Tag: Memphis Grizzlies

Trade Recap: Ariza to Washington, Oubre to Phoenix

Yesterday around 10 PM eastern time we got the news that Trevor Ariza was finally leaving Phoenix, heading back to the Capitol for his second stint as a Washington Wizard.

It took just 28 minutes for Adrian Wojnarowski to reveal the full details of the trade. Memphis was involved as well, as a third team in the deal. With Ariza heading to Washington, Kelly Oubre would go to the Grizzlies, and Austin Rivers, along with Grizzlies role players Wayne Selden and Dillon Brooks, would join the Phoenix Suns.

Wait, never mind. That’s not right.

With Ariza heading to Washington, Kelly Oubre would go to the Grizzlies, and Austin Rivers, along with Grizzlies role players Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks, would join the Phoenix Suns.

Woj must’ve messed up for once or something.

Or maybe the NBA’s just a soap opera full of hilarious idiots, like it has been all year.

See, the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies never once talked to each other as this trade was being figured out. James Jones never talked to Chris Wallace and Robert Sarver never talked to Robert Pera. I don’t know how, considering an NBA trade generally takes weeks of contact between front offices and general managers and scouts, but somehow this deal was thrown together so quickly that the two teams never talked directly and instead used Washington as a go-between the whole time.

The Suns wanted Dillon Brooks. The Wizards told the Grizzlies the Suns wanted Brooks. They presumably forgot to include the “Dillon” part of Dillon Brooks, because the Grizzlies then tried to send MarShon Brooks to Phoenix.

The Grizzlies refused to part with Dillon. The Suns refused to bring in MarShon instead of Dillon.

No trade.

The Lakers tried to get involved again. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wasn’t enough for Phoenix. Josh Hart was too much for the Lakers to be willing to give up. In the end it didn’t matter anyways, because Robert Sarver refused to let James Jones and the rest of the front office do a deal with the Lakers at all because he’s upset about how the Lakers acquired Tyson Chandler from them.

So, back to Washington, they simplified the deal and sent Oubre and Rivers to Phoenix for Ariza.

Losing Oubre in this trade makes this an interesting decision on the part of the Wizards. Even though it feels like he’s been in the league forever, he’s still only 23, and having improved every year of his career so far, it feels like he could have a major role in the league for years to come.

Coach Brooks has been openly been critical of him though throughout his time at Washington, particularly about his inconsistent effort on defense.

In Phoenix, he has a chance to take Ariza’s spot in the starting five and steal potential minutes away from Josh Jackson, who’s driven Suns fans crazy with his backwards development from last season. On a team that’s not especially focused on winning, he’ll get lots more opportunities offensively than he was on a panicking Washington team that can’t seem to get things to work despite the presence of two all-star caliber players.

It’s odd that the Wizards are making this move too frankly. It seems unlikely that they’ll be able to recover to any real extent this season, and Ariza’s only an upgrade over Oubre in the short term. Yes, he’s an expiring large contract, but so was Rivers.

He is a well-known veteran leader who already has a relationship with John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter, from his first stint at the team. That locker room presence is something that matters more than people realize, which the Wizards currently don’t have to any extent. He’s matured a lot from when his main role was intentionally injuring opponents.

Austin Rivers didn’t have the best of times in Washington. It was a situation that, frankly, was never going to work out for him. There’s too many other different guards and it’s far too different of a system from what he’s succeeded in before. I don’t know how they ever thought it was going to work.

Considering Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton are their only point guards right now, there’s a good chance we’ll see Rivers and Devin Booker on the floor together in the backcourt. As the season slides further away from them, he’ll almost certainly be given extended playing time down the stretch once tank season begins.

Now we wait for the notice that the Suns actually wanted to acquire Doc Rivers instead.

Advertisements

Joakim Noah Signs With Memphis

Shams Charania reported today that Joakim Noah had finally agreed to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies after weeks of talks between the two sides.

This may be the best fit in the league for Noah right now.

After the way he played during his time in New York, it can be easy to forget just how good he was just a few years ago. After a long period of time without any centers proving to be able to be the primary facilitator for a team, he became the first one since Arvydas Sabonis and Vlade Divac to do so and truly excel.

It was just five short years ago that Noah was playing the best basketball of his career. In wake of yet another Derrick Rose injury that season, which limited their star man to just 10 games, Noah took over on both sides of the ball.

He had a stretch of 18 straight games with over ten rebounds, and also once had three straight games with over ten assists. As a center.

That March he had 120 assists in 16 games. He ended the month with per game averages of 14.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.7 steals.

He ended the next month with a Defensive Player of the Year award. And with 322 points toward the MVP vote.

That placed him at fourth. For MVP. Four and a half years ago.

The three guys that fell directly behind him were James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Chris Paul.

The next year, Jimmy Butler broke out and became the team’s consensus first option.

Pau Gasol was added, and returned to an all-star-level form that he hadn’t been in since the Lakers were winning championships.

