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MemphisX' post in the Nuggets thread about our team makeup gave me the idea for this thread.

Memphis, despite having many of the same players from the 2003-2004 season, has played drastically different in the 2004-2005 campaign. The team isn't getting enough from the point guards, our shooting guards have been sink-or-swim, and we fall apart in the fourth quarter (completely opposite from 03-04 season, when we led the league in fourth quarter comebacks). Some could point to having a new coach as the reason for some of these things, but we were doing all these things at the beginning of the year when Hubie was still coaching us. Some could look at the staggering amount of injuries and players' inconsistent minutes due to those, but I agree with MemphisX when he says the makeup of the team is getting stale and beginning to drift away from the strengths of our team.

So who should stay and who should go after the season is over?

Stay
Pau Gasol - No-brainer. On this team, he's the closest thing by far to being a legitimate NBA All-Star or even a first option on offense. He's got a big extension, and we've invested alot in him. With a little more work and the right players around him, he has some serious potential to be a Top 10-15 player in the league.

Shane Battier - Stepped into the starting SF role and has performed well, although not as well as James Posey did last year. I don't think anyone's complaining though. Battier brings it every night, and his attitude and hustle infects the rest of the team. Lost in the shuffle is his vastly improved three-point shot, which is among the top 20 in the league. He's the best community guy to have in the NBA, and he's never a problem behind the scenes. I hope he retires with this franchise.

Brian Cardinal - In many ways, Cardinal serves the same role as Shane. His even greater hustle - unsurpassed by anyone in the league - makes up for his lesser talent. Also a great guy behind the scenes who will not rock the boat, and like Battier, we've invested in with a longterm contract. His high basketball IQ, free throw shooting (88 percent) and willingness has bailed this team out a number of times this year. With more consistent minutes and less depth on the bench, he'd be a contender for sixth man of the year.

Mike Miller - Miller has come around this year, shaken off the injuries and developed into an important guy to have on the floor. He's shooting 50 percent from the floor, good for 19th in the league (No. 2 among guards and No. 1 among shooting guards!). He also hits threes at a 42 percent clip (10th in the league). He isn't always reliable, but not nearly as shaky as he was last season, and also subscribes to the sacrificing-your-body mentality. He's fearless, as well as being a very good basketball player, and we need those on the team.

Keepers - Not on the Trading Block
Lorenzen Wright - Lorenzen has made big strides in his game since December and really put this team on his back while Pau was out with injuries. He averaged a career-high in PPG per month in March. A big competitor on the court, who was transformed by Shane and Brian's play into a warrior for a decent stretch of time. He's still giving up a ton of size, and he's definitely not the longterm answer at center. Still, he'd be a great piece to have off the bench to spell whatever beefy rebounder we hopefully wind up with. Don't look to get rid of him, but make a deal if someone finds his expiring contract attractive and is willing to deal someone who could make a huge impact on our success.

Dahntay Jones - The future is now for this guy. He's shown this year he can hold his own with all the other swingmen on the team, and it's a shame he hasn't gotten more minutes than he already has. His outside shot has come a long way, he's an athletic oddity and has the ability to just shut guys down completely on defense. He'll be a new reserve role given the minutes freed up from the departing Bonzi Wells and James Posey.

Antonio Burks - An ideal reserve point guard who handles himself like a veteran, despite this being his rookie season. He's money from midrange and doesn't make a ton of mistakes, given his experience. He's a hometown favorite who could find a niche here for a long time to come. With his minimum salary, I'd have a hard time thinking of a situation where he'd absolutely be necessary for filler in another trade.

Go
Jason Williams - Sorry, but his time is up here. He doesn't finish ballgames (but neither does his backup), he's inconsistent, his assist numbers have been down, he doesn't feed our best player like he should (refer to the Pacers game at Memphis), he supposedly causes problems backstage, and it's a given for him to miss roughly 10 games per year. Don't deal him for scratch, because he's not a terrible player. But he's not a guy who will bring a team success in and of himself, and his welcome is all but worn out.

