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Tag:Mike Conley
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:50 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 9:54 am
 

Shootaround 11.2.10: LeBron's not laughing

Posted by Royce Young
  • Anthony Tolliver did a funny little Decision spoof back when he signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Wolves. But LeBron has taken notice and doesn't think it's very funny: "We play Minnesota twice," James said to reporters. Tolliver told Brian Windhorst, “It was just me having fun, making fun of the decision,” Tolliver said after the Wolves practice on Monday. “When I did it, I had no intention to have him react.” “If he’s seen the video then he would know that it had nothing to do with him personally, it was about the situation.”
  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "In 2005, Ronny Turiaf needed open-heart surgery to repair an enlarged aortic root. Ten months later, Jack Gilroy, then 7, had a heart transplant. At the time, Gilroy knew nothing of Turiaf. But the two seemed like natural lunch partners Monday at the Knicks’ training center. They talked about scars and echocardiograms, fishing and boogie boarding and Jack’s smooth 10-foot bank shot. 'Nice form,' Turiaf remarked in his thick French accent. 'Quick learner.' In recent years, there have been dozens of visits like this for Turiaf, a 6-foot-10 center who brings equal amounts of frenetic energy to defense and heart-health awareness."
  • M. Haubs of The Painted Area says Thunder fans should be a little concerned because of the lack of defense: “After the embarrassing loss on Sunday, the Thunder's numbers show ample regression on defense after a week. Is this because of [assistant coach Ron] Adams's departure? Is it because of the absence of underrated defender Nick Collison? The Thunder were 7.6 points per 100 possessions better defensively (one of the best numbers in the league in that +/- department) with Collison, who led the league in charges drawn, on the floor last season. Collison is out with a bone bruise in his knee, after playing 75 games last season (charmed luck with injuries in '09-10 was a significant factor in the Thunder's meteoric rise).”
  • Vinny Del Negro gave Baron Davis a small public rip: "He got out of shape pretty bad. He’s not in great physical condition. Baron has to put in the time….” Del Negro said before his Clippers took on the San Antonio Spurs. “Baron wants to do it. But I need to see action. Talk is talk. I’m optimistic he can do it.”
Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:46 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 9:41 am
 

Grizzlies commit franchise suicide, extend Conley

Grizzlies point guard granted 5-year, $45-million extension for mediocrity, continued inconsistency.Posted by Matt Moore

In the long history of terrible moves by the Memphis Grizzlies, mark my words, this one will reign supreme.

Worse than drafting Hasheem Thabeet.

Worse than trading Pau Gasol for Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, and cash.

Worse than re-signing Rudy Gay for $80 million.

This, this right here, is not just the worst move in the history of the Grizzlies, but it is the shining golden cap on the mountain of terrible moves made by NBA owners over the past 2 years. It is this, exact move, that nullifies any argument the owners can possibly make that they spend their money responsibly inside the current CBA. It is this contract that overshadows Joe Johnson's contract, Amir Johnson's contract, Darko Milicic's contract as the single worst contract handed out in 2010.

ESPN's Chris Broussard and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a 5-year, $40-million-plus extension for Mike Conley.

There is really nothing more to say. But here's something anyway.

Mike Conley is the worst starting point guard in the NBA. That's including Derek Fisher, who is at this point both a defensive signpost and a superior point guard. People often wonder why it is I consider this to be so. The reasons are numerous. It's not that Mike Conley is not a good basketball player. He is. He's a career 44% shooter, and 38% from the arc, which isn't bad at all. As a spot-up back-up combo guard, he wouldn't be bad at all. Mike Conley is not a bad NBA player. But there are three things this contract supposes that he is not. He is not a starting caliber point guard. He is not worth $45 million dollars over 5 years. And he is not worth the longterm damage this contract does to the Memphis Grizzlies franchise.

Conley's biggest problems involve things which are extremely hard to identify in the box score. His turnover margin is acceptable, if not stellar. He was 24th in the league last year in assist rate among point guards who played 25 minutes or more. That's not good, at all, but it's not horrific. But if you watched as many Grizzlies games as I have, you'd know certain things. Like, for instance, his dribble probe ability.

