Boom or Bust NBA – Memphis Grizzlies

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Updated: September 10, 2012
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Welcome back to Boom or Bust.  We are at Part Three of this 30-part series, where we scour the NBA team-by-team, examining the best and worst young talent that each has to offer.   For a full explanation of the goals and methodology of this column, please read the full introduction.

Today we look some of the bright and not-so-bring prospects from the Grizzlies.

Memphis Grizzlies

2011-2012 Record – 41-25

After royally screwing themselves over with the Love/Mayo trade and Gasol trade, the Grizzlies somehow became a lot better than they would have been if they never completed those trades. All the pieces fell together, and they became a strong force in the West. No one said “Let’s trade Pau and Love, because we are going to get Zach Randolph in a few years and he is going to have a strong comeback year and lead us to the playoffs. Also, Marc Gasol is going to be one of the top centers in the NBA.” No one said that or even thought that. NO ONE. A healthy Grizzlies team is a popular dark horse pick in the West because they match up well with both the Lakers and the Thunder.

Darrell Arthur

Age – 24, Previous Season Stats (10-11) – 9.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.8 BPG, 0.7 SPG

The former Jawhawk is Mr. Solid of the NBA. Money from mid-range, defends well, athletic, great hands, strong finisher, solid rebounder, takes charges, block shots, and on top of that, tries to keep the ball in play after swatting it. Everything you want in a backup power forward, and more. He tends to foul a lot (averages 5 fouls a game per 36 minutes for his career), but the many positives outweigh the negatives. If he was not injured this season, he might have had a breakout year and been a contender for Most Improved Player (it is still a travesty that Ryan Anderson won it over Jeremy).

Arthur is no Derrick Rose, so the general public does not receive the latest injury reports on him, but he signed a new deal with the Grizzlies, so we can assume he is close to playing shape. A healthy Darrell Arthur will be an X-Factor for Grizzlies contention this upcoming season.

 Prospect Score – 7/10

 

Jerryd Bayless

Age – 24, Previous Season Stats – 11.4 PPG, 3.8 SPG, 42.3 3P%

Bayless was once part of a Portland Trail Blazers team with amazing promise, and I had countless hours of fun on NBA 2K playing a Blazers association that featured a Bayless/Roy/Batum/Aldridge/Oden starting five. Sadly that team never lasted, and Bayless has been bouncing around the league since.

Jerryd is an exciting guard to watch. He entered the league with a reputation of being athletic and explosive, with a shoot-first mentality. He’s improved throughout his career, but has never been a true gamechanger. He had a very impressive stretch last season as the Raptors’ starter, averaging around 18 points and 5 assists a game, shooting 45% from the field and 42.9% from three, averaging 2.2 makes a game.

Unfortunately for Bayless and just about every other scoring combo guard in the league, his style of play is not the most desirable and is often criticized for not being a ‘pure point’ style of play. The silver lining for such players is that teams are effectively implementing these scoring guards in sixth man roles, and many of them have done a fine job providing firepower off the bench. Bayless should comfortably fill the void left by Mayo.

After four solid years in the NBA, a chance on the Grizzlies, a contending playoff team, could likely define the rest of Jerryd’s career. Memphis has Conley, Gay, Randolph and Gasol all as focal points on the offense, so Bayless should not have too much pressure trying to create for other players. The fact that he has developed more range on his jumpshot is fantastic as well.

Prospect Score – 6/10

 

Wayne Ellington

Age – 24, Previous Season Stats – 6.1 PPG, 32.4 3P%

Instead of being the great all around player he was in college, Wayne Ellington is just a shooter in the pros. Ellington had a bit of an off-year last season, but he still shoots 37.6% for his career, which is nothing to complain about. At 6’4, Wayne is not at the ideal size for a shooting guard and lacks other physical tools or skills to make up his physical deficiencies. If Ellington can shoot closer to 40% and make more (currently only makes 1.5 a game per 36 through his career) Ellington could be a valuable role player in the NBA. But until then… The former Tar Heel is just another good college player who is nothing extraordinary in the pros.

