Herodotus

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  1. Hello, Dillon Brooks!

    Chip, you know, these basketball conversations are fun, but it would be nice if you might look a little bit more for the merit/value in what someone says, rather than having to parse the definition of what seems like every term in the English language at times. I was distinguishing between "elite" level teams and being " successful." Of course we might have different definitions of success. When I used the term, I'm not referring to winning a championship. I think the Grizzlies have been a top-6 to -10 team in the NBA over the past several seasons - shall we say, the Grit n Grind Era. That, I hope everyone agrees, has been a tremendous run of success. I'm talking about generally maintaining that level of success, as a Playoff team in the Western Conference, and being one of the top-6 -10 teams in the league. In the ultra-teams era, defining success in Memphis as being a championship contender is simply unrealistic. When I said, "elite," I was referring to those top-4 or so franchises that are realistic championship contenders, of which we are not one. So, I hope we all have some kind of similar definition of the word "success" that does not include being a championship contender. From there, I think if you look at that first tier of teams who actually are championship contenders (the elite), they have shut down defenders who are also MVP or All-NBA caliber players (Kawhi, Draymond, Lebron, etc.). In other words, not just wing defenders playing that particular role, but surpassingly excellent, elite players on both ends. They also tend to have a decent enough stack of 3-and-D guys, of course, but even then the D is not necessarily shutdown defender level. If you look at the second-tier of teams, of which we are a part, I think you'll be hard pressed to conclude that a single-role, shut down defender guy is any kind of requisite. There's also a distinction between the 3-and-D guys, which are very valuable in today's NBA, and the wing defender/middling offense guy (the guy who isn't really a 3-and-D, typically because he can't hit the 3). When you get down into the second tier of teams, there are some of both, but the wing defender/middling offense guy is truly less valuable than a true 3-and-D. For example, Boston just ditched Avery Bradley, which I think demonstrates about how valuable that wing defender/middling offense type of player actually is - valuable, sure, but not a requisite. Remember, the entire premise here is that you don't have to have a shut down wing defender to be successful. It's even more true if that guy is a middling offense guy and not a 3-and-D.
  2. Hello, Dillon Brooks!

    Actual Answer: No one (but it doesn't matter as much as it might have in the past). Chris Wallace/Front Office Answer: Wayne Selden will fill the role, but not as well as Tony did. Reality: Most good teams don't have a stopper/shut down closer guy, they have several good two-way players and good schemes. Really only the most elite, premier teams have a shut down defender like Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, or Lebron James. A shut down/closer type guy isn't a precondition to success. (Note: If anyone thinks Tony Allen would have had a prayer of making things better against Kawhi Leonard in that series against the Spurs, they're deluded. Kawhi was looking like the best player in the Playoffs until he got injured. It was a real shame that happened, because the Spurs might have knocked off the Warriors in a fair fight).
  3. Hello, Dillon Brooks!

    Yeah, but, we're already famous for letting role players and middle of the roster guys have career nights against us. I think we should be clear about Tony Allen's strength: It was on-ball, against ball dominant scorers. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, etc. Kobe Bryant. Let's be clear about Tony Allen's weakness: Ball movement, backdoors, flares, off-ball screens. Tony Allen was much less of an asset against the Spurs than against any other team, followed by teams like the Hawks or the Jazz. Tony Allen's other strength was just dogged tenacity and desire, on both ends. When he wanted to, he was going to leave his heart and soul on the floor, even in a loss. But that came and went enough that he was mostly a big-game player, who more often than not, ended up not being 100% or not being around at all for the Playoffs. I, like most Memphians, LOVED Tony Allen when he was healthy, and he was dialed in and motivated, AND it was the right match-up. Which, again, was typically a ball-dominant superstar in a big game atmosphere. That love, that most people felt, translated into an out-sized impression and emotional attachment to Tony's persona that seemed to be immune at times to fact or criticism. When Tony Allen took on Fizdale and tried to buck his authority, by far most in this city excused it or overlooked it entirely. I think the main thing with Tony Allen is that his body and his defensive prowess are waning, AND that his principal defensive strength is becoming less valuable as the NBA changes. A few years ago, most of the top teams were built around high scoring superstars, who gobbled up enormous usage rates for their team's offense. Now, the League has a clear trend, transforming in the mold of Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr. Tony Allen's defensive strength is worth less, his defensive weakness is exposed more, and his offense hurts more. Add to that the injury history and his attitude problems and that's why the front office decided to move on.
  4. What's the Current Lineup?

