Thunder's teddy bear when he was growing up as a pudgy kid in the East Bay.
Put a little mayo on it and... JUMP for a look at the 2k9-2k10 Memphis Teddy Bears!
Before we start counting the ways of the super lotto balls for the 2009-2010 Memphis Grizzlies, let's go back... way back.
You probably remember this:
A bear with a basketball under script
Or maybe even this:
But do you remember THIS?
AB1's Fav 5 Vancouver Grizzlies of All-Time
5. Bryant Reeves
The Grizzlies inaugural draft selection with the 6th pick in the 1995 draft was a big fella (7-feet 275 pound big) by the name of Big Country who had a pretty short NBA career ended early due to injury (i.e. the Oliver Miller problem). He's considered a bust with 6 year career totals of 12.5 ppg and 6.9 rpg and that insane 6 year $61.8 million contract [see Wikipedia for more].
Vansterdam Best: 2 seasons of 16 ppg and 8 rpg while sprinkling in a swat a game
I will take a second here and note the career averages of the #1 overall pick in that same draft were actually lower than Big Country's at 11.6 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
Who am I talking about? He'll be entering his 15th season in the NBA this year and he's no ordinary Joe! Well, I guess he was. Please put your hands together for...
Joe Smith: Sky was NOT the limit. Nice guy though.
Who's a bigger bust in your book?
4. Mike Bibby
Before he was battling Shaq and the Lakers Bibby was a member of Canada's other NBA squad.
- 1998-1999 [age 20]: 13.2 ppg, 6.5 apg, 2.7 rpg, 1.6 stl
- 1999-2000 [age 21]: 14.5 ppg, 8.1 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.6 stl
- 2000-2001 [age 22]: 15.9 ppg, 8.4 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.3
Oddly enough the closest Bibby ever got to those assist totals post-Vancouver was 6.8 apg with the Sacramento Kings in 2004-2005. During most of his post-Vancouver days his assist average was ~5 apg.
So why would you trade an up and coming PG with those kind of totals at that young age? If I remember correctly the Vancouver Grizz were in full blow-out mode and there was some serious beef between Bibby and fellow Pac-10 alum Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
3. Michael Dickerson
Before his sad early retirement at the age of 28 in Memphis [CBC Sports], Dickerson was a solid swingman teaming up with Arizona backcourt buddy Mike Bibby in the Vancouver backcourt. Because of injuries he only played a total of 10 games in his last two seasons with the Grizzlies when they moved to Memphis. It was abundantly clear that the hoops gods wanted Dickerson to be a VANCOUVER Grizzlie, not a MEMPHIS Grizzlie.
Just ask the legendary Knick and Warrior John Starks.
Dickerson was quite the enforcer in Vancouver.
Vansterdam Best: 18.2 ppg in 1999-2000
2. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Todd Bozeman's greatest Cal hoops recruit SAR was a supremely talented balla who took home Pac-10 player of the year honors as a freshman. Abdur-Rahim has had a very nice NBA career, but I was honestly expecting much more from him back in 1996. I was thinking potential Hall of Famer <sigh>, but things didn't exactly go down like that. His odd 1.5 season stint in Portland really seemed to be end of SAR's path to stardom. Back then any time spent in Jail(Blazers) would do that to you.
- 1996-1997 (All-NBA Rookie 1st Team) [age 20]: 18.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.2 ast, 1.0 blk, 1.0 stl
- 1997-1998 [age 21]: 22.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.9 blk, 1.1 stl
- 1998-1999 [age 22]: 23.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.1 blk, 1.4 stl
- 1999-2000 [age 23]: 20.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.1 blk, 1.1 stl
- 2000-2001 [age 24]: 20.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.0 blk, 1.1 stl
1. Steve Francis
Stevie didn't exactly give Vancouver the thumbs up to select him with the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.
