Thursday, May 9, 2013

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Why the Grizzlies Don't Need a Superstar

Johnny J

When Russell Westbrook, went out with a knee injury in the first round, I changed my perspective on who was coming out the west. OKC is number one in the Western Conference for a reason. Besides having one of the best scorers in the league in Kevn Durant, the absence of Westbrook, who averaged 23 points and 7 assists in the regular season, makes this an ordinary team, with one star. Ask the casual movie-goer: more stars means the movie is worth watching . One star, means the movie is not worth anything. So Durant without Westbrook, is like Abbot without Costello. So with that said, I changed my West pick from the Thunder to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are finding ways to win after trading their star perimeter player Rudy Gay in the middle of the season. But it's not about what they gave away but what they got in return. After the six-player exchange was all said and done, they acquired a young developing player in Ed Davis, (Go North Carolina) and veteran Tayshaun Prince, and throw-in Austin Daye. The Grizzlies, who lead the league in points allowed, just got bigger and more Grizzly. Both Davis and Prince are long defenders with a good wingspan. Prince's wingspan would make him about 7-foot-2, which is about 5 inches more than his height. He plays good defense, has good ball-handling skills, and can shoot from anywhere on the floor. I'll take that back in return for my star player who is now watching his former team from his couch.

Now you throw Prince in the mix with Defensive Player of the YearMarc Gasol and a talented power forward in Z-Bo, (Zach Randolph) and I say you have a talented, man-consuming bear attack!  I call it, "when bears attack for no reason"--NBA Edition.  No need to feed them, they roam in the wilderness. The same place Durant and company are going to play the next two game, Memphis, at the FedEx Forum, where the Grizzlies were 32-9 at home in the regular season, and are 3-0 in the in the playoffs. Sounds like its going to be another bear attack in the South. Just ask L.A. Clippers' Blake Griffin, who went into the woods and just wasn't the same after his bear attack. Yes Griffin is a hard, tough player, but he let Randolph push him around in the playoffs. Griffin is a big guy, but he is harmless, and physical teams will push him around.

The Grizzlies should be up 2-0 in this series against the Thunder, but cub Quincy Pondexter, couldn't hit the free throws. Too much pressure for the cub, who only has two years experience. But like every road team in the playoffs would say, "At least we took away home court advantage from them, by taking one." Now, the Grizzlies, don't have that sense of urgency to win, because they already did the hard part: Win in OKC!
The Grizzlies don't have a traditional "go-to-guy," but they don't need one.  It's like Erik Spoelstra says:
"Who's going to take the last shot? Whoever's open."
When you have a lot of weapons on a team, you're able to do that. Who takes the last shot for the Grizzlies? Whoever is open!  Give it to Gasol, Randolph, Prince or even Mike Conley Jr., who was just one assist shy of a triple double in game 2. Who, would you put your best defender on against Memphis?  Good question.

Whoever made the call to get rid of Gay (Part of the answer can be found here--Ed) made the best move for this franchise.  Defense wins games and that guy didn't have any.  Now every guy is the -go-to-person. With that mentality, who needs a star?  You have a whole team full of co-stars. All their names show-up in the credits anyway.  How do you build a team around the co-stars?  Just add more! I'll take that over one star who breathes the same air as we do. If he misses, its his fault. If the co-stars misses, its the team's fault. 

Memphis should get past OKC and either San Antonio or Golden State will be in trouble. The Spurs are too old and the Warriors are too inexperienced.  Memphis will advance to the Conference Finals and the Spurs/Warriors should be prepared to be mauled by the Grizzlies. No Smokey or Yogi here;  just straight Grizzlies.

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