Thursday, October 29, 2009

* * Grizzlies-Pistons: Memphis Falls to Detroit in Opener, 96-74

(Cross-Posted from Bleacher Report)

The new-look 2009 Memphis Grizzlies showed a lot of the same weaknesses as teams in the past.

Memphis had 17,000 fans fill FedEx Forum Wednesday night for the 2009 season opening 96-74 loss to the Detroit Pistons (1-0). They saw two glaring holes that must be filled for this team to gain respectability: bench depth and defense.

Preseason injuries did hurt the Grizzlies (0-1) and forced the team to go deeper into their bench. Allen Iverson did not dress for the game and Darrell Arthur is out for four months with an injury.

But the stat line for the current reserves were less than stellar. Rookie DeMarre Carrol, guard Marcus Williams, and second-overall pick Hasheem Thabeet played at least 10 minutes each. The trio combined for only six points, one assist, and nine rebounds. Thabeet had no points and two rebounds in 12 minutes.

Most of the starters played well. Marc Gasol finished with 21 points, 15 boards, and three blocks in 30 minutes of action.

Forward Zach Randolph had 14 points and nine rebounds in his Grizzlies debut. Rudy Gay had 16 points. Only O.J. Mayo (nine points on 2 for 12 shooting) and starting point guard Mike Conley (three points and three assists in 32 minutes) did not play well.

Memphis also could not force turnovers. Detroit committed only nine Detroit turnovers. The Grizzlies had only three steals for the night.

Two of the three steals were made by the reserves after the game was decided. Rip Hamilton scored 25 points on only 19 shots and Ben Gordon came off the bench to score 22 points in 26 minutes by shooting 4 of 7 from three-point range.

Detroit was able to build a 10-point lead just before halftime and Memphis could never challenge.

Things are not going to get easier for Memphis as they host Toronto on Friday. The Raptors (1-0) topped Cleveland 101-91 on Wednesday despite a triple-double by LeBron James.

Notes: The Grizzlies set an NBA record with their ninth straight season-opening loss...Detroit has won eight of their last nine regular season games against Memphis, including a five-game winning streak.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Memphis Grizzlies Report #2 - Snap Reaction - Pistons at Grizzlies

Snap Reaction to the Grizzlies' 96-74 loss to Detroit at FedEx Forum Wednesday night. We talk about the game: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Four Questions, Four Predictions: A Preview of the 2009 Memphis Grizzlies

(NOTE: cross posted from my piece at Bleacher Report)

The 2009 Memphis Grizzlies will be one of the most interesting stories in the NBA. With new additions Allen Iverson, Zach Randolph and the second-overall pick Hasheem Thabeet, the team have improved. But will that increase in scoring and talent lead to more wins and (dare I say it) a spot in the playoffs?
As the season is about to begin, let's ask four questions and made four predictions about the new season.

Question No. 1: Will AI start?

That one has been answered. No, for now. According to the Sporting News and other sources, Iverson will come off the bench as he rehabs a hamstring injury. Mike Conley, Jr. has been decent in the preseason. With the makeup of this team, I think Conley can be steady at point guard.
However, if healthy, AI will be the starter.

Prediction No. 1: AI will have nagging injuries all season and Conley will get more starts that people think.
The whole "Should Allen Iverson start?" debate is rather silly. If he was wiling to come off the bench, he could have stayed in Detroit. Or, he could have gone anywhere in the league.
He wants his minutes and shots. You better believe the Grizzlies "management" told him that he would be the starting point guard.
But my hunch is that the hamstring will only be one is a series of small injuries AI will have throughout the year.

Question No. 2: Will there be a breakout rookie on the Grizzlies' roster?
Center Hasheem Thabeet will not be getting a lot of playing time as he is still developing his offensive skill set. He will see some action if the team wants to give Marc Gasol a rest.
The two players to watch are both forwards: Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll. Both players will be bigger contributors in Year One than Thabeet and should be solid reserve players. But I do not see any rookie on the roster putting up big numbers.

Prediction No. 2:
Thabeet will have a decent second-half of the season and will exceed expectations.
Let's be honest. If he averages 12 points with eight boards and three blocks, it would be better than what people expect.
I am curious about this prediction though. Tell me in the comments: What do you think Thabeet will average in his rookie season.

