Tag:Rudy Gay
Posted on: January 14, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Rudy Gay's 'most interesting man' All-Star video

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay has released a spoof on the "Most Interesting Man In The World" commercials as part of his NBA All-Star campaign. Posted by Ben Golliver.

NBA players campaigning to make the All-Star game on the internet is about as corny as it gets (leave it to the fans, media and teams), so when they do go out of their way to try to drum up support it's always best executed with a tongue-in-cheek flourish or a self-deprecating self-awareness. 

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay shows the world how that's done, with this successfully executed self-promotional All-Star campaign video that plays off of the famous Dos Equis "The Most Interesting Man in the World" television commercials. If you've been living under a rock for the last three years, the character in the commercials is basically Casanova crossed with Chuck Norris, in that he is alluring to women and able to do all sorts of impossible things simply because of his cool aura.

The plot is the same in Gay's spot, dubbed "The Most Interesting Man in the NBA," as he sits at a swank restaurant table surrounded by attractive females, swirling wine in a glass as a narrator lists off his humorous accomplishments. "Rudy once missed a dunk just to feel what it was like," the narrator says. "When Rudy shoots a three, he actually scores four points. His charm demands it." And then, "He slept through a game and scored a triple double."

The spot concludes with Gay stating, "I don't usually vote for All-Stars, but when I do, I vote for Rudy Gay. Keep voting, my friends."

Here's the video.


Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk.

Honestly, Gay needs to campaign, as he's trying to make the game at the league's most stacked position: Western Conference forward. He's going up against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Here are the latest returns.

On the season, Gay is averaging 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and the Grizzlies are 18-21.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:08 pm
 

The Game Changer: Memphis mauls the Lakers

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MEMPHIS WALKS OVER L.A.

This really was kind of a bizarro game. The Lakers fell behind early to a quicker, more athletic Grizzlies team and never had the firepower to really make up the deficit.

It was basically the formula you see good teams use to beat bad ones. A couple 6-2 runs placed in between bigger 10-2 ones and before you know it, the margin is 20. And that's what the Grizzlies did to the Lakers all night.

Kobe tried to shoot the Lakers back into the game late finishing with a fourth quarter flurry of points, but it was too late. Rudy Gay had already done too much damage, Zach Randolph had already had his way inside and O.J. Mayo had already gotten hot from outside.

Obviously the look here is at the Lakers who have lost again, this time big against a sub-.500 team. But really, shouldn't we be impressed a little with the Grizzlies? They've started playing much better the past few games and take away Tyreke Evans' miracle and they've won four of five. As it stands, they're three below .500 but have three straight tough ones playing the Thunder twice and the Jazz in the middle.

But while the Lakers will gain most of the chatter for getting worked over by Memphis, I think it's at least courteous to give a little credit where credit is due. The Lakers don't lose just by playing bad. Someone had to make them do it. And the Grizzlies did Sunday.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Blake Griffin had a very Blake Griffin night. Big highlights and 31 point and 15 rebounds.

DeAndre Jordan was actually quite good as well: six points, 12 rebounds and six blocks

DeMarcus Cousins had the best game of his young career with 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists

Danny Granger finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds in a loss to the Knicks.

Antwan Jamison dropped 35 and pulled in 10 boards, but the Cavs lost to the Mavericks.

RONDO RETURNS, BOSTON WINS

It wasn't against a great team or anything, but the Celtics got Rajon Rondo back and took care of business, dispersing the Raptors. Paul Pierce scored 30 on 15 shots, but it was having Rondo back that was the story. He played 34 minutes, scored four points and ` out eight assists, but just his presence commandeering the Celtics was a huge difference.

With Rondo, there's a different level of execution. The spacing is terrific and the team plays just with a looser, more confident feel to it.

Getting Kevin Garnett back is the next goal, but just having Rondo on the floor again is nice for Boston.

MAVS BEAT CAVS

For Cleveland, that's 17 out of 18 in the loss column. For the Mavericks, it's now one out of four without Dirk Nowitzki. I just thought that was worth pointing out. Plus I wanted to say "Mavs beat Cavs."

PORTLAND GETS A LEG UP

In a battle for the now-getting-more-and-more-interesti
ng eight-seed spot, the Trail Blazers took down the Rockets behind a big game from Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Even without Brandon Roy when the Blazers play in the open floor the way they did, they look like a capable playoff team. They always defend, they always rebound, but it's the offensive execution where sometimes they lack. But against the Rockets, everything was on point especially when the Blazers ran.

