Archive for the ‘Memphis Grizzlies’ Category

The Mathematical Answer

September 9, 2009
‘Nuff digital ink has already been wasted debating God’s decision to tell Allen Iverson to sign with Memphis. So rather than waste anymore, The Hoops Manifesto steals a page from The Blowtorch and breaks it down mathematically.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

June 20, 2009

Some teams have all the luck. David Robinson gets injured, the Spurs subsequently have a bad year, end up with the #1 pick – voila, Tim Duncan – 4 titles, thank you very much. The Raptors luck into the #1 pick in the first year that the NBA age minimum takes effect, so instead of getting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant they end up with Andrea Bargnani. Then there is the case of the Memphis (nee Vancouver) Grizzled Bears. Things should be rosy in Memphis – they had the best odds of winning the Oden sweepstakes in 2007. Or if Lady Luck didn’t shine down on them they’d end up with Durant at pick #2, right? Wrong – pick #4 – Mike Conley Jr.

Why is all this relevant now you ask? Well, there is considered to be one prize in this year’s draft – Blake Griffin – and once again the Grizzlies will be on the outside looking in, picking at #2. Which should mean that they can grab the second-best player in the draft and be on their way. It’s not so easy though. The player many consider to be the numero dos player in the pool, Ricky Rubio, doesn’t want to play in Memphis. Whether this is due to a dislike for funky soul music or for the King of Rock N Roll is not known, but what is known is Ricky’s people are saying no to him playing in Graceland.

Which brings us back to a simpler time in history. The year was 1999. Hip hop music was still alive, but on life support. We all were sitting around waiting for the certain Apocalypse to come once the clock struck 12:00am on January 1st, 2000. And the Grizzlies were located up in the beautiful, cosmopolitan city of Vancouver. The Grizzlies were allergic to winning during this time (some things never change) and, due to this, had the second pick in that year’s draft. They grabbed the dynamic guard out of Maryland, Steve Francis. Big problem. Being picked by Vancouver made Stevie very, very sad. He was going to be homesick way up there in Vancouver. Plus, he claimed God didn’t want him to play there. Obviously the Grizzlies couldn’t argue with that and, with their hand being forced, shipped Steve to Houston for spare parts.

So the situation with Rubio is not virgin territory for the Grizzlies franchise. Turns out Francis wasn’t worth the trouble – whether Rubio is will be answered in a few years. But the Grizzlies say that if they determine that Ricky is the player that they want they are going to take him with their pick, agents be damned. Which is commendable – teams shouldn’t be held hostage by players or agents refusing to play for them. But, on the flip side, shouldn’t players have a say in where they will play? The rest of us normal Joes get to decide where we want to earn a living – no one tells your mom which street corner she is allowed to work (sorry – low blow) – so why can’t the truly gifted do the same? Yes, to be a professional athlete is a privilege and players should feel blessed to be able to have that job, regardless of where they are assigned to play. But, do you think a doctor or lawyer feel blessed to be able to do their job and would be willing to practice it wherever they randomly were assigned? No – they know they have their job due to busting their butts through school and have earned the right to live and work where they choose. And an athlete has earned their job by busting their butts on the playing surface of their choice and in the weight room.

So, despite enjoying the NBA draft immensely, I believe it should be eliminated. If we live in a free market society then athletes – just like everyone else – should be free to sell their wares to whoever they choose. But this would cause fatal damage to the most important thing in sports – competitive balance – you argue. Not necessarily. Teams are still bound by a salary cap and a limit to the number of players on their roster, so all the top available prospects couldn’t all join the same team to form a superpower. Plus, all players have different agendas and priorities in terms of their career. Shockingly, winning isn’t the most important thing to all ballers. Many guys would rather play loads of minutes on a crappy team than limited minutes on a contender. And to further prove that all players have different preferences, Rubio would rather play for Sacramento than Memphis or Oklahoma City. Apparently he sees something positive about the Kings that is lost on the rest of us. Plus the ego of many players would not allow them to play second fiddle to anyone, especially another rookie. So the salary cap, player preferences and most importantly EGO would ensure that all top players wouldn’t form like Voltron on the same team.

But, all this is is a Utopian dream that will never come true. So, in the meantime, what should Memphis and Rubio do? I say they both do what is right for them, which is what any of us would do if put in the same situation. So save your hate for Memphis or for Rubio and his agents – it is not their fault, it’s the systems. Besides, who can really stay mad at a face like this?