Herodotus

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  1. Nice work. This is correct. This is exactly why the team had to move on from Randolph and Allen, whether it means we'll make the Playoffs this season or not. The front office knew the obvious: The Grizzlies aren't getting any better with Randolph and Allen on the roster. We just weren't.
  2. The negativity in this thread is suffocating. The predictions of a conspiracy to move the franchise are straight up delusional. If you think you're sounding smart by predicting a conspiracy to move the franchise, you definitely do not; quite the opposite, actually.
  3. JaM Ain't Going Anywhere

    I see Pandora's Box has been opened. Just to reset something here: We all remember that in 2016-2017, Marc Gasol made 268 threes at a 38.8% clip, after having only made 66 threes his entire career prior to that. When something is said like, "NBA coaches [don't] make a big difference," we have to be careful not to paint so broadly that it's absurd. I think a bit of a reset on this conversation is required.
  4. Hello, Dillon Brooks!

    Yes, I do think we're in trouble in this department. You asked earlier, who is going to replace Tony Allen, and I said, "no one." I do think Selden is definitely the role player the front office is hoping can be inserted in the lineup as required to match up against the athletic wing scorers. And our opinions of Selden appear to be nearly identical. The trouble with Selden being our new defensive guy, is not only that Selden isn't the defender that Tony was (also maybe an unrealistic standard, since peak-Tony really was an all-time great), but that, like Tony, Selden isn't really a 3-and-D guy either. His jumpshot is better than Tony's was, without question, but Selden's not a knockdown, catch-and-shoot killer. I'm not as worried about Ben McLemore offensively as most seem to be. I think we got him on a very good contract, which matters in terms of whether he delivers value. I have a very high opinion of his catch-and-shoot ability as well as his pull-up off of the dribble. I think his finishing is above average. His ball handling and playmaking are below average (the lack of development of which may explain the difference between the expectations for him and his actual production). But, McLemore is like a JR Smith-type player, or a Nick Young. McLemore is going to be an ideal compliment to Mike Conley. We don't need, nor do we want, McLemore being on-ball, with the ball in his hands. We want McLemore stretching the defense and occupying a defender's attention off-ball, floating around, cutting, curling, rolling, and popping open for threes. Mike and Marc will find him. McLemore will get a good amount of looks and will shoot a good percentage playing alongside Mike and Marc. There's really no doubt about that. One wonders, maybe, about his maturity and readiness, and whether he will be a good fit in the locker room, and whether he's ready to "grit and grind" and give it his all, but the basketball fit makes sense. That said, having Parsons (if he's healthy) and McLemore starting on the wings could spell trouble against the better perimeter scorers. Fizz may have to work in some rotation that sees Selden out there more for the spot match-ups, as needed. Undoubtedly there will be a drop off in wing defense, just from the loss of Tony, but I actually do wonder how dramatic it is actually going to be, or whether it will be less of a dropoff than people think. Tony hasn't been at peak Tony and it's not like Vince Carter was a crack defender.
  5. Hello, Dillon Brooks!

    It's remarkable how much we actually agree, actually. Of course the elite teams have elite defenses. That has been a truism/Law of the NBA for decades. And, of course, those elite defenses are usually comprised of one or some elite individual defenders. I think where there is some disagreement is on this issue of whether, specifically, the Grizzlies can maintain success without Tony Allen, or more broadly, whether a team can be a Playoff team, or an above-average team, in today's NBA without an elite wing stopper. (I'm throwing out the issue of defensive center, because, as I said, that's not really the same discussion as the perimeter defender, and including centers in the conversation not only gets away from my original argument, but also broadens the discussion to such an extent that it somewhat meaninglessly devolves into a conversation about the value of defense generally). So, with that said, while wing defense is of course valuable, and is a consideration for every NBA GM constructing a roster, I think it's pretty apparent across the league generally that, no, you do not have to have an "elite" wing stopper to be an above-average team, and that is ESPECIALLY true if you're talking about a role-playing wing defender that can't stretch the floor (isn't a true 3-and-D - in fact, how many examples of this even exist?).
  6. Hello, Dillon Brooks!

    Yeah, but, that's exactly my point. Avery Bradley is better than middling, which proves the point that the value of middling guys is even less than his. The consensus wisdom is that Avery Bradley's special or elite skill is defense (even if that conception is over-hyped, it still is the conception). And even a wing defender as offensively gifted as Avery Bradley isn't considered to be indispensable (at least by Danny Ainge and the Celtics; even after their deepest run since Pierce, Garnett, and Allen). I thought about getting into the defensive, rim protecting center role. To me, it's really a separate conversation, because DeAndre Jordan and Rudy Gobert are not shutting anyone down one-on-one as their principal skill (that is, Tony Allen was seen going mano-a-mano against the other team's best scorer and playmaker, from Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, to Kevin Durant, etc. - these centers aren't doing that). Maybe if the League still had players like Shaq and Olajuwon, their roles and value would more resemble that of the prototypical shutdown wing defender, but, as you said, what they provide is an anchor to a team defensive scheme. The Grizzlies bucked a lot of trends to get to where we have been, one of them being that we opted for an athletically challenged, offensively skilled center while the rest of the league was looking for superior athletes who could block shots, position defend, getout and rotate and recover on a pick and roll, rebound, and not turn the ball over on offense. It's how we ended up making the Thabeet gaffe (really, one of the more stunning draft busts ever - he was never asked to do anything other than block shots and rebound and it was truly incredible that he couldn't do it at an NBA level with the physical tools he had; not denying reality, just saying, it was truly mind-boggling, the gap between, not just how good he could have been and how terrible he was in reality, but how low the bar was for him in terms of making a real NBA career for himself and the fact that he couldn't achieve even that).
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.)
  15. 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.)