Houston has been coming on strong lately, and a team Portland will likely be fighting with for months to come. It's not a statement so much as it's a leg up on the nearest competition. The Blazers are potentially good enough to solidify themselves as an eight-seed or higher contender despite injuries, but winning games against the direct competition is key.

Paul Pierce SMASHY

Blake Griffin had himself another stellar finish yesterday, but Paul Pierce gets the dunk award for the day with this Griffinesque cram.


PARTING THOUGHT

The Clippers did a very Clipper thing by blowing a late lead over the Hawks by surrendering 37 fourth quarter points. This Clipper team has some really nice pieces. But they're obviously one of those young groups that isn't exactly sure how to win or finish. They keep reminding me of the Thunder from two years ago. Clearly talented but just not ready to win consistently. Patience is key here, but I think by April, we're going to have reason to be impressed.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 4:19 am
Edited on: December 31, 2010 4:28 am
 

A very Rudy New Year

Rudy Gay is quietly having the kind of season you want your emerging star to have, breaking out not in any one area, but improving in every facet of the game. 
Posted by Matt Moore




It's almost a new year, so perhaps it's time to inform you in case you haven't heard. It's also a new Rudy Gay. 

After signing his five-year, $80 million extension with the Memphis Grizzlies this summer, most wondered if Gay was in any way worth that kind of investment. How could he be? From every measurable standard, he was below star-level. Points, rebounds, efficiency, wins, playoff appearances, the works. Though the Grizzlies showed signs of life last season, they faded down the stretch. Would Gay really improve in the necessary ways to justify that contract and the Grizzlies' future investment in him?

Turns out, he's on his way. And where he is now and where he's headed is a long way from where he started, in Baltimore, Maryland. 

*


It's Christmas time in Memphis, and for once, it feels like it. There's a significant chill in the air on Christmas Eve as the Grizzlies wrap up practice at FedEx Forum. Later it will snow through the night, though of course the warm Tennessee ground won't hold anything but the slightest layer of white. Still, it's got to make the Grizzlies from colder climates even more homesick at Christmas.  They've got a game the night after Christmas in Indiana, their flight departing Christmas Day, so there's no time to get to their respective homes. They'll spend Christmas in Memphis, before hopping on a plane for a hotel as they try and get off their losing streak.

For Gay, missing Christmas is just part of the job. He says that with video chat and all the technology, it's almost like being there. And "there" means quite a bit to him.  Baltimore is notorious in the NBA for two things: being tough and producing ball players. Players talk about Baltimore carefully, trying to manage how tough the environment is with their pride of the system they came out of. For Gay, he has a clear feeling of solidarity with the many players that come out of Charm City.

"The best feeling about being in the NBA is going back to Baltimore," Gay says. "It's a basketball city. There are so many guys that come out of there and try and get to this level. For those of us who do, we're thankful, and we try and stick together."

Part of the tradition of basketball in Baltimore is the AAU Teams.  The AAU circuit in Baltimore is as strong as it is anywhere in the country, and its products have filled the NBA ranks.  The teams also come under scrutiny, as was the case in fellow Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony's Team Melo personnel's involvement with Josh Selby. For Gay, though, AAU was nothing but a positive experience, and he credits the AAU programs in Baltimore for helping kids there stay out of trouble. 

As practice wraps up, the Grizzlies huddle up and chant "1-2-3-Merry-Christmas" before heading for the exits and their respective holiday plans. A few elect to hang out on the sidelines. But Gay and Mike Conley, the player for Memphis who Gay has played the longest with, remain on the floor, shooting and working, getting in extra time. The Grizzlies need it. They've lost three in a row, including an inexcusable loss to the Nets. If ever there was a time for Gay to exert the leadership he's learned as he continues his fifth year in Memphis, now would be it. 

It's not that the Grizzlies have been terrible this season. On Christmas Eve, they're only a game back of where they were last year. But last year they depended on a long winning streak after a terrible opening to recover and make it into the playoff picture before fading late. This year they've toppled the Lakers, the Suns, and the Mavericks, but have also lost to the Nets, the Warriors and the Wizards. It's that kind of inconsistency and playing up or down to their opponent that Gay says is the key to Memphis getting back on track. 
"We're just learning how to play consistently every night. We can't play good against good teams and bad against bad teams. I just want to get this team to that level. I can feel it. We're close."