Earl Watson - Exciting as he is sometimes, he just makes some stupid decisions out on a basketball court and has little to no idea how to run a fastbreak offense. Oftentimes, he'll drive to the hole himself on a three-on-one fastbreak likely because he doesn't know what else to do. His defense is better than JWill's, but it's still fairly overrated. His shot has improved, but not enough to justify keeping him around or signing him to the big contract he may get in free agency. A sign-and-trade would be welcomed.

Bonzi Wells - Not because he's a problem but because he might be our most attractive expendable. Pick up his option and then find a taker, possibly using him in a package with someone else. He's like Miller in that he's streaky, but we have Dahntay waiting in the wings. Bonzi is great when he's on, which he has been lately, but he too often tries to do too much. He's amazing in the post and has cleaned up his act since coming to the Grizzlies. Someone will want this guy.

James Posey - It hurts to type this, because I became a big fan of his last season, and he's still an attractive piece to package to get someone who'll make a big impact. His injuries have prevented him from making any impact at all this year, and unfortunately for him, other players have stepped into the role and are performing nicely. He can still play some great defense and IMO is still the team's best one-on-one defender. But he's just not needed much, if what we see from Shane, Mike, Dahntay and Brian aren't illusions.

Stromile Swift - An athletic freak who still has potential, but has greater potential to not live up to it. Stro's had his greatest career moments and stretches this season, along with some of his most mediocre. He simply does not have the mentality to become a great player, and if we can get someone significant in a sign-and-trade, it'll be more worth it than the contract he's looking for.

Trade Filler
Ryan Humphrey might not be back regardless. Jake Tsakalidis is a solid third-string center in the league and signed to a reasonable contract. I've never had a problem with him. Andre Emmett has some promise, but we're loaded on the wings, and he hasn't proven to be as valuable as Antonio Burks. Keeping these three guys would be perfectly fine by me, but losing them wouldn't affect our team one way or the other.
 

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rawse said:
Go
Jason Williams - Sorry, but his time is up here. He doesn't finish ballgames (but neither does his backup), he's inconsistent, his assist numbers have been down, he doesn't feed our best player like he should (refer to the Pacers game at Memphis), he supposedly causes problems backstage, and it's a given for him to miss roughly 10 games per year. Don't deal him for scratch, because he's not a terrible player. But he's not a guy who will bring a team success in and of himself, and his welcome is all but worn out.
I never have and probably never will see where any of this comes from. He doesn't finish ball games? Well, I don't know if it's still true, but I remember only a few weeks ago on Sports 56 they said JWill was among tops in the League in shooting % among PGs in the fourth quarter. So, does he get that game-winning shot for us or is he that game-changing player? No, but then again, he's not supposed to be, nor was he ever, nor was he ever expected to be. He's somewhat inconsistent, but not terribly so. He rarely makes dumb offensive mistakes and does get beat on defense, but he tries on defense (and credits Hubie for his defensive prowess, however small that is).

When you say his assist numbers are down, how do you mean? Do you mean from earlier points this season or compared to other seasons? His assists so far this year are only down 1, and the season isn't even over yet.

The rumors that he's a backstage problem is complete, total, and utter bull****. Sorry, but this really pisses me off, because I know for a fact that he does not. I blame the Commercial Appeal for this, mainly because I've always had a slight dislike towards them even before the Grizz were good, but JWill has caused very little, if any trouble at all. He adored Hubie and didn't want to see him go. I'm not saying Hubie didn't leave because of some player problems, but it certainly wasn't JWill causing any trouble. I was one of JWill's detractors before I found out he's actually a really good guy, and I certainly was never a big fan of his up until a little before last year.

JWill isn't going to put this team over-the-top, but why get rid of him? He doesn't hurt us or anything, but unless you want some kind of star PG like Jason Kidd (which would be insane if you think JWill only missing 10 games per season is bad) then I don't see any reason to get rid of him (unless we have to trade him for some other kind of big-time star player).
 

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just foul
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Memphis summer plan:

1.) Draft - 1st round pick: G Monta Ellis
Why: Memphis needs talent and Ellis is the most talented available. He plays spare backcourt minutes immediately and is able to develop in crowded backcourt.

