No Gravatar

Sorry to say, another year of Grizzlies basketball has come to a close, but the 3 Shades of Blue team never slows it’s train! Join us for 3 Shades of summer, as we rally to put a proper bow on the 2013-14 season, cover all the bases of off-season analysis, and transition into the 2014-15 chapter of Grizzlies basketball. Over the course of this week, we’re putting our heads together for the first phase of “Unwinding the Grind,” consisting of a collection of “Friday Morning Five”-inspired roundtables, looking back at the year that was.

In the last edition of “Unwinding the Grind,” the 3 Shades of Blue team took a look at the decisions of the Grizzlies’ front office over the past calendar year. Today, the crew puts on its collective GM hat to assess the outstanding issues for management to address this summer. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below, and of course on Twitter!

1. What is the biggest decision facing the front office?

Credit: USA Today Images

Photo: USA Today Images

Chip Crain: What do they want the team to look like three years from now? Do the Grizzlies continue to play plodding basketball with Z-Bo and Gasol or should they move toward a more uptempo style by dropping one of the bigs? It’s a big decision but without that vision of where they want to go making any immediate decision is an exercise in futility.

Zach ThomasZach Randolph. Everything else hinges upon his decision. He picks up the option, I can’t imagine him remaining a Grizzly. And let’s be real, he has full control in his hands if he wants to retire in Memphis. 

Antonia BufalinoBesides finding ways to obtain shooters, I think the front office’s biggest decision is finding a way to take back Zach Randolph and Mike Miller. Randolph has emphasized his desire to stay with the team, often referring to it as his “home”, so I hope the process goes smoothly. Last offseason, there was a lot of talk on whether or not Randolph would produce to the level we needed him or if was declining. I think he showed very clearly this year that the decline-theory is not the case. He proved to be one of the most vital pieces this season, and that echoed in game 7 against OKC when we didn’t have him. Miller is another important one. The front office has to find a contract that will give Miller what he wants: fair money and years. Miller has stressed how he felt super healthy this year, and he feels he has at least 2 more in him. We are not in a situation to be able to lose Miller, and with him being the number two three point shooter in the league, it becomes important for us to try and retain him. His playmaking ability has also impressed me this year, and we need all the playmaking and shooting we can get. 

Steve Danziger: Zachary Randolph. How much money will this guy be making, and will he be earning those paychecks with “MEMPHIS” across his chest? Hence the title of the post, with this decision bearing the potential to rip this whole thing at the seams. I hope the answer to the latter portion of that question is a yes, but I do not envy the front office’s position with regards to the situation. I assure you that they won’t be structuring deals that put themselves in this position going forward.

2. Heading into the summer, what do the Grizzlies need most?

Chip: Without knowing what the team’s longer term vision is it’s only a guess but Id say a small forward who can produce and force teams to defend him while also able to stop the other teams SF. Seems simple enough but the Grizzlies have struggled finding that type of player.

ZachLess defense & more offense. We can’t keep up with the other teams offensively. We have enough defense. Our pace is slow. I’d like our pace to increase slightly and offensive efficiency grow to be a top 10 offense in the league. True scorer and a shot creator come to mind.

Antonia: I think I am going with sounding repetitive again and say shooters. Even with Miller, shooting is still an Achilles heel for us; however, I do feel we looked better “3 Point shooting” wise this season. It may have been the mere precense of Miller on the floor, but I did feel a little better about it. Though, not enough to where I feel safe playing the San Antonio Spurs. 

Steve: A fountain of youth. I think that more than anything else, the team needs to get younger. This team plays a grueling style of game, even though the pace is slowed down. Grit and grind is awfully taxing on old legs. Of course, youth is a vague concept, though, and would mean nothing if they brought in young guys that couldn’t play. I think stylistically they need to find some players that can attack off the dribble and get to the free throw line. Trouble with that, though, goes back to the first question… it’s hard to get penetration with two plodding big men allowing their defenders to converge in the paint.

3. Have any specific targets in mind?

Chip: Not really. It could be available in the draft, free agency or trade. The FO has shown no fear in making moves on this team so I wouldn’t be shocked to see the team make a move for anyone in the league.

ZachFree Agents: Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza, Mike Miller, Luol Deng, Gordon Hayward, Jodie Meeks via Trade: Thad Young, Kevin Martin, Bradley Beal

AntoniaI think I am going with sounding repetitive again and say shooters. Even with Miller, shooting is still an Achilles heel for us; however, I do feel we looked better “3 Point shooting” wise this season. It may have been the mere precense of Miller on the floor, but I did feel a little better about it. Though, not enough to where I feel safe playing the San Antonio Spurs.