*


Two nights later in Indiana, they certainly look it. The Grizzlies dominate on both sides of the floor and walk out of Indiana with a 104-90 victory. Merry Christmas, indeed. Gay sets the tone with his best performance of the season, one of the best of his career, with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. The vaunted "stat-stuffer" line. The 30 points is nice, but it's been the total efficiency and productivity where Gay has made strides this season. Sunday night's win is just the jewel in the crown of his improvement in 2010. 

RG is posting career-highs in points, assists, and steals per game, as well as in advanced numbers like assist, steals, and block percentages, and eFG% (percentage factoring 3-point shooting). In essence, he's a more efficient player than he ever has been. His PER is a career high 18.8. You get the feeling that his near-career-high rebound rate (8.9%) would improve if he needed to, but with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol down low, Gay's priorities are in contributing at every level, "in every column" as his coach says. And it's that total effort that Lionel Hollins says best describes Gay's role. 

"He needs to utilize his talent, and fill the stat sheet like he has. Some nights it will be scoring, some nights it won't. Those other stat columns have to be filled regardless of whether he goes 11-17 or 6-17. I think when he gets to the level where he has an impact on the game even when he's not scoring a lot, that's his role. When you're talented like that, players can think that the fans and media expect them to score a lot of points. But the best player doesn't always score the most points."

Hollins says Gay is also a key for the defense. RG has posted his lowest defensive rating of his career with a 105 score. Far from elite, but a huge step in the right direction.

"When he's engaged, our whole team is engaged," Hollins says.
*
It's Monday night, and time for a dreaded back-to-back, this time against the Toronto Raptors, an up and down team which is missing several key players. Before the game, Gay has that leader swagger going again. He pumps up the music, dances, and raps, but also goes around the room talking to several of the younger players, providing instruction. It's reminiscent of the behavior of another talented stat-stuffing power forward, LeBron James, in pre-game activities. It will not be the last time Gay looks the part of a King-James-type that evening. 

One player that Gay gives extra attention to his rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez attended high school in Maryland and proceeded to attend college at Maryland as well. Gay and Vasquez have what the rookie describes as a "real relationship." Team officials refer to them as "close as any players on the team" and Vasquez credits Gay with taking him under his wing and helping him transition through the rookie process. 

Gay does not talk pre-game, but where's the same quiet, confident look he always seems to adorn as he heads for the floor and yet another moderately-attended game in Memphis. 
*
The Raptors are up eight as the second period begins. The Grizzlies look lifeless. The Raps are starting Amir Johnson and Joey Dorsey in the front court due to injuries, and yet they are the team slowing it down and grinding it out in the halfcourt set. Linas Kleiza is giving Gay fits as he rises over him to fire long jumpers. But in the second quarter, something clicks. 

RG's biggest asset? Detonation into transition. And instead of looking for it off the work of his teammates, Gay is again initiating those opportunities. He bursts out to initiate the break, forces the issue, and the offense is off and running towards a 32-point quarter after only scoring 16 in the opening set. The Raptors manage to hang in until the third, when the Grizzlies get Zach Randolph, who is battling with a cold, back on track. He takes over down low, and Gay snags two steals using that athleticism people have raved about since his days at UCONN. He uses it in conjunction with a learned anticipation, the kind of mental improvement that's made such a difference in his game. 

By the time the fourth rolls around, it's all over but the shouting. 

With Hollins completely reversing his game plan, going small instead of big, an unforeseen development reveals itself.  A lineup hits the floor of Darrell Arthur, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay. Gay plays point guard, initiating the offense and acting as the conduit for O.J. Mayo to break open for some buckets. It's a brief indulgence, but one that Gay says they've been working on in practice. 

"Most people who play my position aren't used to guarding a guy running point. It creates mismatches. I enjoy being in that position."

Randolph will get the headlines for taking over in the second half, but it will be Gay who ties his career high for combined assists and steals. He finishes with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 1 block. It's consistent, across the board, and the real foundation for the Grizzlies success. I ask Gay if he thinks the team has turned a corner. 
"I do. We learned something from the Nets loss, but these wins are starting to feel different." 
Much like Gay's season, which is starting to look every bit the part of what the Grizzlies paid for. 

*


Two nights later the Grizzlies will drop a heartbreaker in Sacramento, losing on a desperation half-court heave by Tyreke Evans. Gay will struggle with 6-17 shooting, just 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. The Grizzlies for a night have gone back to playing down to their competition. But Gay's body of work has already shown itself. 