Every point guard in the National Basketball Association is able to probe the defense. It involves stepping inside the arc, towards defenders, and maintaining your dribble to see how the defense reacts to penetration. It allows the point guard to evaluate spacing and set up the correct set of decisions. Mike Conley cannot. He will routinely turn his back to a post maneuver, just to avoid losing the ball. This is because he has tremendous difficulty in splitting defenders. This is just one example. He struggles in the pick and roll according to Synergy Sports, averaging just a .79 PPP in the pick and roll and shooting 44% which is a great Field Goal %, but not in pick and roll. Defensively? It's even worse.

Conley surrenders a .96 PPP in Isolation, giving up free throws over 16% of the time. In pick and roll, a .82. It's not horrific. It's just miserably average-to-subpar. This at the most important position on the floor. Bear in mind that Conley plays in a high-octane, weapon-loaded offense that allows him to get out in transition and get easy buckets. Yet he turned the ball over in transition 16.7% of the time.

Advanced stats don't look much better. Conley has never posted a +15 PER, the benchmark of an average player in the league. Conley is only 23, but it would require a monumental improvement in several categories for him to reach the point of actually deserving this kind of contract.

As a comparison? Rajon Rondo makes only $10 million more for his extension than Mike Conley. Rajon Rondo. The guy that just dropped 24 assists in one game for a title contender. That guy makes $2 million more per year, that's it.

But the real problem with this contract?

The damage it does to the future.

Alongside Conley, the Grizzlies needed to extend Marc Gasol, the only real asset they acquired in the Pau Gasol trade. Marc Gasol is arguably the most important player on the team. He is an excellent passer out of both the high and low post. He has a reliable mid-range jumper, is tremendous on the offensive glass, and works his face off on the defensive end. He shows hard and recovers on the pick and roll, maintains low-post position and is active, and continually makes hustle plays. This in a league that is painfully thin on centers. And the Grizzlies have just opened the door for Gasol to walk away in restricted free agency. Zach Randolph has to be re-signed after his contract expires this year, and given the affection the Grizzlies organization has shown Randolph, there's no sign they won't overpay for Z-Bo as well. Which would mean making room for Marc Gasol would be incredibly difficult.

Then next season, you have O.J. Mayo in a similar boat. Looking for an extension. But after the owners' hardline CBA renegotiations get through, how much cap space will they have left? Plus they'll have Hasheem Thabeet coming up soon and a need to justify their drafting of him by waiting for him to develop over the next decade.

So what you're looking at with this extension is the rare combination of a move that's bad in and of itself, and mortgages your ability to win later by most likely expending two of your three best players. You now have $120 million committed to Rudy Gay and Mike Conley over the next six years. That's bad enough, but you'll most likely be losing better players in order to form around that core. It damages you in the short term. This is a player who you have tried to improve upon with Jamal Tinsley, moving O.J. Mayo to point, Greivis Vasquez, Allen Iverson, and I'm pretty sure a clone of John Stockton. But this is the player you have chosen to give $40 million-plus to.

The owners have held the high ground in negotiations regarding the CBA. Even with moves like Darko, Johnson, and the stellar history of Isiah Thomas, the ownership has been able to justify the moves they've made. But this is more damaging than others. This is a clearly B-Level player getting close to $9 million a year.

The Commercial-Appeal reports the decision was largely made upon Conley's strong start to this season. Three games. In a contract year. Featuring a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This, apparently, is what sets the market in Memphis.

When Ken Berger reported last month that the NBA was considering contraction as a possible solution to its economic woes, I spoke out passionately against it. Small-market fans shouldn't be punished and the overall health of the league nationwide shouldn't be harmed in an attempt by larger market teams to make life easier on them. But after this deal, the question must be raised. Would the Grizzlies be better off if they were simply erased from existence? Is a fan base better off existing in a constant and continual cycle of disappointment and failure, or simply not existing at all?

Mike Conley made $45 million without a single impressive season. And the bizarre, cruel, laughable reign of Michael Heisley continues.