Steve: This kind of piggybacks off my response to the last question, but I think the Grizzlies need their third big to be a stretch type guy that can shoot the ball. Joerger tried for a while to establish Jonny Leuer as that guy, but his inability to defend the pick and roll really cost him minutes down the stretch. I’d be fine with Leuer spending his entire summer shooting jumpers and watching film on guarding screens. As for external targets, Gordon Hayward’s a pipe-dream to unseat Tayshaun on the wing, but not many free agent options stand out. Going to be up to Levien and Co. to work the phones and make fire out of twigs like they did when they got Kosta.

4. What do the Grizzlies do with their first-round pick?

Chip: Take the best player available and don’t worry about team needs. Trying to find the right position player instead of the best player rarely works.

ZachTrade it unless there is still a dynamic small forward around. I can’t see Memphis sticking a rookie on the court with 4 vets to field a team. Only way we keep it is if we make a trade using other players to secure a SF via trade. However, as noted in #1, that all depends on Zach Randolph.

Antonia: They can do two things with it that I will be okay with: 1) Find a true SF that has a long-range a FG above 30% and a three point shot above 29% … 2) If Courtney Lee was abysmal due to an ankle problem and will pick up things next year, I say go for a true scorer who can come off the bench, get hot in stretches, score in volume, and most importantly- create for himself.

Steve: I hate to sound spineless, but my answer’s the same as it is every year… you draw up a draft board of the best overall players who fit what you do as a team. They don’t necessarily have to fill a need, but they should be able to be plugged into your system. If they conflict with what you’ve got, then you worry about it later. I do think for sure that the Grizzlies need to keep this pick around, though. They need to get younger, and you don’t do that by trading away your draftees. As for specific guys that I think will fit the bill… I’ve got a lot of homework to do between now and then to get to that point.

5. Who are your locks to remain in Beale St. Blue this year?

Photo: Kelly L. Cox / USA Today Sports

Chip: Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Tayshaun Prince. The first two because they are who they are and the last because everyone in the league knows who he is. No one is taking Prince this summer. Maybe he can be part of a package deal as the trade deadline approaches…maybe.

ZachMarc Gasol, Mike Conley, Nick Calathes & Jamaal Franklin

AntoniaMarc Gasol and Mike Conley. Beyond that, I can’t be too sure. To ease some worrisome fans’ hearts, I do feel there is an 85% chance Randolph will return. I believe something drastic would have to happen for him to say no.

Steve: In order: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Nick Calathes, Jon Leuer, Tayshaun Prince.

Don’t forget to check back in with us next week for the next step of Unwinding the Grind: Player Report Cards 

Share →

2 Responses to Unwinding the Grind – “Summer Dreams, Ripped at the Seams?”

  1. grizzfan85No Gravatar says:

    If prince is on the roster next year, I’m goin to be missing lots of grizz games.

  2. btrautscNo Gravatar says:

    1. If ZBO decides to exercise his full player option, he is gone. 100%. If he is unwilling to go below $10M/ year for 3 years, or $8M/ 4 years, I still assume he is gone. The question is what can the grizz get for him with an expiring $17M contract this year.

    2. Resolving the ZBO contract is basically a blocker. IMO – I am super bullish on paying ZBO $8M/ 4 years and then trying to get Pau Gasol’s twilight year contract – hopefully something like $6M/ 3 years… that hinges on Pau, Marc, & Zbo all being willing to do it, but if they do – they would be incredible.

    After that, more offense and more shooting. Moving Prince’s $7M expiring contract is a must. Resigning Miller. Evaluating how much Quincy can contribute.

    3. Putting a big offer sheet (obvs dependent on cap space) to Gordon Hayward makes a lot of sense. Trying to swing a deal for Jeff Green makes sense. Jodie Meeks could be an inexpensive target. Possibly making a run at Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza… There is also a possibility to move down in the draft with a package of KK or Davis along with our pick for a top 12 talent, but I don’t see us making that type of move.

    4. We’re early 20s, so there will be contributors, but we need someone who can step in and produce, or trade the pick to upgrade. we could move Prince, KK, and our pick to Boston for Jeff Green and trade fodder. Philly could be a team interested in a similar deal.

    5. I’d say Marc and Mike are basically untouchable unless part of a blockbuster deal. I’d like to think Miller is a definite resign and Tony Allen is tough to trade both psychologically and contractually. I expect those 4, Leuer, Lee, & Pondexter will all be on the roster. Zach is the big question mark that will be cause the domino effect.

Leave a Reply