It's a new year, and while the Grizzlies' future this year and beyond seems very uncertain, every indication is that Gay has reached that next step. Gay says he's ready, able, and willing to be the star player on a playoff team.

"I always want to be on that stage. I love that stage.  My career has shown that I love to be the type of player that's depended on, and I'm going to continue to do that. "


Posted on: December 29, 2010 5:32 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:53 pm
 

LeBron James offends Harris with contraction talk

Miami Heat forward LeBron James made comments concerning contraction and New Jersey Nets point guard Devin Harris, and Harris is reportedlydevin-harris"offended." Posted by Ben Golliver Last week, Miami Heat forward LeBron James really stepped in it, advocating for the contraction of NBA teams to achieve a league that more closely resembled the NBA of the 1980s. Clearly, he was misguided. Shortly after making his comments, James tried to back off, but the damage was done. As you might recall, James singled out the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Jersey Nets in his comments, saying, "I’m just looking at some of the teams that are not that great. You take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off teams that are not that good right now and add them to a team that could be really good. I’m not saying let’s take New Jersey, let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid. I’m not stupid, but I know what would be great for the league.” Harris, to no one's great surprise, wasn't particularly thrilled about the nature of the comments and the specific mention of the Nets and himself in James' argument for contracting the league. Indeed, NJ.com reports that Harris was "offended" by James' comments.
“For him to talk about us specifically was a little offensive,’’ Harris said after practice, and before the Nets left for Oklahoma City for tonight’s game against the Thunder. “I mean, from a business standpoint ... what’s best, we’re still trying to figure this out. But (James is) in the mind-set of, ‘Let’s just team everybody up with stars and kind of duke it out,’ which, it kind of was like that in previous ages, but who’s to say what’s best for the league.’’
Kudos to Harris for accomplishing a very rare feat in the NBA: standing up to LeBron James publicly. James' comments in general were ridiculous, and the fact that he included specific teams and players pushed them past the "reckless" threshold.  Not that he cares. For more reaction to the idea of contraction from small-market teams, check out Matt Moore's piece with Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:46 pm
 

Rudy Gay and Z-Bo talk contraction in Memphis

Stars in small-market Memphis, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, weigh in on the good and bad of the idea of contraction.
Posted by Matt Moore




While LeBron James is walking back his contraction talk as quickly as possible, other players are weighing in on the issues at play. In Memphis, the issue of contraction will likely involve the Grizzlies at every turn. A small market team with poor attendance and fewer than 30 wins in five of their nine seasons, the Grizzlies are at the top of every contraction advocate's list for elimination. 

James' main point was about the possibility of great teams, where you'd have stacked rosters like there were in the 80's. (Even though they weren't that stacked in the 80's.) On such teams, Rudy Gay may not be the leader and star he's becoming in Memphis (20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals), he'd be a role player. Gay's very clear in his support of Memphis,but says that it may be the best thing for the league to think about cutting the number of teams in order to create those teams. 

"Yes and no. If I was speaking like I was with the NBA, I'd say yes," Gay told CBSSports.com Monday night. Of course, with more guys, more power teams, there's more focus on those teams, rather than the Indiana Pacers or New Jersey Nets."

At the same time, Gay feels like the great players in this league who already go unnoticed next to the biggest names the league markets would suffer if they were all crammed on teams fighting for top billing. 

"I say no, for us as players. It's kind of tough when the NBA is focused on one team (the Miami Heat) like it has been this year. This league has a lot of great players, like Joe Johnson, Derrick Rose, and even Kevin Durant's not even getting that much attention. Even Caron Butler, who plays next to Dirk Nowitzki. Even myself, O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph, it's hard when they have power teams that have so much focus, it's hard for us players. But we'll keep on proving it and eventually these guys will get noticed. "

Gay says he's unconcerned with where he plays, though. The market politics of the NBA don't interest him.

"To me it's basketball. I'd do this no matter where I was."

Zach Randolph has been around this league in big and small markets. He's played in New York, Los Angeles, Portland, and now Memphis. So his viewpoint is a little different, and for one, he comes down firmly on the side of fans of teams like the Grizzlies.

"This is a good team, and this is a good city. Even though our fan attendance hasn't been where we want it to be, I think we can get it back up. It's a good basketball city. It's up and down. There are negatives and positives for guys teaming up like they did back then or even how they are now. But I think you need to keep cities like this."

