Grizzlies Overall Team Grade
Heading into the draft with three first-round picks, the Grizzlies came out of it with Xavier Henry, Greivis Vasquez and cash which is a good, but not great haul. Vasquez went a little high at 28 for my taste, but Henry at 12 could be a great get down the line. (Grade: B-)
12. Xavier Henry, G/F, Kansas
I think Henry is a top 10 talent in this draft. If Rudy Gay leaves via free agency, he could be a potential replacement. Even if Gay is gone, Henry is a major boost to their bench which really lacked any offensive firepower last season. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)
28. Greivis Vasquez, PG, Maryland
Memphis reportedly made a promise to Vasquez and that's another one that came to fruition. He might be a bit of a reach at this point, but fills the need for a backup to Mike Conley, especially since Memphis' earlier pick of Dominique Jones was sold to Dallas. (Pick Grade: Meh)
2009-10 Season Summary:
First and foremost, I need to apologize to Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, whom I dubbed the Notorious B.A.D.G.M. last summer when he pulled the trigger on acquiring Zach Randolph and the two years, $33.3 million left on his contract. Not only was Randolph extremely productive on the court, but he was also a good citizen who did not disrupt the chemistry of this young team or punch Marc Gasol in the face. Glad I got that off my chest.
Randolph helped Memphis have a surprising season as they almost finished with a .500 record. He and Gasol formed a formidable frontcourt, while Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo were once again productive and showed promise for this franchise.
With the good however, comes the bad. The Allen Iverson experiment failed miserably as A.I. suited up for the Grizzlies in only three games. Everybody knew No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet was going to be a bit of a project when he got to the NBA, but I don't think anybody expected him to spend some time in the D-League. Third-year point guard Mike Conley did not make the strides that the Grizzlies were hoping for, and he might be near the end of the rope as their point guard of the future. But all in all, Memphis exceeded everybody's projections as to where they would finish this past season and might be closer to returning to the playoffs than expected.
2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Marc Gasol/Hasheem Thabeet/Hamed Haddadi
PF: Zach Randolph/Darrell Arthur
SF: Rudy Gay/Sam Young/DeMarre Carroll
SG: O.J. Mayo/Tony Allen/Xavier Henry
PG: Mike Conley/Greivis Vasquez/Acie Law
NBA Free Agents:
PG Jamaal Tinsley (UFA)
PG Marcus Williams (UFA)
F/C Steven Hunter (UFA)
G Lester Hudson (UFA)
2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $65.3 million
2010-11 League Salary Cap: $58 million
Grizzlies sign PG Acie Law to 1-year, league minimum deal
Grizzlies sign SG Tony Allen to 3-year, $10 million deal
Grizzlies re-sign SF Rudy Gay to 5-year, $81.6 milllion deal
Grizzlies acquire Cash Considerations from Mavericks for G Dominique Jones (25th pick)
Grizzlies do not extend qualifying offer to Ronnie Brewer making him unrestricted free agent
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. What to do with Rudy?- Rudy Gay is a restricted free agent meaning any team can attempt to sign him to a contract offer, but the Grizzlies have the right to match that contract. Memphis management has stated that they will do just that, which could be a bluff since they would likely be very reluctant to give Gay a max value contract if that is what some team offered. At the same time, the Grizzlies would be kicking themselves if they let Gay walk without getting anything in return for his services.
So Memphis must either try to sign him to an extension or possibly try to work out a sign-and-trade deal that would net them some assets. Gay could also follow in David Lee's footsteps from a year ago and play out the final year of his rookie contract, and then become an unrestricted free agent which would truly free himself from Memphis.
2. Point Guard- Mike Conley has yet to live up to his billing as the fourth-overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. He has not been terrible as their floor leader, but certainly underwhelming which has been a bit discouraging from management's point of view. The former Buckeye is entering the final year of guaranteed money and then has a $6.5 million qualifying offer for the 2011-2012 before his rookie contract expires and he becomes a free agent. Memphis must decide if he is their long-term answer or if the organization needs to go in another direction at the point which they could address with one of their three first-round picks. Regardless, the Grizzlies will need to bring somebody in since backups Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Williams are both free agents.
3. Bench Scoring- Rookie Sam Young was the only Memphis bench player to average more than five points per game last season. That's not going to cut it. Ronnie Brewer should help provide some scoring punch, but he is more known for his defensive game than his ability on the offensive end. Finding a scorer who can hit the three ball is also important considering Marcus Williams was the only bench player to shoot better than 20 percent from three at a still-struggling 29.6 percent. With three first-round picks in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Grizzlies should be able to add a player or two who can contribute immediately by scoring the basketball and providing some much-needed depth and play-making ability to the second unit.