Posted on: October 25, 2010 12:33 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Memphis owner: fans shouldn't worry about future

Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley tells fans they shouldn't worry about the team's future in Memphis. Posted by Ben Golliveroj-mayo The word of the week in the NBA has been contraction. Once Ken Berger broke the news that reducing the number of teams in the NBA from 30 was an option that will be considered during upcoming rounds of Collective Bargaining between owners and players, the spotlight started shining on the league's struggling franchises, with an apparent gap developing between rich and poor.  Small-market Sacramento Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof came out quickly to state unequivocally that the Kings wouldn't be contracted or sold, while big-market former Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Magic Johnson came out in favor of contraction. Over the weekend, another small-market owner, Michael Heisley of the Memphis Grizzlies, was interviewed by Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal about the future of the Grizzlies, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary season in Memphis but are struggling to fill their stadium. Calkins asks Heisley whether the Grizzles can survive another 10 years.
"I don't know if I'll make it to a 20th year!" he says.
Heisley laughs. Even at 4 a.m., the man has a point. Who knows what will happen over the course of the next decade? Who knows if the Grizzlies will still be here in 2020? Who knows if Heisley -- now 77 -- will even be around to own the team? "I don't think it's something for people to worry about," Heisley says.
Making promises you can't keep is a cardinal sin for a professional sports team owner, so Heisley plays this one correctly, re-assuring the team's fans without committing to something he can't certainly deliver.  Calkins goes on to paint a morbid picture -- a half-empty FedEx Forum, talk of relocation at the team's 10th birthday party -- but he also points out that the team's arena deal and the depressed national economic state work against a Grizzlies relocation plan. The Grizzlies almost always make the short list for teams that might be contracted, given their attendance, struggles to make the post-season, and the fact that the team is in Memphis after relocating from Vancouver, in probably the best case of an expansion going wrong for the NBA.  One thing's for sure: no team that has been included in the contraction discussion has more talent than the Grizzlies. Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley and Hasheem Thabeet would make for one heck of a dispersal draft.  Thanks to Heisley, however, that fantasy doesn't sound like it's in play any time soon.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 1:48 pm
 

More on extensions for the class of 2007

Posted by Royce Young

Yeah I know. I've already gone over this. But Marc Stein of ESPN.com has some new information regarding who could be seeing a last minute contract extension before the Nov. 1 deadline.

And as was before, there may only be one player in line to join Joakim Noah and Kevin Durant with extensions and that's Al Horford. Sources maintain to Stein that a deal before the deadline remains probable, given Horford’s status as a borderline All-Star big man. Things were complicated with Joe Johnson's massive contract, but the fact Atlanta remains still on Jamal Crawford indicates they'd like to get something done with Horford.

But what about the other players? Stein says there's really nothing more than some "maybes" in that group. And that includes top pick Greg Oden. Reportedly, Oden is resigned to the fact he's not getting a deal and in fact, isn't really even asking for it. Understandable for both sides really. Oden's obviously had the health issues and both sides understand this is an important year for Oden's future not just with the Blazers, but in terms of his well-being.

How about Jeff Green, who I sort of went over already - where's he at? The Thunder have been characteristically quiet on negotiations but Stein says Green's camp and Sam Presti "aren't close" to getting anything done. However, there's been regular conversation between both sides and from I'm told, everyone is in good spirits. The Thunder are playing things carefully with Green with the new CBA coming plus Russell Westbrook's extension that's coming next summer.

Mike Conley (taken No. 4), Corey Brewer (No. 7), Rodney Stuckey (No. 15) and Aaron Brooks (No. 26) and likely looking at becoming restricted free agents as a deal probably isn't headed their way. Yi Jianlian (taken No. 6) and All Thornton (No. 14) of the Wizards have at least had negotiations but nothing appears to be coming, Stein says. However, he believes Yi may be getting an extension much like Andray Blatche's sometime soon.

Two others that are at least having discussion are Wilson Chandler (No. 23) and Jared Dudley (No. 22). Wilson's chances aren't great but Dudley, who's a quality bench player and a nice 3-point shooter, has a legitimate chance.

Overall, there's a very strong possibility only two players from 2007 will be getting extensions, with the chance of a third in Horford. And it's not like it was a bad class either. A combination of factors including injuries, team situations and the uncertainty of the new CBA have really complicated things for the class.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Memphis Grizzlies

Posted by Matt Moore
 
Out of nowhere, the Grizzlies rose to relevance last year, nearly making the playoffs in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. Over the summer they bucked up and paid the bill to keep Rudy Gay and became embroiled in a bizarre holdout with their rookies. The team again has low expectations and is flying under the radar. The question most people have is if they can possibly succeed like they did last season, and is that nearly enough? We take a look at where the Grizzlies are as we continue our Preseason Primers...