Prospect Score – 2/10

 

Rudy Gay

Age – 26, Previous Season Stats – 19.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 45.5 FG%

Hold on… Rudy Gay is still a prospect? Rudy is one of the best players in the NBA to have never made an All-Star team, and I could see him never making one in his career.

Since his sophomore season, Gay has not shown exceptional improvement to his game, even though he pretty much has the ideal physical tools to succeed at his position. The Grizzlies had their amazing postseason run without Rudy Gay, and in Rudy’s first playoff appearance, he proved he just wasn’t a go-to perimeter guy. He is not a good scorer, and most of the shots he creates are purely by virtue of his long frame. To make matters worse, Gay is not much of a facilitator either. The Grizzlies desperately need a true perimeter threat to accompany their Randolph/Gasol tandem. The current Rudy is not the answer.

Prospect Score – 6/10

 

Hamed Haddadi

Age – 27, Previous Season Stats – 2.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG 0.7 BPG

Haddadi’s greatest asset is his height. He is very productive per minute and was very effective spelling Gasol in the last two seasons. Haddadi has career per 36 minute averages of 12.8 RPG and 3.2 BPG. But coming with these impressive numbers is an eye-popping 7.3 fouls in the same 36 minutes.

Hamed Haddadi has a fun name to say, great for expanding the worldwide popularity of basketball but offers little else. I see him sticking around for a couple more years to fill in NBA benches just because it never hurts to have a rebounding and shot blocking 7-footer.

Prospect Score – 1.5/10

 

DJ Kennedy

Age – 22, Previous Season Stats – 6.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG

Who is DJ Kennedy? Kennedy only played in two games at the end of last season for the Cavaliers. I really have nothing to say about DJ Kennedy. I don’t think Cavs fans know who DJ Kennedy is. Do you know who DJ Kennedy is?  Someone?  Anyone?

Prospect Score – ?/10

 

Quincy Pondexter

Age – 24, Previous Season Stats – 4.2 PPG, 2.0 RPG

6’6 athletic wings are a dime a dozen in the NBA, and Quincy does little to separate himself from anyone else, but he did get some considerably burn in the most recent postseason and played admirably. He does what he’s asked to do, and plays within the flow of the offense and defense because that’s all he can really do. Quincy could be a solid role player or system player if he’s lucky.

Prospect Score – 2.5/10

 

Josh Selby

Age – 21, Previous Season Stats – 2.3 PPG, 1.1 APG

In the 2011 draft, I was convinced that Josh Selby would be the steal of the draft. In that long summer following the draft, Josh Selby graced many lockout summer game highlights, and proved that he could ball with the best of them.

Selby didn’t get much of a chance in his rookie season, competing for point guard minutes with Conley, Mayo, Arenas, and Jeremy Pargo. The good news is that Selby absolutely tore up the Summer League this year, and with Mayo out and no definite successor, Josh Selby could be in for a good share of minutes in the Grizzlies guard rotation.

And a fun fact, Josh Selby is reportedly bi-curious and hangs out with Dennis Rodman on weekends.  Okay, I added the Rodman part for effect…

Prospect Score – 4/10

 

Marreese Speights

Age – 25, Previous Season Stats – 8.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG

If  Speights was two inches taller, he would be getting paid big money in this league. But he isn’t 7 feet and he does not play ‘big’ enough to compensate for those two missing inches. Speights is a lethal mid-range shooter especially for a big man, and has a great touch around the hoop—A very rare skillset for young NBA big men.

Marreese is an average to above average rebounder, and is not a huge factor on the defensive end. His shot-blocking has not improved at all, and current NBA teams would just rather have a solid defensive big man who can protect the basket than an average post defender who can occasionally put the ball in the basket.

Speights could put up some amazing empty stats if he played on the Bobcats, but he is still a great weapon to have off the Memphis bench with his versatility.

Prospect Score – 4.5/10

 

There you have it – a look at the younger talent on the Memphis Grizzlies.  Feel free to leave comments below, and check back soon as I continue making my way around the NBA looking for the league’s best (and worst) young talent in this 30-part special, “Boom or Bust”.

 

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