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Grizz have pieces, but still far from a playoff team
With the league's youngest roster, the Grizzlies are still in the early stages of trying to build a truly competitive ball club.
Which of their young players are the keystones of the team's future?
Which have short-term futures in Memphis?
And which have no future there whatsoever?
Grizzlies 116, Kings 105
Short-term playersMike Conley is quick enough, has a nifty right-to-left crossover that gets him to the rim in a crowd, looks to pass and isn't a terrible shooter. But except for occasionally ambushing a passing lane, the guy can't guard his own lunch. Indeed, the Kings went at his weak defense whenever they need a score. In addition, his defensive concentration wanders when he's on the weak side. Conley would make an adequate backup point guard, one who could up the tempo. But chances are he'll never be a starter for a playoff team.
Here today, gone ASAPJamaal Tinsley's excuse for not playing even a modicum of defense is that he's been out of action for so long. But what was his excuse when he was a starter? On offense, he still tends to overhandle (three assists and three turnovers). For sure, he's a good-to-excellent passer but, as always, he'd rather try to find a shot for himself. Perhaps, he can help Conley's development. But the danger is that if Tinsley doesn't get enough daylight to satisfy him, he might eventually revert to the troublesome presence he was in Indiana. And if he ousts Conley in the starting lineup, then he might eventually revert to the overbearing troublesome presence he was in Indiana. In his previous seven years in the league, Tinsley has never changed his me-first game plan. He is what he is and what he always will be. Signing A.I.-lite was a dangerous gamble that could easily hamper the growth of this young team. Hamed Haddadi is a 12th man who believes he's an All-Star. But Thabeet has a much better upside. If Haddadi hailed from Hoboken, he would never have worn an NBA uniform.
Straight ShootingHere's a quick visit to the New York metropolitan-area newsroom:
The Good NewsAfter beating the New Jersey Nets on Saturday afternoon, the Knicks were riding high on a two-game wining streak. DYNASTY! After making an about-face and playfully hoisting a successful long-distance shot at the Nets' basket to end the first quarter a shot that just missed counting in New Jersey's side of the scoreboard by one-or-two tenths of a second Nate Robinson was benched for the duration. Hopefully Robinson's latest attack of juvenility will be his last.
The Bad NewsWith the loss, the Nets are now 0-13. And, injuries to the contrary, Lawrence Frank's hold on his job gets more and more precarious with each game. His pitiful performance against the Nets reaffirmed that Eddy Curry will not be the Knicks' savior this year. Brook Lopez is supposed to be one of the cornerstones of the Nets' future, but the game under discussion revealed that he has bad hands and is extremely slow off his feet. Rafer Alson's distress at being so rudely dealt from the competitive Magic to the downtrodden Nets is reflected in his listless play. Pity the poor Big Apple hoop-o-phile. Where does he go to get his NBA kicks? However, the evaluation of one bit of subsequent news is still undecided: Is the Knicks' overtime loss to Boston on Sunday good or bad news?
Vox PopuliI was surprised at discovering through one of your columns that both Phil Jackson and Bill Musselman spent several years coaching in the CBA. How many other past and present NBA coaches have/had the same history? Larry Leaman, Huron, Ohio Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write another list! Those who had some kind of NBA coaching experience, then worked in the CBA before returning to the NBA as head coaches include: Phil Jackson, Dave Cowens, Bob Hill and Herb Brown. Those who coached in the CBA without prior NBA experience and then became head coaches in the NBA include: Flip Saunders, George Karl, and Eric Musselman. Guys who either played or coached in the CBA and wound up being assistant coaches in the NBA: Cazzie Russell, Elston Turner, Larry Krystkowiak, Pete Myers, Don Zierdon, Mario Elie, Keith Smart, Rory White, Dennis Johnson, Lester Connors, Bob Thornton. Morton Wiley, Henry Bibby, Mark Hughes, Chip Engelland, Ralph Lewis, Scott Roth, Greg Ballard, Dan Panaggio, Jerry Eaves, Mike Evans, Michael Adams, Winsnton Bennett, Rod Higgins, Paul Mokeski and Mike Thibault.
Guys who played in the CBA and wound up being head coaches in the NBA: Rick Carlisle, Scott Brooks, Sam Mitchell, Terry Stotts, Sidney Lowe, John Lucas, Butch Carter and Kenny Natt. In addition, Hubie Brown, Larry Costello, Bob Weiss, Jack Ramsay, and Paul Silas played in the CBA's forerunner, the Eastern League.