I. Team History/Needs
This year the season started with a lot of promise with
the Grizzlies flirting with .500 to start the season, led by the acquisition of Otis
Thorpe. Thorpe, unfortunately, became a locker room cancer when the season turned sour and
was dealt to another NBA outpost in Sacramento. Another unsuccessful event for the
Grizzlies was the drafting of Antonio Daniels, at least for the short term. He showed some
flashes, but for the most part showed to be over his head in the NBA. His development is
key for the Grizz to continue down the path toward respectability and the playoffs. Brian
Hill was brought in as the new coach shed some of the ghosts from Orlando, but in order
for him to be considered successful the Grizzlies have to shed the lower echelon in the
NBA. The needs for the Grizzlies remain the same as last year backcourt predominantly, but
PF could use an upgrade but not the same level of priority that the backcourt does.
- A bit of a logjam here, but it's a logjam of mediocrity
sadly. Antonio Daniels was brought in to be the starter and help lead the Grizzlies out of
the NBA basement. He just wasn't up to NBA speed, but the jury is still out on him for the
long term. Lee Mayberry who was supposed to be a backup to Daniels ended up with
considerable minutes. Mayberry is good for not turning the ball over, but isn't much of an
offensive threat. Bobby Hurley was brought in as part of the Otis Smith trade, mainly to
help match up the salaries. Hurley did have some effective minutes but will always be a
shadow of his former self pre-accident. Hurley is certainly overpaid, but is not eligible
for free agency till next year, which makes him virtually untradable, unless tied to
something of great value that another team would covet, like this pick or Shareef.
- A lot of mediocrity here as well. Sam Mack was the most
effective player in this spot over the course of the season. He was adept at stroking the
trey, but he would be a bigger asset off of the bench. Blue Edwards had a tough season to
start but came on towards the end. Edwards is a FA and it is unknown whether he will
return. Doug West is a question here as he never played for the Grizzlies after his trade
from Minnesota, being in rehab. I don't believe that he is the answer here.
- Shareef Abdur-Rahim continued down the road to
superstardom being one of the most effective offensive players in the game. He does need
work on his offensive game and the ability to take over the game in the home stretch. He
is up for a contract extension and hopefully he'll get it as I don't want him to test the
FA waters where he'll be a coveted commodity. George Lynch is a PF in a SF body, but is
good for some energy off of the bench.
- Tony Massenburg, Michael Smith, and Pete Chilcutt man this
position however all are journeymen and wouldn't be a starter on a contending team. What
the Grizzlies need here in a guy who can pull down 10-12 boards a night and provide a
physical low post defender. This is a need position, but not nearly as great as the
- Bryant Reeves was an effective scorer for the Grizz again
this year, and hopefully his slow start was due to getting used to Brian Hill's offense.
He continues to show that he is one of the best young centers in the game. He comes into
his big contract as of this year so it's time for him to step up and earn it. Backup is a
bit of a concern, but Massenburg did have a couple big games filling in for Big Country.
II. My Selection
Paul Pierce G/F from
Paul Pierce has the potential to be the next Clyde Drexler. Will he get there is another
question though. He is very developed and silky smooth. Pierce does have the game to play
several positions. His defense and desire have been questioned. He certainly has the
athleticism to play defense, but could use some more strength.
III. Other players I considered
Michael Olowokandi C from Pacific
A project that has already taken huge strides. If he
actually played for the Grizz would probably have to play PF. Awesome athleticism and
body. Is he the next Hakeem or Yinka? Most likely somewhere in between in there. Can he be
a contributor right away is another question. His value is high due to he's a 7' and
IV. Who the team will probably take
Whoever can be the biggest contributor right away, be it
the pick or a trade for a veteran and a lower pick (Larry Hughes/Paul Pierce?) Maybe
they'll trade Big Country, and keep Olowokandi. Deals are almost impossible to call these
days. If they do trade the pick the Grizz will be looking to dump some salaries like
Hurley's 4 million.
A) Own FA's
Probably gone, but might stick around for a reduced cap figure.
The Grizzlies would like for him to stick around and be the sparkplug
off of the bench.
If Blue can get another job in the league that pays half decent he's
B) Other FA's
Jayson Williams F from the Nets
It's highly doubtful that the Grizzlies can get him but he'd be exactly
what the doctor ordered at the PF spot. Williams will sign with either
the Nets or a contender.
Travis Best G from the Pacers
Great playoffs have increased his value, and will likely resign with
Any free agent that is a difference maker will be tough for the Grizzlies
to get till they become a lot more competitive. The Grizzlies will be
looking for minimum salary bargains.
Who knows, in these days of salary cap manipulation and massive free agency.
The Grizzlies only have three things that other teams really want 1) the no
2 pick 2) Shareef 3) Big Country. In order to trade for other pieces of
value the Grizz would likely have to give up one of these things.