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Seeing as how I think all of us in Grizz Nation figured we had at least another week (maybe two) before the end of the season, the guys at 3SOB had to recover from our site-wide Game 7 hangover. That took a couple of days. But now that we’ve had time to catch our breath, exhale, and replace the things we broke after the Grizz lost an ugly Game 7 to the Clippers, we’re rolling out the first of a series of posts that will take a look back at the Memphis Grizzlies 2012 season — the players, the highs & lows, the future. Three bloggers, three questions each day for five days. Let’s get to it!

Mike Conley’s 2012 season was . . .

Chip Crain: Another step in the right direction. Mike continues to improve his leadership on the court and his ability to run the offense more effectively. He took a small step back in distance shooting but has shown the ability to hit them under pressure more than in the past.

John Hugar: Thoroughly impressive. He’s basically gotten better every year he’s been with the team, and this season with no exception. I already wrote a piece describing his value to the team, and why I think he’s underrated, but suffice it say, there are numerous times when he’s the guy holding the team together. Let’s just hope they get him a quality backup.

Lee Eric Smith: Probably underrated. For all the talk of Mike Conley not being an elite level point guard, we seem to ignore that he is a very good point guard in a league that is flat out packed with excellent point guards. Number 2 in steals, behind only Chris Paul — whom he quietly went toe-to-toe with statistically for much of the Round 1 series. I recently wrote that Mike should be willing to take over games with his own scoring. If Mike can find his inner Alpha dog, he might find himself in that elite conversation after all.

Lionel Hollins 2012 season was . . .

Chip: Tough. He dealt with a young team facing a lot of adversity and finished the regular season tied with the Lakers for the 3rd best record in the West. However, his reliance on Z-Bo in the playoffs and overwork of Gasol in the regular season doomed the franchise to an early exit.

John:  Extremely encouraging. Plenty of teams would have collapsed after the Z-Bo injury, and the 3-6 start. Hollins kept the team intact and guided them to the playoffs when it looked like they might be in for a brutal collapse. He also got career years out of Conley, Allen, and Gasol, and he got more out of Marreese Speights than the Sixers ever could. Maybe he made a few questionable choices in the playoffs (why was Z-Bo on the bench for so long in Game 7?), but he’s still the only person I would want coaching this team.

Lee: Impressive. Adversity happens. I just LOVE how Coach Hollins deals with it, and how he gets his players to deal with it. To incorporate that many new players into a system with NO training camp, lose your All-Star forward at the beginning of the season, and to get guys to play that hard every night of a wild 66-game schedule? Oh yeah, and he led them to their best winning percentage season in history, their highest playoff seeding and became the winningest coach in franchise history. Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

The Grizz Regular season was . . .

Chip: A complete success. No team outside of the Clippers made as big an improvement and the Clippers were fortunate enough to be given an elite player by the commissioner. Memphis did it without their best player for the majority of the season.

John: A lot of fun, and very encouraging. They overcame a fair amount of adversity to produce their best regular season ever (at least in terms of winning percentage). Basing things on the regular season, I’m confident that the Grizzlies will be a contender in the West for years to come, and will have many more entertaining playoff matchups.

Lee: Excellent.* Note the asterisk. The Grizzlies accomplished a great many things this season. Aaand . . . they did it with Zach Randolph sidelined. Meaning we STILL haven’t seen what this team can do at full strength for a full season. We haven’t really seen if Rudy & Zach can coexist. We didn’t even get a real look at Zach after that freaky “chameleon training” that had him in ridiculous shape last fall. We haven’t seen what this team can do over a regular schedule with things like . . . y’know . . . days off, practice time and a full training camp. Great season. GREAT, GREAT season.*

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19 Responses to 3 on 3: Season in Review (Part 1)

  1. GermanGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    Keep it coming, guys! Love your insights on the Griz.

  2. OinkyNo Gravatar says:

    im a huge conley guy, but the one thing that will stick in my mind is the 3ball he air-mailed in game 7. i suspect mike will come back stronger than ever next year and maybe get some all star votes.