Here's an often ignored fact for you. Stevie Franchise (questionable nickname) was turnover prone and made a ton of poor decisions with the rock during his stints in Houston (much to Coach Jeff Van Gundy's irritation which led him being shipped out), Orlando, and New York, but he didn't have a single of these during his (very brief) stop in Vancouver. The Grizzlies got the last laugh too [FanHouse].
I guess it all worked out in Graceland.
Vansterdam Best: ZERO turnovers
Which brings us fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you want to slice it with your Graceland bear claws) to the MEMPHIS Grizzlies...
Quick- which player would you rather have after seeing their rookie stats per 36?
- Rookie A (per 36): 15.8 ppg (53.8 TS%), 12.9 rpg, 1.5 apg : 2.1 tov, 0.9 blk, 0.6 stl
- Rookie B (per 36): 17.5 ppg (53.9 TS%), 3.6 rpg, 3.0 apg :
(Thanks as always to Basketball Reference for the stats.)
Rewinding 2k8-2k9 Season
Good thing the Grizzlies stole Gasol from the Lake-show! It's already paying dividends.
One thing's for sure. The Grizzlies OWN the Warriors.
- 79-grizzlie">RECAP: Warriors 79, Grizzlies 90: Are you kidding me?
- RECAP: Warriors 104, Grizzlies 109 - Cool Runnings!
- RECAP: Warriors 109 Grizzlies 114 - REF U SUCK?
Projecting 2k9-2k10 Season
41 wins - 41 losses
You can do worse than a lineup of:
PG: Allen Iverson/ Mike Conley/ Marcus Williams
SG: O.J. Mayo/ Marko Jaric
SF: Rudy Gay/ DeMarre Carroll
PF: Zach Randolph/ Darrell Arthur/ Steven Hunter
C: Marc Gasol/ Hasheem Thabeet/ Hamed Haddadi
Not much worse defensively mind you, but offensively that ain't half bad.
29 other teams are going to feel dumb this season for not answering the call.
Allen Iverson: Maybe not THE Answer, but Definitely AN Answer
The biggest offseason news for the Grizzlies and during the annual super slow NBA September was Allen Iverson signing with the Memphis Grizzlies for a bargain basement 1 year rental fee of $3.5 million.
See SBNation.com story stream: Not Ready for the Rocking Chair: Memphis Introduces Iverson
The hoops world can be very funny sometimes. Somewhere along the way Chauncey Billups went from being a very solid and underappreciated point guard to the most overrated player in the entire NBA and Allen Iverson went from being a true warrior and one of the league's greatest players to spectaculary underrated. (See the discussion in Polling GSoM: Based on their stats Guard A or Guard B?)
Make no mistake. Age 34 Allen Iverson is not an age 34 Michael Jordan (last Chicago Bulls season + NBA Champion). Iverson is not going to lead a team to a title as the #1 guy. AI has some flaws in his game at this age, notably his defensive decline and intensity. He simply is not the ballhawk he used to be early in his career, routinely netting over 2.4 steals a game and being a regular menace of D. I think everyone knows that by know. But that doesn't mean he still isn't a very good NBA player. For the way NBA teams were avoiding him this offseason you would think he had the hoops skills of Mark Madsen.
Iverson is undoubtedly coming off the worst season of his NBA career (both in terms of hoops performance and team politics), but let's not forget that he is only one season removed from averaging 26 ppg (45.8% FG, 34.5% 3pt, 80.9% FT), 7.2 apg : 3.0 turnovers, 3.0 rpg, and 2.0 steals. If Warriors "building block" Monta Ellis dropped anything close to 26 ppg and 7 apg (with a 2:1 assist: turnover ratio compared to his lowly 1.37 ratio last season) we'd all be pleasantly stunned. Too bad it's not going to happen for Ellis and the Warriors.
Bold Prediction: A rejuvenated Allen Iverson fighting for his hoops legacy is going to put up better numbers than Ellis this season.
The Grizzlies bought low and I like what they did. In a league where the Boston Celtics added Stephon Marburry for a playoff run, it makes very little sense why none of the contending teams this year wouldn't even so much as take a chance on AI at such a low financial cost.
