With training camp started up and the season looming, the blogosphere is starting to get re-engaged with material: people are starting power rankings, player previews, and we have even been covering Gasol and Spain’s performance in the EuroBasket tournament. In general, there’s more material to get to.
So, we’ve compiled another handy link dump to articles worth giving your time. Sit down with a cup of coffee or bookmark this one, because it’s going to be pretty long.
The major development has been ESPN’s declaration that the Grizzlies as the #1 team in Sports, which is exciting for the team as well as the fans and the city. It’s hugely satisfying to have the team’s best year in franchise history capped off with such a wonderful announcement, rewarding the city for it’s amazing commitment to the team, and vice versa.
As well, Sports Illustrated’s ranking of Marc Gasol at 14th in league is pretty satisfying.
But enough to-do, here’s the links for your enjoyment:
Memphis Grizzlies Named Best Overall Franchise in Sports: By Grizzlies.com
The Memphis Grizzlies are entering their 13th season in the Bluff City and 19th season in the NBA. The Grizzlies reached new heights in their first season under new management, setting a franchise record for regular season wins (56) and reaching the 2013 Western Conference Finals. The Grizzlies are renowned both nationally and internationally for their commitment to excellence and loyalty to the Memphis community, being honored as the best overall North American professional sports franchise by ESPN The Magazine in 2013 and winning the prestigious Beyond Sport Team of the Year Award in 2012.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year draws on a daunting level of spatial intelligence. That, even more than size, is Gasol’s greatest gift…Folded into that understanding are countless micro-calculations of passing angles and driving possibilities, which Gasol seems to comprehend in a moment’s notice and adjust for in real time. He’s constantly shuffling his feet, moving a few inches this way or that, if only for the sake of eliminating a single scoring threat at a time. He can’t realistically control for them all, but in total this approach helps Gasol establish a vast defensive impact, so much so that most every piece of empirical evidence available supports his claim as one of the best defenders in the league.
If you’ve forgotten, let’s re-visit how good Pau was in his prime. From the minute he suited up for the Grizzlies until his departure, Pau averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game while posting a PER of 21.7. You know who else achieved that feat during this time span? Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. While Pau didn’t bring the defensive prowess those two did, that is elite company to be in.
I’d like Ish Smith please. Oh, you don’t want him? Just give me Dominique Jones. Oh, you don’t want him? Just give me Xavier Henry. Oh, you don’t want him? Just give me Hasheem Thabeet. Oh you don’t want him? Just give me Sergei Lishouk. Oh, you don’t want him? Just give me Fab Melo. Oh, you don’t want him? Just give me Marko Jaric. Oh, you don’t want him? Just give me Brian Cardinal. Oh, you don’t want him?…
The Grizz have their share of obstacles before they find themselves playing in June. Offensive corrections, such as opening their shooting options, must be made. New head coach Dave Joerger can’t let this scrappy dark horse fade. Like last season, the Grizz will face a close race for a top-four playoff spot.
Allen’s defensive rating of 98.4 is 4th in the NBA, and the highest of any perimeter player beside Paul George. He tied for 14th in Defensive Win Shares with 4.1. There’s a reason why the advanced stats peg Allen as such a talented defender–Allen’s ability to put a body on and hound even the most talented scorers is truly elite. He’s tough, he’s scrappy, and puts a load of effort into staying in front of his man and contesting the shot.
You don’t have to be an offensive savant to realize that the Grizzlies may run into several of the same problems they faced with Prince last year, even with Joerger’s promises to “push the tempo” and better utilize the bench. At 33 years old, Prince is obviously winding down his illustrious NBA career, and if he is unable to at least find the open floor and hit midrange J’s when needed, the Grizzlies may be unable to advance past the Conference Finals (if, indeed, they can reach them again next year).
Finally, This AMAZING Play From Marc Gasol In Spain: Seriously, just watch it.