    Yes, so, I see you potentially saying that Fizz is a weaker coach. Is that a path we should go down, or would it just be a Pandora's Box? I thought Fizz was exposed a bit by Pop in that series as well (however, "Take That for Data" was ingenious and will love on forever). However, you seem to think that moving Zach to center was the mistake. I think Fizz was experimenting with how to find a matchup or a lineup in which Zach was actually playable. You have to experiment and try different things, so I don't really fault him for that. However, where I thought he erred was in sticking with Zach too long. Specifically, whenever Popovich would make the call for his guys to line Zach up in their sights and run the pick-and-roll down Zach's throat until we relented, I thought Fizz should have relented MUCH sooner and attempted to make another adjustment. Instead, Pop, as you said, found an advantage he could exploit and really killed us by a thousand knife wounds, one after another after another. If Pop was going to attack and expose Randolph like that, then Randolph was simply unplayable. That may have been difficult to admit, but it was the truth.
  5. What's the Current Lineup?

    Okay, but I would just caution that the positions are fluid, particularly in a Popovich playoff series full of adjustments. And many of Zach's defensive minutes at center were matched up with guys like David Lee and Pau, who are arguably PF's first and C's second, according to a more traditional definition. Zach played "down" a position as part of the matchup and adjustments game. But, under no scenario was Zach not getting isolated and abused in the pick-and-roll/pop, whether at the 4 or the 5, and usually he was matched up more against individuals than at a particular position (on our end, if Marc was out there, Marc would take the better offensive post player and Zach would get the other guy, etc.; on their end, if David Lee was out there, Zach was matched up there, etc.) . So, I see the argument about "moving to center" to essentially be a non sequitur. Zach was abysmal on defense no matter who he was matched up against and no matter whether he was at 4 or 5 in said context. The rest of the argument, about what position had an impact, etc., is a bit esoteric.
  6. What's the Current Lineup?

    Sorry, but that logic is upside down. ZBO's lack of mobility, particularly laterally, and his lack of lift, left him out to dry on the pick-and-roll/pop, pretty much no matter who he was guarding. The "position" he was played at really had nothing to do with it, but, if anything, it should have theoretically been easier for him to defend against a player like Dedmon or even David Lee (who worked Zach over in limited minutes) than LaMarcus Aldridge or Pau, who have effective pick-and-pop and stretch offense. What would happen almost every time, though, is that the Spurs were going for the switch or that moment in-between the switch, and once Tony Parker, or whomever the guard was, was starting down Zach, the play was over - Zach was in no-man's land, on the retreat, and either Tony Parker was going to get whatever shot he wanted, or he was going to hit Dedmon, or Lee, or whomever for a rim-run that Zach was completely powerless to even affect. It wasn't just the Spurs starters who did this to Zach, it was their second unit guys too - Patty Mills, Ginobili, even Simmons. They would all just line Zach up in their sights.
  7. What's the Current Lineup?

    Something that seems to be consistently overlooked on this board (and in Memphis in general) is how putrid of a defender Zach Randolph is. He was never good, and he was probably never even average, but he's at a point in his career now where he's not even passable. Gregg Popovich beat the Grizzlies in the Playoffs by reverting to a strategy of attacking our weakest link on every single play until Fizz relented. I don't know if it was Fizdale's stubbornness or Zach's, but a refusal to take Zach out of the game to stop the bleeding defensively was an insurmountable weakness. Zach just isn't capable of being offensively potent enough to overcome his inability to defend anything, much less a Spurs pick-and-roll. So, a focus on Zach's scoring is really myopic, because Zach bleeds points on the defensive end. The Grizzlies front office has more than made up for Zach's scoring this offseason. The REAL concern, as many have pointed out, is the defensive rebounding. Our roster as-is, even if JaMychal comes back, is going to be terrible on the boards. Deyonta Davis has the physical tools to fill this role and make a nice career for himself, if only he was brighter and had more "dog" in him, but he's looking more and more like a mini-Thabeet (e.g., all the physical tools, none of the brains). Brandan Wright was a terrible signing from Day-1 and it would be a miracle if he could block shots and rebound at an above-average level. And then, there's no one. Jarell Martin? Ivan Rabb? We're just really, really thin down low. They've really got to figure out how to get another contributor at the PF/C position.
  8. MEM Summer League Thread

    I looked it up. I was definitely thinking of Selby. But, then I pulled up a video of Jordan Adams going head to head with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was the leading scorer in the Orlando summer league, but finished second to Elfrid Payton for MVP honors in a potentially-homerific vote (James Ennis finished 4th; Jordan Adams nearly led Orlando SL in steals per game and was 10th in points per game.) (Also, I would like to clarify: I personally hated the Jordan Adams pick. I wanted us to take Glenn Robinson III. And I could understand Joerger's frustration, because Adams was possibly the worst athlete in the draft. But, that whole situation between coach and front office was dysfunctional and this was just one of many dysfunctional episodes.)
  9. MEM Summer League Thread