And Rose played more games than he had in the previous three years combined. Granted, that was still barely half the season, but it was enough to make an impact. An impact that would change the course of Joakim Noah’s career.

With actual offensive options on the team at this point, Noah’s game fell off a cliff. He still tried to play the role of facilitator, but with much less touches than he’d had in recent seasons, that meant his scoring would suffer drastically.

Add in the floor spacing between him and Pau being different than they had been him and Boozer, and causing his efficiency to drop too, plus a 13.4% drop in free throw percentage, and it all adds up to his points per game nearly cutting in half.

The next year he was benched in favor of playing Nikola Mirotić at the four and sliding Gasol over to Noah’s center position.

Then came the injuries. I suppose it didn’t matter that he was coming off the bench considering he only played 29 games that year before shoulder surgery ruled him out for the year.

For whatever reason, the Knicks decided to vastly overpay him. Already an unpopular signing at the time, his time in Manhattan went much worse than it was even expected to.

Season one ended with a knee injury, another shoulder surgery that would keep him out up to six months, and a twenty game drug suspension.

Season two ended with forty minutes played, without setting foot on the court since January 23rd, and having been banished from the team for months.

One waiving later, that leads us to today, signing with Memphis.

Don’t be surprised if he actually gets playing time there.

The Grizzlies are one of the more surprising teams this year, although it does seem like they’re beginning to crash back down to earth.

They also are a team that has no backup center.

So far this year, Jaren Jackson‘s been filling that role. The main problem with that is that he’s also their starting power forward. Ivan Rabb can play a bit of center, but that’s not his primary position either, and there’s also the fact that he’s not really in their rotation.

In fact, they’re in such a desperate situation that they have actually spent time this year with Wayne Selden playing power forward and Kyle Anderson at center at times when both Marc Gasol and Jackson needed to rest, with JaMychal Green having been out with a fractured jaw.

Essentially, among starting centers this year, there are three tiers when it comes to ball-handling and facilitation. Top of the list is Jokić, easily. There’s only two other centers that really even rival him as the best passing center ever, and that would be Sabonis and Wilt Chamberlain.

The other two tiers are more debatable, but I would say placing Gasol and Nikola Vucević in tier two and Al Horford and DeMarcus Cousins in tier three is probably the solution most people would come to.

Why I mention this is because it means that the Grizzlies offense is already built to have a facilitating center, unlike most teams. This would make it much easier for a player like Noah to fit in quickly. He doesn’t need to learn how to fit in with an offense that doesn’t cater toward the way he plays.

In fact, the situation in Memphis will amplify everything good about him, while hopefully minimizing his problem areas. He’ll obviously never be the player he was, but, in the right situation, he can manage to last a couple more years in the league.

Plus, people won’t be screaming into the ether about his contract anymore, now that the Knicks are paying him ten times as much to not be on their team as the Grizzlies are to have him on theirs.

Free NBA Picks for January 29th, 2018

Pacers -3.0 vs. the Charlotte Hornets

636477633074178912-USATSI-10450433

The Pacers find themselves at home against a Charlotte Hornets team that has been rocky on the road. The Hornets are 6-14 on the road this year.

The Pacers have been surprise this season posting a 27-23 record after losing PG13 in the offseason. Expect Victor Oladipo, Lane Stephenson, and Myles Turner to have a great game tonight. I think the Pacers will run Charlotte out the building tonight.

Suns +8.0 vs the Memphis Grizzlies

devin-booker

The Phoenix Suns have dropped the last 4 of past 5 games. The Suns however, are looking for the third win against the Grizzlies this season, tonight.

I expect the Suns to have a minor bounce back in attempt to stop the losing skid. I don’t see the Grizzlies blowing out the Suns considering they also have been team with constant indecision.

The Suns are 9-16 on the road, compared to the Grizzlies 12-15. You never have to ride the wave, but ride this one. The Suns +8 is too good to not take, if you can also take more points.I expect it to be a close one

Boston +1.5 vs the Denver Nuggets

Kyrie-Irving-4-e1511663917894

The Celtics have been brutal the past 5 games, losing 4 out of 5 including one defining loss against the Warriors.

I expect the Celtcs to bounce back tonight. Marcus Smart out of the lineup certainly changes things a little. But I don’t think the Nuggets are good enough to take down a team like the Celtics, especially since the Celtics will be looking to bounce back after a string of losses.

The Nuggets are on a 3 game winning streak, but I expect that to crash down to tonight with Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum having big games. If the Celtics do end up losing majority of the game, I can see the Celts rallying back. The Nuggets tend to give up leads to teams down the stretch.

 

NBA Week in Review: 11/1/17

After the first full week of NBA action, though it is still early in the season, a couple of clear points of analysis have come to light. In what most fans thought would be another season where it was clear that only four teams had a true chance at winning an NBA title, it can be argued that the dynamic of only a few dominant teams has been turned on its head.

Today we are going to take a look at six specific teams; one overachiever in each conference, one underachiever in each conference, and one team in each conference that is exactly where they should be.