The Answer Vault:
AN Answer for the Grizzlies
Pre-Iverson it would be all but a foregone conclusion that the 2009-2010 Memphis Grizzles (barring some unforeseen leap to superstardom by sophomore Mayo) would be sitting out the big spring dance in the West again. They would simply be fighting for the meaningless 10th spot in the West with the likes of the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Thunder. Sure the Grizzlies would be young and potentially exciting in the eyes of hoops junkies, but again it would be meaningless.
Iverson makes the 2009-2010 Memphis Grizzlies season non-meaningless (I think the word I'm looking for is meaningful, but that feels a little too strong for the Grizz so please excuse me). On paper the Grizzlies now look like they have what it takes to fight with the New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, and LA Clippers for the lower playoff seeds in the West. For a franchise that has won 22, 22, and 24 games the past 3 seasons that's a big upgrade. Are the Grizzlies Iverson's last stop in the NBA or will they just be a bridge to a glorious finish with a championship contender in 2010 and beyond? All eyes will be Iverson and the Grizzlies.
All eyes on the Grizzlies? I don't think that has ever happened. You have to give the Grizzlies front office a ton of credit for ending their streak of meaningless-ness.
- You heard it (predicted) here first. The Grizzlies will trade Rudy Gay this season. He's uber-talented and has all the physical tools, but I'm not sold he will ever make that commitment to making that big step or turn on the defensive intensity to ever reach his potential. It's kind of sad really.
- Allen Iverson puts up 20 points and drops 6 dimes per game. All through February, March, and April contending teams are kicking themselves for not picking him up at a bargain basement price. Talking heads around the league start calling him a big impact free agent in the 2010 free agent class.
- O.J. Mayo raises his dime total to 5 apg.
- Michael Conley becomes... Mike Bibby Lite.
- Rookie Hasheem Thabeet barely plays, but ends up having a solid NBA career when it's all said and done.
- Warriors outcast Marcus Williams barely plays, but at least he doesn't steal R Dizzle's laptop.
- Zach Randolph puts up another empty 20-10, but blocks less shots than Charlotte point guard Raymond Felton. (Seriously look up last year's totals- what an oddity.)
- Marko Jaric stays a very happily married man.
- Hamed Haddadi is a Warrior Killer on Wednesday November 4, 2009, Tuesday December 22, 2009, and Saturday March 20, 2010, but not on Wednesday March 24, 2010. Fourth time's the charm for the Warriors defense!
- Marc Gasol raises his stats from 11.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg to 14 ppg and 8 rpg. The "Kwame Brown trade"? I laugh. It was clearly a Gasol for Gasol trade with the Grizzlies just wanting to get younger. Clearly.
- Sophomore power forward Darrell Arthur makes a lot of teams wish they didn't pass on him in the 2008 NBA Draft.
For more on the Memphis Grizzlies (and hopefully a little bit about the Vancouver Grizzlies) let me direct you to our brother site Straight Outta Vancouver...
I wonder what they'd do with their blog name if Vancouver somehow got another NBA team some day.
2009-2010 Around the Association
- Atlanta Hawks: Sorry, Mrs. Jackson. The Hawks are for real.
- Boston Celtics: Sheed in Green + Another Answer
- Charlotte Bobcats: They Do Exist
- Chicago Bulls: Ring Around the Rose-y
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Now or Never
- Dallas Mavericks: The Curse of the Dampier
- Denver Nuggets: If it ain't broke...
- Detroit Pistons: The Return of the Bay Boys
- Houston Rockets: Yao-ch!, that's gotta hurt
- Indiana Pacers: A One Man Show
- Los Angeles Clippers: Warriors South No More
- Los Angeles Lakers: Big Brother, Little Brother
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Miami Heat
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Jersey Nets
- New Orleans Hornets
- New York Knicks
- Oklahoma City Super Sonics
- Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia Sixers
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland TrailBlazers
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
- Toronto Raptors
- Utah Jazz
- Washington Wizards