    Come on, Chip. Summer League doesn't show, "anything?" You're not usually so loose with your words. Absolute statements are typically what get people into trouble. Summer League shows SOMETHING. If it didn't show, "anything," there wouldn't be a Summer League at all, because it would be completely useless, not just to fans, but to GMs, coaches, players, and the league office. Again, a debate about the relative value of Summer League really isn't all that interesting nor necessary. What we saw on the court with the young Grizzlies prospects was fun and interesting to discuss, at the very least. And there is something there to discuss, after all. For example, Geoff Calkins to this day will tell you that Jordan Adams, "was never an NBA player." He got this, he says, from Dave Joerger, who hated Adams from the beginning, and as such, never played him any meaningful minutes in an NBA game and never worked to develop him. Jordan Adams' career was derailed by an injury, of course - much of his tenure with the Grizzlies was marred by lingering knee injuries and he never really recovered from that, but not before he showed out at summer league the summer he was drafted and over-performed people's expectations. If I remember correctly, he shared an MVP trophy with one Kentavius Caldwell-Pope. And in a head-to-head with KCP that summer - again, if memory serves - Adams was his peer. From there, Adams went on to receive almost no burn from Joerger, got injured soon thereafter, and basically never resurfaced. And the takeaway narrative from that whole experience was, for whatever reason, "Well, Adams was never really an NBA player to begin with." Geoff Calkins sincerely believes this, because Joerger believed it. And we would have no choice but to just take their word for it, except that in one of Adams' only real opportunities to show whether he was an NBA-caliber player/prospect, as one of the youngest players on the SL court, he put in an MVP performance. My point is, the Summer League clearly and actually matters - which is a proposition I can't believe actually has to be defended, but what the heck, this is the Grizzlies Message Boards - and especially for the players. In some cases, players clearly disprove what has been believed and said about them up to that moment and in some cases they get a very unique opportunity to be scrutinized on their merits against equal competition. My point with the Jordan Adams story is NOT that he absolutely would have developed into a rotation player with a long(er) NBA career, but that his SUMMER LEAGUE experience was very relevant and important, because it was one of the only times we ever got to see him, and in my opinion, it absolutely flies in the face of what the public organizational narrative about him became and continues to be. So, when we look back on what happened to Jordan Adams, and Calkins and everyone for some reason wants the fan base to believe, "Well, he was never really an NBA-caliber player to begin with, he had no hope of being in the NBA" as if it were an open and shut case, that SL performance is still there, recorded, and is relevant to any discussion about what happened to Adams' career as well as what was going on inside the Grizzlies front office at that time (he also has 11 D-League performances on record). (For the record, my belief is that Adams was a bordeline prospect - like almost all of our late-first round and second round prospects over the past several years - who really needed developing to see what we had, but didn't fit Joerger's vision, and Joerger, in one of his many clashes with the Grizzlies front office, basically killed any chance Adams had of a career. The injury was his ultimate demise, of course, but Joerger's fingerprints on the lack of priority given to Adams' development are conspicuous.)
  10. MEM Summer League Thread