Training camp site: Memphis Grizzlies

Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Tony Allen (free agency), Acie Law (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)

Key subtractions: Ronnie Brewer (free agency)

Likely starting lineup:
Mike Conley (PG), O.J. Mayo (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Zach Randolph (PF), Marc Gasol (C)

Player to watch:
Xavier Henry. Why? Because we haven't seen him since Kansas finished getting eliminated by a massive underdog in the NCAA tournament. Henry was absent from Summer League due to the holdout stemming from Michael Heisley's bizarre insistance that the rookie earn his bonus by doing something extra as far as performance. Like, some sort of bonus performance. Silly man. Eyes will be on Henry, whose play could have multiple impacts on the Grizz. If he solidifies the backcourt rotation, the Grizzlies will finally gain some depth after being one of the shallowest rotations in the league last season. Furthermore, if he can work with O.J. Mayo as a pair of combo guards, it could mean less time for Mike Conley. With Conley coming up on a possible extension, these are relevant questions not just for this season, but going forward.


Chemistry quiz:
How can the frontcourt stay chipper? Marc Gasol, whose overall play may have been better than All-Star Zach Randolph last season, continues to face the fact that the Grizzlies drafted Hasheem Thabeet with the second overall pick. Hamed Haddadi occasionally looks like a player worthy of minutes. DeMarre Carroll needs to compete and compete hard in training camp if he wants to find minutes this year. The Grizzlies aren't deep in the frontcourt, but given the bizarre makeup of the players involved, its a wonder they got along so well last year. But they did. Shockingly, after Allen Iverson departed for the basketball ether, the team became very close, constantly rushing to each other in confrontations and celebrating. The team genuinely likes each other. They're like a peacful commune... that probably smells really bad at times.


Camp battles:
Backup point guard should be a good one, with Acie Law, Greivis Vasquez, and other camp invites vying for the backup slot. Okay, maybe "good one" is a bit much, but it should be competitive, especially given there's not that much of a gap between those players and Mike Conley in the point guard department.

Injury issues:
The Grizzlies are primarily healthy. Marc Gasol looked completely healthy in the FIBA tournament, though the wear and tear may have some impacts. All in all, they're a young team that's pretty healthy.

Biggest strength:
Up and down. The Grizzlies can get up and down the floor and have an efficient offense. They crash the offensive glass especially well with Randolph and Gasol. They hustle and very rarely get caught without an option to create a shot.

Glaring weakness:
Yet again, the answer is defense. The Grizzlies aren't individually terrible on defense, they're just bad within the system. Part of that function is built around their inability to get rest. The starters always play, and they get worn down. Plus, they're young. Put simply, if the team defense doesn't improve considerably, the odds of their record improving the ten games they need to make the playoffs are slim.
Posted on: July 13, 2010 12:36 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Xavier Henry is not playing Summer League

Posted by Matt Moore

Summer League is more important for rookies than is usually let on. It's the first look a coach gets at a player running in their system, playing for their team, playing among other NBA athletes. But Xavier Henry will not be getting that experience, as his agent Arn Tellem, has yet to hammer out an agreement with the Grizzlies on the 12th overall pick, despite the existence of a rookie pay scale specifically designed to keep these types of things quick and easy. Tellem has instructed Henry to miss Summer League until the issues are resolved.

It's not the end-all, be-all, after-all, only four players in heavy rotation on the Grizzlies are playing in Summer League, even though that's higher than most teams. Working with O.J. Mayo at point would have been a nice adjustment for Henry and the club as well, who needs Mayo to run the point well. Or really anyone to run the point well. Basically, any scenario in which Mike Conley spends less time on the floor dribbling a basketball is a good thing. But with 8 turnovers in last night's game , that's not looking promising either.

Pretty typical for the Grizzlies. One step forward, one step back.

(H/T: Straight Outta Vancouver )



 
 
 
 
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