributed the ball, played okay defense, and didnít turn the ball over. He isnít, however, a long term solution for a starting PG. Neither of the point guards are more then journeymen in the NBA, and are not able to take over, and impose their will on a game. B) Shooting Guard The Grizzlies have another trouble spot here. It all depends on the development of Anthony Peeler. He started off as the Grizzlies best offensive player, but was overtaken by Shareef in December. As the season progressed, he got more and more inconsistent, and fell behind Reeves as an offensive option. He needs to develop more consistency to become a legitimate two guard in the NBA. Blue Edwards had a disappointing season, after last season where he was an offensive leader, but following the trade for Peeler, and the youth movement where Jackson was giving Chris Robinson, and Lawrence Moten an opportunity to show what they are capable of in the NBA, Edwards found himself on the bench more then he was out on the floor. Lawrence Moten was given the opportunity to show his skills this season, but after a disappointing season where he shot a very low percentage, showing poor selection, and lackluster work ethics, his time with the Grizz is likely over. Moten got his chance earlier in the season, with Chris Robinson getting more minutes as the season went on. Robinson showed some nice development as the season wore on, and did show some potential, but he is unlikely to develop into a force. Forwards (Note: I believe that with Shareef Abdur-Raheem will be going to the two big forwards style of play for the foreseeable future. The only way I can see this changing is with either Shareef leaving the team, or his game/body develops and becomes more of a power forward, as opposed to the hybrid that he is now) C) Small Forward The Grizzlies do not have any prototypical small forwards, yet this is a position of some strength due to the Grizzlies best player plays here. The forward that does get the majority of minutes in this slot would be Shareef Abdur-Raheem. Shareef developed rapidly as the season went on, this is most prevalent in his scoring, but that leveled off toward the end of the season while he tried to develop a more rounded game. Shareef showed that he has a great deal of potential, but he still needs work. Defense and more range should be the priorities for him. He also needs to be more comfortable facing the basket. Other players who saw minutes here were Blue Edwards and George Lynch, however, Blue Edwards had his problems as mentioned above, and while Lynch had his best season as a pro, he was hurt for half the season. Lynch is also cursed with the fact heís a power forward in a small forwardís body. He was an asset for the Grizzlies with his ruggedness. Doug Edwards would play here too, if he didnít suck so much. Edwards was the worst pick for either team in the expansion draft, and continues to take valuable room off the Grizzlies salary cap. He didnít play one minute this season, spending it on the IR. D) Power Forward This spot is another weak one for the Grizzlies. There is some potential here, but, again, it is unlikely to develop into the true difference makers that the Grizzlies need. The Grizzlies lack a dominant rebounder in the PF spot. Aaron Williams was brought in to help in that regard, but heís not enough. The power forward spot has improved quite a bit from last year where the starter was Ashraf Amaya, who left in FA, but itís still far from a team strength. The brightest player at the PF spot was Roy Rogers. Rogers does have several problems, his offense is the most notable, but he also needs to get more boards, and play better man-on defense, instead of always going for the block. His tendency to go for blocks often led to him being out of position for the rebound. Rogers was definitely a steal in the draft, and should have made it to the All-Rookie second team. George Lynch also got most of his minutes here when he was healthy. His career will be limited by his height, and athletic ability, but he was still a good pick up for the Grizzlies. Aaron Williams was a mid-season CBA pickup who stuck with the team. His main attributes were his strength, and size, and was a good addition to the bench. Pete Chilcutt did relatively little after his trade from Houston, getting few minutes, shooting a poor percentage, and being soft otherwise. He will most likely be gone when either his contract is up, or if he is traded (doubtful). The main problem with the forwards is that they suck (see Edwards, Doug, and Chilcutt, Pete) or they are backup material in the NBA (Rogers, Roy, and Lynch, George). Ideally, I think that the Grizzlies want a dominating rebounder and defender, that comes with a never say die/kick some ass attitude. E) Center This all depends on one player, Bryant Reeves. Reeves has shown a lot in his two seasons in the NBA. He has shown that heís a very effective player when in shape, and he has shown a bad habit of coming into camp out of shape. Fortunately, he has stated that heís learned his lesson and has said that he will come into camp in playing shape. His work habits in the season are adequate. What he needs is to spend the summer playing with other NBA quality center, and at big men camps. Hopefully he can make up for his lack of athleticism with a year-round work ethic. When he is in shape, he has shown that he has soft hands, and touch. He could easily develop into a second echelon center, but I think his athleticism will hold him from the top echelon. He is a good post player and usually commands a double team. His play has definitely improved as the season went on which is a good sign for a second year player. His defense is adequate, as he doesnít get many blocks, but should rebound more. I think that might have something to do with his mental