    I think Selden was trying to show that he can handle some scoring responsibilities on a second unit. He definitely knows he's not go-to scorer right now. But, last season he was on the roster because of his body and his defensive tenacity. So, he's trying to add another dimension with scoring punch. And I think he actually earned the chance to have the ball come his way on offense in the big leagues and see if he can still do it there. His shooting is still not there, but his athleticism, finishing, and creativity were all very good. I think it's interesting that every time anyone from the organization is asked about Rade, they are unequivocal that he is going to be on the full roster. He started to look more comfortable towards the very end of summer league. I think it's obvious that they feel very, very comfortable in their scouting of him. Hollinger has invested a ton of time in going overseas and scouting and visiting. So, I think Summer League was just a peek at getting him acquainted with NBA-level athleticism and the speed and pace of the game. Hollinger said one time that standout speed and athleticism from the college game generally translates to the NBA and that, in terms of what generally translates from the international leagues, he said size, skill, and IQ. He said the main question with international guys is whether they have the athleticism to keep up in the NBA, but good size, skill, and IQ can often times make up for middling athleticism. I think Hollinger was pretty much describing their scouting report on Rade at that time. You could see in Summer League that he is huge for his position and that he has very good ball handling and court vision for a player his size. Hollinger also said this week that what they're eager to do with Rade to get him working with their development coaches on his three-point shot in addition to getting him on a specialized strength training regimen. So, I actually feel very confident that they know what they're doing with Rade and they know what their end goal is. They know he's a little slow and weak, but think he can make big strides in a professional system. His three-point shot is already pretty decent, but with development he can turn into a consistent three-point threat, and with his size at his position he won't have any trouble getting his shot off. And they already know he has great basketball IQ and can put the ball on the floor and facilitate. So, I started the week really thinking Rade was disappointing, but after seeing him get more comfortable as the week went on, I can actually see the potential there with him and that it's not so far away as it seemed at the beginning of SL. Dillon Brooks is a similar read. His below-average athleticism looked like a huge, insurmountable barrier at the beginning of SL, but he also grew more comfortable as the week went on. I still don't know if he's a roster guy, but I can see it being much more likely and reasonable than at first glance. Like with Rade, it's his skill level that makes the difference. He just knows how to play basketball. His shooting mechanics are a bit strange and he is not consistent enough, but again, the Grizzlies seem to think that if they can work with him on that shot, that he can be three-point shooting wing who possesses solid IQ, ball skills, and scoring instincts. So, in terms of whether he's a prospect worth holding onto and developing, Brooks seems to have proven himself. I think Wade Baldwin is getting unfairly criticized on these boards. Some people are on this thing about, "He's not a PG." That is pretty much a criticism without a meaning - it's overly vague and condemns everything about him. It also makes (undefined) assumptions about what exactly a "PG" even is. And that argument is just tedious, not to mention almost entirely irrelevant to Baldwin himself and his development. I said earlier that Baldwin, "plays like an idiot." I still think that's true, but I thought he actually made strides in that department as the week went on. It could be because Cyprian was able to gain more control and instill more cohesion within the team as the week went on, but the less the games looked like a cocaine-fueled track meet, the more in control Baldwin looked. He can advance the ball, of course, without question. Once across the line, as rarely as this actually happened, he was more than capable of getting the team into the set. When the ball was kicked back to him out of an offensive action, he seems to have the ability to stick a catch-and-shoot jumper. His consistency needs work there, but he didn't look hopeless. Where he really struggled was as a facilitator. Out of the pick and roll, what I really liked was his probing for the mid-range jumper. That looked professional, in my opinion. What he was terrible at was choosing when to attack out of the pick and roll, finishing at the rim, and hitting the roll man. Out of the pick-and-pops he hit the pop man just fine. And, of course, when he attacked the rim in general it was an almost Tony Allen-esque circus as to what result you might get - he might end up with a turnover for over-penetrating with no idea where the open might actually appear, he might end up with a blown forced layup, he might end up with free throws on a bailout-type foul situation, or he might end up with a fairly spectacular finish that makes you think he might actually end up being great - you just never know. After watching all week, I think it's much too early to declare the Baldwin experiment over. His all-around and defensive game is not to be underrated either. Not every point guard in the Summer League is grabbing 10 rebounds in a game. Baldwin is not so far away from having the PG fundamentals down and everything about what he has struggled with is coachable (excepting maybe the finishing at the rim - which took Mike Conley several years to figure out). It all depends on his attitude, but with the right development, Baldwin looks to me like he could be a bottom-of-the-rotation guy with another year.
  11. MEM Summer League Thread

    I think it's important to point out that, with the exception of Caleb Swanigan, who was great, the Blazers were mostly rolling with guys who are a bit old for the Summer League. Whereas we played a core rotation of first-, second, and third-year guys, the Blazers were playing some guys out there who mostly had three or four years of experience. Antonius Cleveland is 23 with four years of D-League experience. Jorge Gutierrez is 29 or 30. Jarnell Stokes is 23, drafted in 2014. RJ Hunter is 24, drafted 2015 Swanigan, a rookie, and Jake Layman, a sophomore, were the only two first and second year players in their rotation. Our rotation, by contrast, was Wade Baldwin, 21 years old, drafted 2016 Wayne Selden, 23 years old, undrafted 2016 Rade Zagorac, 21 years old, drafted 2016 Jarell Martin, 23 years old, drafted 2015 Deyonta Davis, 21 years old, drafted 2016 Dillon Brooks, 21 years old, drafted 2017 Kobi Simmons, 20 years old, undrafted 2017.
  12. MEM Summer League Thread

