Well, we’ve arrived. Draft Day 2009 is here, and nobody knows what the heck The Memphis Grizzlies are going to do. Some speculate that even includes the Grizzlies Front Office of Mike Heisley and Chris Wallace.
Will it be Rubio or Thabeet?
If it’s Rubio, will he stay and play? Or will he be traded?
If Rubio’s traded, will we get Kevin Love back in Beale St. Blue? If he’s not traded, what does it mean for Mike Conley?
If it’s Thabeet, what does it mean for our frontline? And would it be possible for an already skeptical fanbase to care even LESS about the team?
All of this uncertainty around what Memphis will do is certainly nerve wracking for those of us who can’t stand the suspense. Me? I like suspense. And while it seems the pundits, analysts and GMs of the world think the Grizzlies brass are just dumb, I’m betting on the Grizzlies’ front office just playing dumb.
Paraphrasing from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: Be unpredictable. The reason that works is because people can’t plan for you. And while the Clippers will land Blake Griffin (who would help us out A LOT), this draft clearly goes through Memphis. And that’s not a bad place to be.
Keep this in mind: When you went to bed on draft night last year, Kevin Love was holding up a Grizzlies jersey. When you woke up, we had O.J. Mayo — who led rookies in scoring last year. I’d say that turned out alright. But the better question is this: Did you see it coming?
So here are a few things I’d expect from our team tomorrow night:
- This draft isn’t about getting more rookie talent. We’ve got enough of that. It’s about getting a veteran — preferably a seasoned winner who can catalyze this team into something special.
- A deal will likely materialize out of nowhere from none of the lottery teams we’re discussing. That means no deals with SAC, OKC or MIN. At least not yet. It DOES mean watch out for a deal from somewhere like CHI, PHX, TOR, NYK or MIA. Maybe even Charlotte. (Or did you have ANY idea that Richard Jefferson would be a Spur today?)
- Don’t be surprised if the Grizzlies skip Rubio AND Thabeet, to take another player for another team. For instance, if New York wants Stephen Curry but aren’t sure he’ll be there at #8 . . . well . . . (of course, the question is what are they offering?) But that kind of scenario could happen.
- Don’t be surprised if a deal doesn’t happen at all on Draft night. Sometimes, these things take time to materialize. For instance, let’s just fantasize about Chris Bosh coming to Memphis for Ricky Rubio and another player (Gay?). Well, Toronto would need to negotiate his extension on our behalf most likely, which means the deal would take time to ferment.
- Don’t forget free agency. This draft is clearly just part of a larger plan. And forget what you heard: Unless a player is on a “I wanna win a championship” quest, they WILL come to Memphis, if the coin is good. Mostly because they know that they can still be traded into another situation later. Ask Joe Johnson why he went to Atlanta — a team that sucked and had NO fans. We may have to overpay a bit. But they WILL come if we pay.
So enjoy it, dear readers . . . the Grizzlies Front Office knows it needs to make a splash this offseason, preferably on Draft Night. They have to, in order to generate some excitment for the franchise in the Bluff City. I’m betting it’ll be a semi- or full-blown blockbuster that at least makes us Denver-lite.
Then again, we could end up with Thabeet.