So while James may think it's great for everyone to be in his position, with constant media attention on a team that's stacked with great players at all five spots like Joel Anthony and Carlos Arroyo, not everyone is sold that teams like Memphis need the ax just so there can be "stacked" teams.

Check back Thursday for our feature on Rudy Gay on CBSSports.com.
Posted on: December 21, 2010 6:46 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:45 pm
 

Grizzlies don't regret drafting Hasheem Thabeet

The Memphis Grizzlies stand behind their selection of center Hasheem Thabeet in the 2009 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliverhasheem-thabeet It's rare that a man as big as Memphis Grizzlies center Hasheem Thabeet, who stands 7-foot-3, can be so invisible. But in his second NBA season, he's an after-after-thought, barely seeing the court and adding little value during another frustrating season for Memphis. If anyone cared about Thabeet, there would probably be a lot more "bust" talk bubbling, but to this point indifference has ruled the day. As such, Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace did the smart thing Tuesday, standing by his center when asked by NBA Fanhouse whether he would reconsider the team's 2009 draft selection.
"I'm not a regrets guy,'' Wallace said. "I don't think he should be put in a dead-letter file. That's extremely premature for that.''
Thabeet, who is averaging 1.4 points and 1.3 rebounds a game, sounds like he is at a loss for why he's not very good, and it sort of makes you feel bad for him. 
"It's really difficult,'' Thabeet said about living up to expectations of being the No. 2 pick. "I'm here working out. The team knows where they are with me. I'm just doing my job. I don't really have an explanation about the question I get every day. I put myself in this situation so I got to deal with it. But to be part (of the NBA) is special, and I'm happy to be here.''
I can't say I'm a huge Thabeet fan, and it would be surprising if he develops into a productive player. But while he certainly wasn't a good pick, it's difficult to kill the Grizzlies for making it.  Before the draft, Thabeet was clearly high risk / high reward, the exact type of player a middling franchise like Memphis should take a risk on, especially considering the pieces they had in place. With young, developing guards like Mike Conley and OJ Mayo already in the pipeline, plus wing Rudy Gay fully established, addressing the frontcourt was even more important for Memphis than it usually is for lottery teams. Going down the list of players taken in the lottery behind Thabeet, the best players -- Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, and Tyreke Evans -- each would likely have required Memphis to make a decision between him or Conley in the short-term. The best case scenario probably would have been to draft Evans and play him at the two guard spot, shifting Mayo immediately into a reserve role. That would have been a delicate situation, but if managed properly would have given Memphis a potent backcourt without too much roster turnover.  Outside of those three point guards, there aren't many impact players in the first round, and no meaningful big man sleepers have emerged. The smart play for Memphis probably would have been to trade down, a possibility that was rumored leading up to draft night, but taking a chance on Thabeet wasn't franchise-crippling by any means. Back to Wallace's statements: it's still too early for regrets. Thabeet was drafted as a project and his rookie deal ensures that the project can continue (at a reasonable salary for a team with such a small payroll) through 2012-2013 at least, should the Grizzlies remain interested.  Will Thabeet figure it out? Who knows. But Jordan Hill or Tyler Hansbrough, the next two bigs drafted, aren't leading teams to the title any time soon either.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:01 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 10:17 pm
 

The problem with Memphis

Why the downturn on Beale Street? We try and get a handle on the Memphis problem. Posted by Matt Moore



And things were going so well.

The Memphis Grizzlies made no substantial changes to their lineup this year, banking on the continued development of their core, mostly made of young players, to get them to the next level.  After all, last season they greatly exceeded expectations, going from what was widely considered to be one of the worst teams in the league to a near-playoff team. I mean, sure they were dependent on a core of players none-of-whom are considered league wide to be stars and their bench was the rough equivalent of a beached whale, but hey, no team's perfect. With projected improvements, it wasn't beyond belief to consider the possibility of the Grizzlies matching last year's success, if not exceeding it.

Only, that's not happening.

The Grizzlies are 9-14, even after a Rudy Gay buzzer beater to force overtime led to a solid win over the Suns on the road Wednesday Night. Mike Conley is playing much better than we thought he would. Rudy Gay has legitimately made the jump to franchise player, improving in nearly every statistical area and taking and making huge shots such as last night. The Grizzlies added Xavier Henry for offense, Tony Allen for defense, and Darrel Arthur looks like a real pro finally.

So then, what's the problem?