    Buddy Hield is going to be an okay NBA player, but I think it's strange that Sacramento decided to ditch Ben McLemore and give the starting SG gig to Hield. Hield seems to have a bit of the Jimmer in him. In other words, he can absolutely light it up against equal or inferior athletes, but against higher caliber athletes, he struggles. Sac's best players are Skal and Fox, clearly, I think. I thought everyone played better in Game 2, but especially Martin and Baldwin, who both desperately needed to have good showings. Martin did in this game what he should be doing every game. Like YO said, no excuses, he should be this effective every time out. So, good for him for making it happen. Baldwin is such an enigma. He played much better this game, while still displaying some erratic tendencies and some other strange weaknesses - he can't finish a layup, for example. Baldwin's attitude is very strange to me and may be a problem. But, he showed some real savvy in pick and roll situations, looking much more comfortable probing for a mid-range jumper than he did attacking and going to the rim. He was also much more under control, which was refreshing, because it gave hope that he may actually be capable of playing a mature style of basketball. I actually think for Baldwin to be successful, consistently playing under control and within himself, without doing too much and trying to for real be Russell Westbrook, is the most important, and perhaps most difficult, hurdle for him. He has the length and athleticism to hold his own, even against elite athletes like Fox. If he can just make the easy play and learn exactly when to pick his spots attacking the rim, he can stick. And he may not be as far off as that first SL game suggested. Deyonta Davis still has serious work to do on his defensive IQ. Out of position too often. Eesh. Rade is a deer in headlights.
  13. MEM Summer League Thread

    Cheers, ya'll. I think the Grizzlies front office has to be disappointed about what they saw in that first SL game. If all of the talk going in was that the Grizzlies should have one of the most talented rosters in the SL, and therefore there should be a clear talent gap between the Grizzlies and their competition, it definitely did not look like that. If anything, the takeaway is that the young Grizzlies have not developed very much since we last saw them, with the exception of Selden. Wade Baldwin is long and athletic enough to be very good, but he looks and plays like an idiot. He appears to have no idea what he is doing in terms of basketball IQ and he also appears to have no better idea since last year this time as to what he actually is and is not capable of doing on an NBA basketball court. He's still got that dreaded Strotential, but his development does not seem to be progressing. Very disappointing. You want to see him bounce back over the next few games, but the longer this goes on, the less and less value he has. Baldwin was drafted ahead of, of among other players (Skal Labissier), PG Dejounte Murray, who looked very much like an NBA-caliber PG in his rookie season for SA. Jarell Martin maybe just is what he is - very athletic, with intriguing stretch 4 capabilities, whose offense shows flashes but is and has been too inefficient for the NBA, and who hasn't played basketball as long as everyone else has, and so still hasn't really figured out how to make an impact all-around consistently from play-to-play. Everyone has been talking about his development all off-season, wondering what the Grizzlies will ultimately do with him. Right now it looks like he's not on track to be good enough to receive a qualifying offer next summer, in my opinion. Rade gets an incomplete. Dillon Brooks looks like a guy who knows how to play basketball and has solid, well-rounded basketball abilities, but isn't quite as athletic as everyone else. Still, he can knock down shots and make good plays. I liked what I saw from him overall and am interested to see what he might become. That said, it seemed pretty clear that just athletically he's not in the same universe as players like Selden, and it's hard to see how he could ever be as good on an NBA court as even a player like Ben McLemore. Deyonta Davis is hard to read. This SL format is terrible for a player like Davis, I think, because so much it is played as an out-of-control track meet. Davis is defensive shot blocking and rebounding center. On offense, you want him to be able to rim run off of pick-and-rolls, set solid screens, and knock down a mid-ranger if need-be. Someone on here said that he needs to show more offensively, which is wrong. Davis' immediate value will not be measured on the offensive end whatsoever. If he is going to make it in the NBA and with the Grizzlies, he is going to be measured by his team defense, footwork and timing, shot blocking (while limiting fouls), and defensive rebounding. And after that, his rim running, screen setting, offensive rebound put-backs. And way after that, any other offensive contributions. He can be a GREAT backup center in the NBA is he just gets good at those defensive center skills. Bismack Biyombo is currently on a $17 million contract and has no offensive abilities whatsoever. From this perspective, Deyonta Davis is arguably our best young prospect, who is closest to achieving a real, lasting NBA career, even if he looks like an afterthought in these SL games.
  14. You made me do it: http://stats.nba.com/draftcombine/#!/scrimmages/thursday/?game=2
  15. Just google it, man. Andrew Harrison was the talk of the combine after the first day of scrimmages, because he posted the line I cited above. You can read it about it there. Or you could also double-check on nba.com, which has the stats I cited as well.