  3. Grant AzbellNo Gravatar says:

    I think that we need to sign Steve Nash or Jason Kidd this offseason and let them split time with Conley 50/50. That gives him a reliable back-up and a guy that could teach him the intricacies of playing point guard, including when to take the ball in your own hands. With Conley’s speed, there is no reason that he is not driving the lane more to either collapse the defense and get an easy outlet pass, or score an easy lay-up. Mike has the tools to become an elite point guard. Why not sign an elite guy in the twilight of his career for him to learn from?

  4. EvanNo Gravatar says:

    I love this team and how far they have come. Only good things in the future for the Grizz!

    Keep up the great work, guys!

  5. Larry HarrisNo Gravatar says:

    Things we’ll never know: Had MC driven the ball to the basket in Game 3 (?) or was it 4, instead of looking to pass to Rudy for an impossible shot, the whole series may have had a different outcome. . . and if a bullfrog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt!!! Rave on, guys.

  6. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    Mike needs to get more aggressive on the offense end, for himself and the team. But who would have thought that contract would work out. He is probably the best value point guard on a non-rookie deal outside of Steve Nash right now.

  7. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    Good stuff guys. I’m all aboard the Conley train, especially given the obvious improvements he makes every year.

    I think Coach Hollins did the best he could with what he had to work with … Zbo going down forced us to get rid of Vasquez … so we were down a steady backup PG and out our stud PF for practically the entire season. We didn’t have time in the last month of the season to figure out “who we were” in regards to who our offense would run through and what kind of rotation would work most effectively. I really believe we’re an inside-out team ala/circa 2010-11. Gasol and Zbo dominating the paint, keep Rudy and Mike driving inside, sign a couple of specialist outside shooters to balance the paint, and work on those dang’ed close quarter bounce passes in the offseason.

    I know this 2012 playoff series was one of the most frustrating sports-related series of events I’ve ever had to endure .. by far … but I’m still very encouraged about this team and I think/believe with the right couple of moves by Chris Wallace that this squad will be fairly dominant next season.

    Looking forward to the enigmatic question that will be “Rudy Gay’s 2012 season was …”

    Also wanting to see a question that reads something like “And didn’t we sign Gilbert Arenas specifically to play in the postseason/take more than one shot in the post season?”

  8. Andy WatersNo Gravatar says:

    How does buying a player out work? I’m guessing it’s something like an amnesty cut, except more of a mutually beneficial agreement?

    • Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

      Buying out a contract is usually done for something less than full value but it allows the player to find employment elsewhere. It works like this (in principle):
      1) The team puts the player on waivers
      2) assuming no one claims him, his salary will be either reduced or even eliminated. Payment schedules for the remaining money may be extended or shortened as well if signed under the previous CBA
      3) The player is then free to seek employment elsewhere.

  9. Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

    The Amnesty Provision allows a team to pay off a players contract, cut him from the team and not have his salary count against the salary cap. This is a one-time provision during this CBA. A buy-out will not relieve the team of the salary in relation to it’s cap number.

  10. AttNo Gravatar says:

    Sounds like we have all the incentive in the world to amnesty Rudy and go after Deron Williams.

  11. Andy WatersNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks, Chip, I was mainly wondering whether a bought-out player’s salary would count against our cap.

    Att, if we did that, we’d be paying 2 PG’s a third of the salary cap, and we still wouldn’t have a legitimate SF.

  12. GrizzdocNo Gravatar says:

    I want Andre Miller!

    What a great backup he would be to Conley.

  13. [...] another round of 3 on 3, looking back at the Memphis Grizzlies’ 2011-12 season. Check out Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 also. Featured lineup today: Josh “Red” Coleman, Chip Crain & [...]

  14. vahythelordNo Gravatar says:

    hi,, im from iran.. i love grizz for 10 years now,, im a blues rock guitarist and i wish i came to america one day…and this is my thoughts …..bring andre miller… keep arthur.. pondex and dante too.. play more haddadi.. but there is one IMPORTANT STEP…3PT shooting.. how about signing mayo and trade for ray allen?

  15. [...] final segment of our 3 on 3 Season In Review. If you haven’t already, check out Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4 also. Closing out the game will be yours truly (Lee Eric Smith), [...]

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