There's an idea that the problem is the offense, which has been 2 points worse in offensive efficiency this year, while the defense remains largely unaffected. The following table outlines the difference in this year's stats from last year's stats for those players who have played both years in Memphis. We're going with pace adjusted stats like rebounding percentage and PER which will also help us with the per-minute issues, though not all of them. All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com .

Player PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg
Marc Gasol -1 0.043 0.034 -1.8 1.9 3.7 -2.1 2 -1
Rudy Gay 2.9 0.034 0.036 0.4 2.8 1.3 1 2 -1
Mike Conley 3.8 0.025 0.016 0.6 5.2 0.9 2.3 1 -3
Zach Randolph -1.7 -0.009 0.01 1.1 -1 0.8 -1.8 -5 -1
Darrell Arthur 4.3 0.102 0.089 -0.8 -1.2 0.7 1.8 10 -1
O.J. Mayo -3.6 -0.06 -0.054 -0.4 -3.2 -0.8 0.1 -12 -1
Sam Young -1.5 -0.04 -0.039 -0.9 0.1 -2 -3.3 -8 -8
Hasheem Thabeet -8.3 -0.109 -0.121 -6.8 -0.8 7.4 -2.1 -27 3
DeMarre Carroll 5.9 0.01 -0.063 6.6 1.2 -8.9 0.6 17 -2
Hamed Haddadi -2.5 -0.267 -0.387 13.1 2.4 3.7 -4.9 -34 -11


Okay, before you freak out, Hasheem Thabeet is averaging a mere 8.4 minutes per game this year, so that Offensive Rating (team points scored per 100 possessions while the player is on the floor) being 27 points worse isn't that bad (it's not good either, but let's move on). There's no way getting around it. The plummet of O.J. Mayo is a problem for this team. He's shooting worse, distributing less, rebounding at a lower clip, and using roughly the same number of possessions.

The move to the bench hasn't been phenomenally better for him but has slightly improved things. What's been odd is that coach Lionel Hollins elected to move Mayo to the bench, which he's obviously not big on, instead of supporting him through the slump. Zach Randolph also hasn't been his normal self, but he also dealt with early season injury issues. Let's try not to start directly at Hasheem Thabeet's numbers for fear they will sear all hope from our souls. That's a number two overall pick, ladies and gents.

The good news here is that Mayo's slump is unlikely to sustain over the course of the season. Even with a bad year, it's more likely that he'll find himself back on track. However, Mayo's body language has been pretty terrible, and you have to wonder if he's not trying to work his way out of town.

In the interim, the team is going to have to either improve defensively or find a more consistent option on offense. Xavier Henry has shown flashes of why he was drafted in the last five games, but Tony Allen's favorite album is the Tony Allen ISO Project's "Throw It Up and See What Happens." If the team were to figure things out, there's no reason this team can't compete for the playoffs. But as Grizzlies blog 3 Shades of Blue points out, that time may have already passed: 
To guarantee a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture a team has to win 50 games. To reach the 50 win plateau the Grizzlies would have to win just under 75% of their home games 30-11 and win 50% of their road games 20-21. So far the Grizzlies are 6-5 at home. That means the team has to go 25-5 the rest of the season in the half full FedEx Forum to reach the home win mark. The team that has lost 5 home games out of 11 this season still has to play San Antonio twice, Dallas once, New Orleans twice, Oklahoma City twice, Denver once, Portland once and Utah twice. Thats 11 tough home games and the Grizzlies can only lose 5 of them to reach the 30 win total for home wins.
via Are the Playoffs Already Out of Reach? | 3 Shades of Blue .

With Heisley already making noise about "changes" should the team not be on pace for the playoffs, what seemed to be a rising team could be headed for the scrapyard before it even got out of port. It's not the first time a team has looked to be on the path up only to fall backwards into oblivion. The concern has to be in the $180 million the team gave out to Rudy Gay and Mike Conley in the past six months. If this isn't the path, what is?
Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:10 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:22 pm
 

Shootaround 12.09.10: Rocking out with Rony

Former NBA player turns club DJ, questions about Tyreke Evans' foot, Derek Fisher drops the Clippers, the Blazers fret about a lockout, Antoine Walker airballs a free throw, and a bunch more. Posted by Ben Golliver
  • Former Miami Heat center Rony Seikaly is now a party DJ playing in clubs across the globe, the New York Times reports. “I’m not doing this to be a celebrity,” Seikaly said. “I’m not doing this to become famous. I’m doing this just to share the love, and to share the music.”
  • Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, "could miss the rest of the season with a right toe injury," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told the media.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com