makeup. He does play good man-on defense. As far as backups there are some questions. Eric Mobley was his main back up in the early parts of the season, then he disappeared of the end of the bench. His future with the Grizzlies is in doubt. Eric Leckner got more time as the season went on, but heís not a long term answer at the backup spot. Roy Rogers, has spent some time here as well, and if he develops more, he could be an adequate backup center. =============== Again, after their second season the Grizzlies are chock full of holes. This season the holes are most notable at guard as compared to forward last season. Their biggest needs are dominant guards, and a large physical, defensive rebounded. Overall, though, they need difference makers, and itís obvious that they still are avoiding head cases. What they will take is the player that would be the biggest difference maker. =============== II. My Selection Antonio Daniels PG from Bowling Green With the probable loss of Greg Anthony, point guard is the Grizzlies biggest need. He seems to be a good fit, but I havenít seen enough film of him to make a fair evaluation. Daniels has nice size at 6í4" 200 lbs and long arms, and a very impressive .500+ shooting percentage with .400 from 3 point land, which is nearly unheard of in this days and age by a guard in college. Heís a senior and has shown growth as a player. He also seems more ready for the pro game than Billups, especially in the ego, and decision-making process where Billups seems more selfish. I think he fills the Grizzlies biggest need, and has a lot of potential. I am worried that since next year looks like a good year for point guards, maybe the Grizzlies would be better served by taking Battie/Mercer whomever is available and risking that they could get a point guard next year. III. Other players I considered Tim Duncan C from Wake Forest Well, maybe heíll slip (yeah, right). (Picked 1st Overall) Ron Mercer F/G from Kentucky I like him a lot, in spite of his bad (relatively) game in the finals against Arizona. Another problem I have is I wonder if heís capable of being an NBA 2-guard which would probably be his position with the Grizzlies. I think that he needs to work on his conditioning, which caused, I believe his substandard game against Arizona, adding more range on his jumper, and defense. After saying what I donít like about him, let me state what I do like about him. I like several things about him, most notably his ability to take Kentucky on his back to take them to the final. He also is an incredible athlete, which shows in his ability to leap, and his above average ability to penetrate. Other skills he has are a sweet jumper, and the ability to come off of screens and picks. He is the best player in the draft that isnít a power forward or a center. (Picked 2nd Overall) Keith Van Horn F from Utah I feel sorry for Keith in some ways, just because of peopleís prejudices. Just because heís white, a lot assume that heís a big white stiff Danny Ferry wannabe. Iíll give him the benefit of the doubt. I like him quite a bit as a player. I like the fact that heís probably the best inside/out player in the draft. Good low game and has lots of range on the jumper. Needs some defensive work, but thatís acceptable. Also not the most athletic player, but he is acceptable in that way. I am also impressed by his ability to just win, and he is a clutch player. I like how he carried Utah for almost his whole university career. I am also impressed by his emotional growth, as he has become a responsible man over his career. Probably will not be a dominant player, but will be a great complementary player, a very good piece of the puzzle for a growing team. A problem with him as far as the Grizzlies go is that he is a little too similar to their best player. (Picked 3rd Overall) Tony Battie F/C from Texas Tech I believe that Battie will be a PF, although he did play center in college, and some think that he might end up being a big small forward. I think that he will fill out, though he will always be a bit on the light side. I have not seen as much film on him as I would have liked, but I think that at worst he will be a poor manís Marcus Camby (but able to rebound better). He could be another Antonio McDyess which means I think that he could be as good as he wants. The reality is heíll probably fall in between. Rebounding is a strength for him, and he showed a lot more game in his senior year. I canít say much about his post game as I havenít seen enough to be fair, but the Grizzlies would probably prefer a PF that would feel comfortable facing the basket with the ball, yet also be a superior rebounder, and defender. I think he could fill this need, yet I also wonder if the Grizzlies already, have this player in Roy Rogers, but I do think that Battie will be a better rebounder. IV. Who the team will probably take Probably one of Daniels, Battie or Mercer, depending on who is left at four. I think that Stu is hoping for Mercer, but would be happy with any of the above. They would all fit a need, but I doubt they will have the impact of their last pick. Their back court is definitely a bigger need right now. Hopefully this pick will translate into some more wins (maybe 25-30). V. Other offseason moves I think the Grizzlies are looking for another overhaul this summer. I kind of hope that they donít trade down, as the star quality players arenít too deep in this draft, and thatís what they need. However they have a lot of needs, and might trade down so as to fill more of them. I believe however that you win in the NBA by having stars, it is possible to win some games with having average talent but that kind of team would never be a true contender, stuck with middle picks and unable to rise to the next level. I think that an overhaul will be harder this summer, as