Question No. 3: Who will be the team's primary scorer?
Good question. I have no clue. My hunch: O.J. Mayo. He showed what he could do late last season. He put up numbers that was good enough to finish second in the Rookie of the Year race last year.
Rudy Gay is also a strong choice. Of course, he is playing for a new contract. Gay and the Grizzlies "management" are talking about a contract extension. If there is not a contract in place by Oct. 31, he becomes a restricted free agent next summer. So a good season can net him a big offer sheet that the Grizzlies can match or not.
The other big names: Zach Randolph will get his shots and points, but is not really a primary scorer and Iverson is currently injured and will need to play himself into shape.

Prediction No. 3: You just saw it. O.J. Mayo will emerge as the primary scorer for the team as Rudy Gay will have a below average numbers.

Question #4: Will the Grizzlies win 41 games this season?
They went 24-58 last season. If I say yes, that means I believe Memphis will go .500 this season. If they were in the East, it would be a lock.
The team can score. But they will have trouble keeping opponents under 100 points a game. If they had one less scorer and one more perimeter defender, the team would probably be better off.
Compared to last season, they have a deeper bench and they have better overall talent.
Of the "Big Four" (Iverson, Gay, Mayo, Randolph), one will have to sacrifice their scoring to defend and be a facilitator. One of them will have to give up shots some nights to help the team win. Will one of them do it? If they do, they can go .500 for the season.

Prediction No. 4: They will improve in wins. They will even flirt with .500 most of the season. However, do not expect a playoff run. 2009 Record: 38-44.

Coming up tonight

Watch for a snap reaction to tonight's season opener about an hour after the game. So there will be a special edition of MGR after the Pistons game tonight.

Pre-Game Report - Pistons at Grizzlies

What we are saying:

New era or error for the Grizzlies?

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Detroit Pistons

Geoff Calkins: Grizzlies' fans view new season as half full

What the Pistons are saying:

Pistons ready for opener

Kuester still undecided about who'll start for Pistons

Meet the Pistons

John Kuester makes his debut as Pistons' head coach after working as an assistant for Cleveland last season. Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons in preseason scoring with 15.8 points per game. The Pistons are 10-3 all-time at Memphis and 20-6 overall against the Grizzlies. The Pistons lost to the Grizzlies in preseason play 115-94 on October 7th. Only six Pistons remain from last year’s team.

Probable Starters:
#22 Tayshaun Prince
6-9 215
LAST GAME: Did not play at Milwaukee (10/23). NOTES: Was the only
Pistons player to start all 82 regular-season games and played in all 82 games for
the sixth consecutive season… Recorded his fifth consecutive season with 1,000-
plus points (1,163).
AVERAGES: 12.3 Pts 7.0 Rebs 1.0 Asts

#31 Charlie Villanueva
6-11 232
LAST GAME: Eight points and six rebounds in 26 minutes at Milwaukee
(10/23). NOTES: Signed as a free agent on 7/8/09…In 78 games (47 starts) with
the Bucks last season, averaged career-highs in points (16.2), rebounds (6.7),
assists (1.8), three-point field goal percentage (.345) and free-throw percentage
AVERAGES: 7.7 Pts 6.5 Rebs 0.5 Asts

#38 Kwame Brown
6-11 270
Glynn Academy HS
LAST GAME: Did not play at Milwaukee (10/23). NOTES: Shot 63% (17-27)
from the field in six preseason games…Averaged 4.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in
58 games (30 starts) last season…Ranked third on the Pistons in field goal
percentage (.533) and scored in double figures seven times.
AVERAGES: 11.0 Pts 2.1 Rebs 2.6 Asts

#32 Richard Hamilton
6-7 197
LAST GAME: 12 points, one rebound, one assist and five steals in 34 minutes
at Milwaukee (10/23). NOTES: Led Pistons in scoring for seventh consecutive
year last season…In 51 games as a starter, averaged 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and
4.5 assists in 35.4 minutes per game.
AVERAGES: 15.8 Pts 3.0 Rebs 2.5 Asts

#3 Rodney Stuckey
6-5 205
Eastern Washington
LAST GAME: 16 points, six assists, two rebounds and one steal in 35 minutes
at Milwaukee (10/23). NOTES: Appeared in 79 games (65 starts), averaging
career-high numbers in points (13.4) rebounds (3.5), assists (4.9), steals (0.98) and
minutes (31.8)…Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week (12/29-1/4).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grizzlies Report #1: Kareem and Thabeet

Memphis Grizzlies Report #1 - Kareem and Thabeet

In this preseason review, we talk about Kareem Abdul Jabbar possibly joining the Grizzlies, Zach Randolph as a leader?, and I play Guess the Attendance for the season opener.

Monday, October 26, 2009


This will be the future home of the new podcast: Memphis Grizzlies Report.

It will be a podcast featuring news, opinion, and reports on your Memphis Grizzlies.