2.) F/A
- Swift: let him go
- resign Earl Watson (if not then pursue Brevin Knight for short-term deal)
- sign Malik Allen or Christian Laettner to 1 or 2-year deal
Why: Stromile will be too expensive for the Grizz, and don't think he's worth retaining by any means necessary. Memphis needs some stability behind the erratic Williams; Watson and Knight are good complements.

3.) Trade:
Memphis trades:
G/F James Posey
F/C Lorenzen Wright
C Jake Tsakalidis
G/F Andre Emmett
G Antonio Burks
Future 1st round pick (protected for few years)

New Orleans trades:
F/C PJ Brown
C Jamal Magloire
Future (soon) 2nd round pick

TRADE ACCEPTED

Why Memphis does it: Memphis gets big defensive C to complement Pau and PJ provides leadership and defense in backup F/C minutes; relieve themselves of Big Jake's contract; Posey becomes expendable as Dahntay has shown promise as a wing defender; Emmett and Burks are finiancial throw-ins; Grizzlies new frontcourt helps make push in West

Why NO does it: New Orleans furthers rebuilding by trading their last two significant contracts and receive some young, inexpensive pieces in return and the necessary future 1st out of their biggest assets; Wright's contract will be expiring, freeing up cap room; Posey gives them much needed defensive help on the wing; Big Jake gives them a huge body and a chance to play minutes; Emmett and Burks give them young depth and short contracts; Hornets stink next year, but stink young and stink cheaply; have another top pick in 2006

Memphis:
Williams/Watson (or Knight)
Miller/Jones/Ellis
Battier/Bonzi
Pau/Cardinal/Allen (or Laettner)
Magloire/Brown

NO:
Paul/Claxton/Burks
Smith/Emmett/(2nd round wing - Julius Hodge, Dijon Thompson)
Posey/Lynch
West/Anderson/Vroman
Wright/Jake/Lampe
 

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UKfan4Life said:
JWill isn't going to put this team over-the-top, but why get rid of him? He doesn't hurt us or anything, but unless you want some kind of star PG like Jason Kidd (which would be insane if you think JWill only missing 10 games per season is bad) then I don't see any reason to get rid of him (unless we have to trade him for some other kind of big-time star player).

J Will is one of the biggest reasons our team goes on terrible losing streaks. He and Bonzi. They pout and sulk to the point of not playing hard. However, J Will is worse because he refuses to give a **** on defense. Yes, he is our best offensive PG but that is because Earl Watson is horrid. He is a defensive liability the whole game, cannot support the team on the boards, and generally is real lazy. When his shot isn't falling he is useless.
 

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MemphisX said:
J Will is one of the biggest reasons our team goes on terrible losing streaks. He and Bonzi. They pout and sulk to the point of not playing hard. However, J Will is worse because he refuses to give a **** on defense. Yes, he is our best offensive PG but that is because Earl Watson is horrid. He is a defensive liability the whole game, cannot support the team on the boards, and generally is real lazy. When his shot isn't falling he is useless.
I have never seen JWill sulk and just not give a **** ever since the Grizzlies became a good team. Never. There is such thing as having a bad game, and when you're having a bad game and already not a very good defender, what else are you going to do? At least he doesn't make dumb turnovers (hence the assist-to-turnover ratio). JWill, simply put, is not a very good defender period, even if he tries, but I have rarely seen him just give up entirely.

If he's being really lazy and is averaging 10 points, 5 assists, 1 steal, and only 1 turnover a game, I'd like to see what he could do if he tried.

If we can get a much better improvement at his position that would require trading him, do it by all means, but only under that condition (or unless we just get an excellent player period), otherwise there's not much sense in trading him.
 

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Why should Bonzi Wells, James Posey, Earl Watson and Jason Williams go?? I think they are doing pretty good in Memphis!
 

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DwyaneWade4MVP said:
Why should Bonzi Wells, James Posey, Earl Watson and Jason Williams go?? I think they are doing pretty good in Memphis!
Read what's posted. :wink:
 

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I'll cry myself to sleep and go into a deep alcohol induced depression if Posey leaves.
 
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