the free agent market isnít quite the same this year, therefore, there will not be the kind of massive purge of players in order to make salary cap fits. The Grizzlies are in a bind, however, as they must become a lot more competitive this coming year or risk having the culture of a loser, and disintegrating their fan base. The Grizz will have a lot of salary cap room this year, but there doesnít appear to be a good year for that, and the better players wonít come here anyway. I worry that the Grizzlies might overspend to get players to Vancouver and then be stuck with some serious salary cap problems. Anyway . . . A) Own FAís Greg Anthony Greg is pretty much as good as gone, and I canít say Iíll miss him much. He does create an even bigger void in the back court, but he is most certainly not a dominant point guard, and will never be more then a journeyman. He does play some good defense, but his offensive prowess leaves a lot to be desired. I donít think he wants to come back, nor do I think the team will make that much of an effort. Lawrence Moten Moten is probably gone as well, and itís kind of sad, however, itís his own fault. Lawrence has a fair bit of talent, more then he has shown, but his work ethic leaves a little to be desired. He often seems just happy to be in the NBA and not willing more, thinking that heís good enough to have a long career in the NBA, which he is, except that he needs to work on his game to do so. I think a stint in the CBA could be good for him, especially if it improves his attitude. Aaron Williams Aaron might be back, it depends on what the Grizzlies do this summer. If, after all their moves this summer, the Grizzlies have a roster slot for a forward, it will most likely go to Williams. Iíd say it is a 50-50 shot. Eric Leckner I really donít know here. He would still be a backup if he was resigned, but players like Eric are a dime a dozen. Well, maybe not a dime, more like league minimum. He will never be much of a player, but Reeves will always need a backup. Chris Robinson I think Robinson will stick around for another season. Chris did show some potential although I doubt he will ever be a quality starter. His price should be right, and puts out the effort. I think heís more likely to stay then Moten. Though Iím not as sure if it came down between him and Aaron Williams. B) Other FAís David Wesley Iím not sure if heíd be much of an upgrade over Greg Anthony, and I think that heíll also get overpaid this summer. Seems to have a good attitude, and is definitely a player that could be on the move this summer. I wonder if his stats are better then what they should be because he was a good player on an awful team. Again, I would really want the Grizzlies to be prudent with their spending to avoid salary cap albatrosses (see Smith, Charles). Sam Cassell I liked him in Houston, but not so much afterwards. His salary demands seem really excessive for what heís really done, but still has second-tier potential. Sam still has quite a bit of value, as evidenced in his multiple trades this past year. If he lowers his salary expectations, he could be a good PG for the Grizzlies. I think he could be the best point in the free agent pool. Hubert Davis I think the Grizzlies might be interested in Davis, but I donít think he isnít much of an upgrade over Peeler. He has definitely had problems after leaving New York which makes me think he is a Patrick Ewing product. I really donít think the Grizzlies should really pursue him too vigorously. Dean Garrett He has an impressive rookie season at the age of 30-31?. Garrett was a good rebounder and defender for Minnesota. I think heís a little old for the Grizzlies to pickup, but could be a good PF for them, as he does what they would need him to do. Rex Chapman I think his game has progressed in the last couple years, but I wonder how much that has come due to that he has played with some good point guards, and in Pheonixís case two of them to create easy shots for him. Chapman has shown a flair for the dramatic. Coangleo has said heíll sign him, but I donít know how as he only has so much room to sign him. Again, if the price is right. Brian Grant Sacramento has indicated that they will keep him at any cost, believing that he is their PF for the next 10 years. I think that Grant will never be a dominant PF and the Kings will probably overpay him, which is a shame. I think that he could be a good PF and a good fit for the Grizzlies, but only at a reasonable price. Tyus Edney (his option) I like Tyus, and itís a shame the Grizzlies already have a backup point guard, as I think he has a lot of growth in him and could eventually be another Brandon, well a little shorter one anyway. Definitely has good skills and potential, again, itís a question wether heíll get there as he does have a lot of work to do. C) Trades Who really knows. Trades are really unpredictable in this day and age. It all depends on who is trying to purge salaries in order to sign free agents. In that respect, it wonít be as busy as last summer, but there could be some teams trying to position to sign players from the Stoudamire/Garnett/Wallace draft class. One possible trade would be for the Grizzlies to pick up Otis Thorpe. The Grizzlies have the salary cap room, and could really use his talents, even if only for a couple years. Hmm. Shawn Kemp has just made himself available apparently, and he certainly would be a great player in a Grizzlies uniform, but what would we offer him. One curious thing is that Shawn wants to get away from all the negativity which I find funny, as heís on a team that went to the finals last year, and is coming of another 50+ win season, I wonder how heíd feel after a 50-loss season with the Grizzlies or the Nets. It sure must be tough Shawn.
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