Grizzlies Season Grades: Josh Selby, Hamed Haddadi And Gilbert Arenas.


(This is the twelfth part of an ongoing series where we will grade the Memphis Grizzlies team and franchise for the 2011-2012 season. The first ten parts can be found here: Lionel Hollins, Mike Conley Jr, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, O.J. Mayo,Marreese Speights, Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter, and Jeremy Pargo.)

We’re almost done. If you’ve been keeping up with every part of this season-in-review, I applaud you, you’re clearly a huge fan or a family member. Or both.

Today we finish up with the three guys who played the least this past season.

Josh Selby was taken by the Grizzlies in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft. He represented the Grizzlies’ only draft pick and played sparingly last season. Unfortunately, he never got regular minutes in Lionel Hollins’ rotation and spent a good amount of the season back and forth between Memphis and dominating the D-League with the Reno Bighorns.

Selby was a highly regarded college recruit ahead of his only season at Kansas. He was tagged with the dreaded “character concerns” before the draft and wasn’t as productive as was expected with the Jayhawks and slipped into the second round.

You know what you call a Kansas guy that’s on the board when Chris Wallace has a pick available in an NBA Draft? A Chris Wallace draft pick. Welcome to the team Josh Selby.

Wallace would draft me if he saw me hit a three-pointer while wearing a Danny Manning Jayhawk jersey.

That’s beside the point though. Selby has a high ceiling, even if he’s a little undersized to play the 2 and too ball-dominant to play point guard. He’s a combo guard in every sense of the word. That’s not a problem if your coach embraces the concept of the combo guard, but Lionel Hollins just isn’t that type of guy.

Don’t get me wrong, Selby wasn’t ready for the NBA game last year, but Hollins has never shown any inclination to play combo guards anyway. Who can forget the (in)famous point guard competition between Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley Jr.? Conley was deemed the winner by Hollins and three years later it looks like Lowry is the better player and is signed to a more reasonable contract somewhere other than Memphis. That’s the Hollins effect.

However, with O.J. Mayo’s impending departure, Selby will likely be counted on a lot as a bench scorer and could just be up to the challenge if he can hit his jumpers consistently.

Haddadi has become a fan favorite in his time with the team, but could be on his way out the door. It’s difficult to find 7 footers on the cheap and that’s definitely been Haddadi, but he’s another guy that seems to rent space in Hollins’ doghouse. He is a foul machine that doesn’t have a ton of offensive skill, but contests shots pretty well and lives to rebound.

Haddadi’s best game of the season likely came in the Grizzlies’ win against the Lakers in Los Angeles as he posted a line of 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in a shade under 13 minutes of game time.

Granted, Haddadi’s highlights weren’t always that bright, but often got stuff done when he played. If the Grizzlies can somehow bring him back at a low price tag, he could find his way back to the team where he could keep the executive suite in the Hollins Doghouse at least one more season.

Gilbert Arenas actually played for the Memphis Grizzlies this past season. The 18 year old Chuck Livingston would have gone crazy if I had a time machine. Gilbert was one of my favorite players for about three solid seasons when he was in Washington. I loved his game, I loved his blog and later his Twitter account. We saw some tough times when he knocked my Chicago Bulls out of the 2005 playoffs in the first round, but we worked through it.

Arenas’ Memphis career got off to a good start, but an injury late in the regular season stunted his growth and he barely got off of the bench in the first round loss against the Clippers, even though O.J. Mayo struggled from long range and never got going in general. That was a problem in a series where the Grizzlies struggled all season long.

I don’t expect Arenas to be back with the Grizzlies next season, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream. As good as Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay have been for the Grizzlies, Arenas gave the Grizzlies some legitimacy by being on their team. I know it sounds corny and maybe teams weren’t beating Arenas’ door down with offers to come and play for them, but the Arenas signing showed that the powers that be care more about building a winner than they used to.

In reality, that started during the 2009-2010 when the Grizzlies traded a first-rounder to Utah for Ronnie Brewer Jr. That trade didn’t pan out as Brewer barely played for the Grizzlies because of injuries, but it showed that the team was ready to stop accumulating assets and was ready to start contending.

While Arenas did sign to play for the veterans minimum, the Grizzlies could have easily said “Nah, we’ll roll with Jeremy Pargo, thanks,” but they didn’t. They brought another guy in and even though it didn’t totally work out, the effort was there.

Thanks for reading the Grizzlies Season Grades series. Some of the entries were a little wordy, so thanks for sticking with me. Be sure to stick around for the Three-Year Plan and the rest of the off-season craziness that is sure to follow.