The Memphis Grizzlies continue to add bodies to their roster in anticipation of a spirited training camp this October by signing veteran Mike Miller and picking up Josh Akognon off waivers from the Dallas Mavericks.
Miller’s return to Memphis was the major news maker as the sharpshooter chose the Grizzlies over Oklahoma City, Houston and Denver. Since Miller’s contract is mostly being paid by the Miami Heat as their amnesty player, the decision came down to which team could most likely get Miller back into the NBA Finals. In Miller’s opinion that team was the Memphis Grizzlies.
Marc Gasol and Mike Conley both campaigned for Miller. Gasol actually called Miller while on his honeymoon in the Maldives. Conley offered to pay for all his golf this coming season. Also new Head Coach Dave Joerger went to South Dakota to personally make a pitch for the team.
Miller, 33, has been in the NBA for 13 years and battled back issues for most of those years. A career 40.6% 3 point shooter, Miller is expected to be used in spot duty during the regular season but his real value is expected for the playoffs. In this year’s playoffs Miller hit 44.4% from the arc and an incredible 61.1% against the Spurs in the finals. This is the same Spurs team that swept the Grizzlies in the Conference Finals by doubling Gasol and Randolph in the paint and daring Tayshaun Prince or Tony Allen to beat them from the perimeter. It is hoped that pairing Miller with Quincy Pondexter will make it more difficult for teams like the Spurs to ignore the Grizzlies perimeter in the future.
Josh Akognon was put on waivers by the Dallas Mavericks in a cost cutting move. Akognon was a summer league standout for the Mavericks playing off-guard mostly despite his 5-11 height. Akognon averaged 17.5 PPG in six games and made 39.1% of his three point attempts. Akognon played 3 games with Dallas last season averaging 1.7 PPG and 0.3 APG in 3 minutes a game in mop up duty at the end of the season.
Akognon is a straight up shooter with little or no true PG skills and should be viewed as a poor man’s J J Berrea, according to Zach Harper.
The Grizzlies front office has had an interesting first summer of work. The team lost former Head Coach Lionel Hollins but hired long-time assistant Dave Joerger, re-signed Tony Allen, Mike Miller, Jon Leuer and Jerryd Bayless, drafted Jamaal Franklin and Janis Timma, traded for Kosta Koufas and Nick Calathes and now used waivers to acquire Josh Akognon. These moves combined with the trade for Nick Calathes gives the Grizzlies a full slate of players for the upcoming training camp. The roster could include as many as 17 players under contract even if some have only team option contracts.
Point Guards: Mike Conley, Tony Wroten, Nick Calathes, Josh Akognon
Shooting Guards: Tony Allen, Jerryd Bayless, Jamaal Franklin
Small Forwards: Tayshaun Prince, Quincy Pondexter, Mike Miller, Donte Green, Jamis Timma
Power Forwards: Zach Randolph, Ed Davis, Jon Leuer, Willie Reed
Centers: Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufas
If you’re starved for some Grizzly action, you can check out Mike Conley playing alongside Kyrie Irving and Paul George for the White team in the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase (presented by Nike), tonight:
Who: USA Select White Team vs. USA Select Blue Team
When: Thursday, July 25th, 8:00 CST
Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Watch: NBA TV