 

Overachievers

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: ORLANDO MAGIC (5-2)

Magic Happy

At the beginning of the season, many experts had the Orlando Magic finishing at the bottom of the conference, given that they have a younger team with a lack of real chemistry together. However, led by a 3-0 start at home and the core of forwards Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon and center Nikola Vucevic, along with the defensive efforts of guard and recent signee Jonathan Simmons, Orlando has been able to put up a fight against ‘better’ teams, most notably with victories over the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers thus far.

Their 5-2 record has earned them second in the Eastern Conference, however this is likely a circumstance from a struggling Cleveland Cavaliers team being absent from the top of the standings. Though they do seem to be better than expected, it seems that their fortunes against elite teams seems to just be a hot streak, and we’ll see the team cool down in the next week or so.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (5-2)

Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies had finished last season with a 43-39 record and the seventh seed in the West. Though the roster from last season is very similar the roster of this one, there is one gaping absence in forward Zach Randolph. Randolph was a tough player with a lot of hustle, and with his absence it was thought that many close games would fall out of favor for the Grizzlies. Despite these speculations, the Grizzlies have been able to carry on as a team that seems to be even better than that of last year’s team. To go along with contributions from their usual stars in guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons has returned to form as the offensive threat the Grizzlies wanted him to be when signing him in 2015. He has been a vital scorer for the team, capped off by a 25 point performance in 19 minutes in a huge win over the Houston Rockets.

It is still a bit early to say for sure, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Grizzlies keep this play up. It is almost certain that this team won’t finish the season as the first seed that they are now, but a fifth or sixth seed finish should, at this point, come to no surprise to fans anymore.

 

Note: These two overachievers go head to head Wednesday night in Orlando. A preview from nba.com can be seen here:

Preview: Magic vs. Grizzlies 11/1/17

 

Underachievers

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3-4)

Cavaliers Lebron and Shumpert

The Cavs are stacked. Even though they lost their star point guard in Kyrie Irving, it is undeniable that the additions of guards Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade make a huge impact on the team. To most experts, this change meant domination in the East, and a sure ticket to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year. Despite this, the term “too many cooks in the kitchen” doesn’t ring more true for this franchise right now. Chemistry has not been at its best, especially for players like Rose and Wade who are trying to adjust to having smaller roles on the team. This on the fly adjustment has led the team to losses against mediocre squads like the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

If you are a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, I wouldn’t be too worried. The Cavs struggled for a lot of the first half of the season last year, and turned it around after the All-Star break. With a squad led by LeBron James, who has been in the finals each of the past seven seasons, Cleveland looks poised to turn this team around and keep his streak alive.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: SAN ANTONIO SPURS (4-3)

BKN Spurs Rockets 24

At the middle of last week, it seemed the San Antonio Spurs would make the list of overachievers, starting off the season 4-0. However, the Spurs followed that with three straight losses. This can be attributed to the Spurs’ changes to the bench, most specifically the loss of guard Jonathan Simmons, as seen after the Spurs suffered a blowout loss to Simmons’ new team in the Orlando Magic.  Without key players that the Spurs had last year off the bench, the defense has been lackluster, which comes as a huge surprise for a team led by Gregg Popovich.

The San Antonio Spurs have appeared in the playoffs for an astounding 20 straight seasons. As long as Gregg Popovich is coach and forward Kawhi Leonard is leading the team, there is no doubt that San Antonio will find a way to turn things around and even finish in the top four seeds of the conference.

 

Right Where They Should Be

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: BOSTON CELTICS (5-2)

Kyrie Boston Signing

Gordon Hayward’s injury on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers was a devastating blow to the Celtics that left fans disenchanted. However, the Celtics have been as dominant as predicted before the injury in his absence. After an 0-2 start, Boston has found their stroke, and are currently on a five game winning streak, and hold the first seed in the East. Point guard Kyrie Irving and center Al Horford have been performing as expected, while guards Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and forward Jayson Tatum have all broken out as young, potential stars that contribute to the team on both sides of the floor.

Brad Stevens has done an amazing job coaching this young team, and even without the services of Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics look mentally poised to maintain this elite level of play throughout the season and into the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers should be very afraid.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (4-3)

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves

The offseason was very kind to the Minnesota Timberwolves, most notably with the additions of guard Jimmy Butler and guard/veteran sixth man Jamal Crawford. Though it is evident that the young team still needs a bit of time to really gel together, the young players that lead the team are progressing right on schedule. Forward Andrew Wiggins is budding into an all star, and center Karl-Anthony Towns is arguably the best at his position in the league.

Once this team’s chemistry really molds together, they are going to be making frequent visits to the overachiever section of this list. Minnesota has many offensive and defensive weapons, and once they are able to use them as a unit, this will be a team to watch this season.

 

After a wild week in the NBA, it can be expected that we are in for a ride for the entire season, and regardless of team records, fans everywhere are winning right now.