We’re down to the 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), Matthew Noe & rookie sensation John Hugar. Here we go!
Tony Allen’s 2012 season was . . .
Lee Eric Smith: Whelming. Not overwhelming like last year, or underwhelming. Just whelming. And that’s kind of disappointing actually. Last season, Tony Allen was able to take over games with his defense — the same way that a LeBron or Kobe could take over a game offensively. He just didn’t seem to do that as much this season, and that’s due in no small part to his knees. O.J. picked up his game defensively, which cut into Tony’s playing time also. But I hope that with a full summer to rest up, a training camp and days off to rest those knees, we see Tony back to his smack-himself-on-the-butt swagger. NOTE: He’ll be in a contract year . . . so I’m betting he’ll be extra motivated.
Matt Noe: Another Tony Allen season. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Value for the dollar, his contract is easily top five in the NBA. His knees are the concern. This guy goes through more ice baths than a man who’s just finished a walk on the surface of the sun.
John Hugar: A revelation. Always a hard-working guy and a solid defender, but this year he was just ridiculous. He became the best perimeter defender in the league, and one of the few players who are actually fun to watch playing defense. I think the injury was effecting him a bit in the playoffs, but next year, once he’s healthy, he should be amazing once again.”
If the Grizz bring back only one free agent from the 2012 squad, it should be . . .
Lee: I’m going to be a complete homer and go with Gilbert Arenas. Okay, fine. I wrote the blog that inspired Chris Wallace to bring Arenas to Memphis. My reasoning is this: Despite his relative lack of use in the postseason, he showed flashes of being the kind of backup PG we want. I think his lack of performance had more to do with conditioning & knee soreness, as well as trying to learn Hollins’ system on the fly. With a summer to get back into NBA shape, a full training camp and a clear role, I still think he could fill that role nicely. But it won’t be just a basketball decision, will it? And that’s where Gil’s amnestied contract still makes him a fairly cheap pickup — leaving more room under the cap to fill other needs. HeisWallHoll is all about shopping the bargain bin, and again, if you could pick up a player with Gil’s resume & skill set for pennies, why wouldn’t you?
Matt: Arthur. If he doesn’t count for this discussion, then Haddadi. Hamed understands what’s expected of him, and one day, he will average more rebounds per minute than fouls per minute (that’s a joke, sort of).
John: Marreese Speights, He played extremely well at times this season, and was a huge part of why the Z-Bo injury didn’t ruin the entire season. He has one of the most reliable jump shots I’ve seen, and he’s capable of putting up big numbers. My guess is, with Z-Bo healthy all year, Speights would be coming off the bench, and could potentially be the leader of the second unit. He’s a guy who we know can score, and can provide instant energy/offense.
This offseason, The Grizzlies should focus on . . .
Lee: Getting healthy. I still can’t beat this feeling that we have all the pieces in place, they just need to be healthy for a full season. I doubt we’ll be able to keep Speights, Arthur, Haddadi, Mayo & Cunningham. If I had to choose two of those guys, I’d go with Speights and Arthur. I’m also hoping they’ll work on developing Josh Selby’s game, and of course, the search for shooters continues. But I maintain that when all our guys are healthy and have time to gel, this squad is right there with San Antonio and OKC.
Matt: Finding guys who can shoot three-pointers competently. PERIOD. Whoever it is, wherever they can find them. It just can’t continue to be such a big hole in the offense if the Grizzlies intend to make another deeper playoff run.
John: Keeping Speights, and adding a backup point guard. Actually, the second part is the really big one. Pargo, Selby, and even Arenas could never really handle running that second unit. Whenever Conley went off the court, you cringed a little bit because you knew whoever was running the show was probably going to struggle. In general, making sure the Grizzlies have a solid second unit should be the top priority.