2009-10 NBA preview: Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have spent many years spinning their wheels. Over the last three years they have the worst combined record in the NBA at 68-178, they finished second to last in 2008-09 in home attendance, and in the second year of their latest three year master plan the ended up firing their coach. They finished last year with a 24-58 record, and while things seems very dark there may be reason to hope. Of course that was before this team added disgruntled NBA stars Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson in the off season.
This team has a very talented, and young core group of players. OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol are the future of this team. New Coach Lionel Hollins was able to motivate those players for a late season push that seemed to suggest the Grizzlies were finally on the right path. On top of that the Grizzlies had three draft picks to help improve this team, including the overall number two pick. What the front office decided to do with these assets is nothing short of troubling.
It seems kind of fitting that the hapless Grizzlies got the second pick in a one player NBA draft. With that pick they took offensively challenged Hasheem Thabeet. The only upside to this kid he is a raw shot blocker that may develop into a strong defensive player down the road. However they have added two locker room cancers to this team that could undue the gains made at the end of last season.
Iverson and Randolph are not good locker room guys, and unchecked on a young team like the Grizzlies could completely destroy this team. On top of that both of these players need the ball, and that will slow the development of Gay and Mayo. On top of that The Grizzlies let many bench players go to save money under the cap, even though they were far under the cap already. In the end this team made many questionable moves, moves that have divided their fan base, and their front office staff.