Chip Crain over at the always excellent and much better connected 3 Shades of Blue had his annual long interview with General Manager Chris Wallace. And when I say long, I mean long, this puppy is 5 parts, so let me pull out some highlights for your reading pleasure.
On the future, the 3 Year Plan, and competing for the playoffs this season:
One, we have continuity on the roster and with the coaching staff. So, even if we didn't bring any new players into the fold we would be an improved team next year just off of that basis. I believe our rookies are going to help to mature. They are going to zero in to the coaches.
And tucked at the bottom we get this little nugget of information:
I'm not sure exactly how that's all going to take place but there will be some other faces on the roster that aren't currently on it. So, I'm excited about this upcoming season.
Sounds like a backup point guard alert to me, which sounds like a very good thing given O.J. Mayo and Greivis Vasquez's Summer League turnover rates.
Get over the jump for tons and tons of other information, and definitely hit up 3SOB if you want to read it all.
Well you always need to improve your basis and you've got to go find guys that can be ringleaders and become one of the top three players in the league. We've got a couple of guys who could become that now but we need to go find more.
I'm not sure I've seen any top 3 players on the Grizzlies at their positions, much less in the league.
On the Western Conference diminishing and the Grizz playoff hopes:
We could have a fairly significant move away from a team that was in the playoffs last year in the West with one of their top guys going to the East so all of that works in our favor. So the players that get recycled into the East, we still have to play them, but that is a far different equation than if they suddenly land in your division. Or even in your conference.
On selling the 25th pick to semi-rival Dallas in the draft this year:
There really weren't many opportunities around where we could do that deal. The market for selling first round picks wasn't as robust as it had been the last couple of years. Every team in the world, well the league, wasn't clamoring for an extra pick in the late 20s. There wasn't the volume of teams interested like there was in previous years.
Most teams, ourselves included, prefer to do these deals when we know what's there not in advance. So that number of possible teams that would do that deal had shrunk dramatically in the preceding days even not just that night when the opportunity was there to make that transaction.
This almost semi-confirms my opinion that the Grizzlies would have kept the pick if Damion James fell one more spot to them at number 25.
Later in the interview Wallace steps noticeably away from Coach Hollins hard-line that O.J. is not a point guard:
Well we haven't gotten to see O J play to a great extent against competition in that position or even practice. So I don't know if at the conclusion of four days of practice and two games that you'll be able to say definitively that he isn't a point guard or he isn't one.
Oh, and P.S., Haddadi didn't play because he forgot to turn his forms into the Iran in time (not really):
I don't know if Haddadi will get there because of Visa immigration issues...
Wallace on scoring higher in lateral quickness tests than Vasquez, and Vasquez's defense:
Well he's not the quickest person and he is going to have to learn how to defend and play of a little cat and mouse defensive game in the NBA but he's a guy who has a tremendous feel for the game and is extraordinarily competitive and passionate. So I think he'll figure it out to enough of a degree to be successful. Will he ever make the first or second All League defensive team? Probably not. But he's the type of guy that you can incorporate into a team defensive structure and he can be successful.
And Wallace on maybe-Grizzly Xavier Henry:
Well Xavier was an elite high school player and that doesn't always hold up but there is some correlation. [...] Plus Xavier has an NBA ready body. Some players come into the league and need to undergo that process. Xavier has good size, especially in the backcourt, good elevation on his jumper, a solid stroke that can be moved out in short order to the NBA three point line, a high, high caliber individual from a very strong athletic family and I don't think you saw all the layers of his game last year at Kansas because he playing on an upper class dominated team and I believe he was concerned about fitting in. He didn't want to push himself on that team.
And moving on to Darrell Arthur, who both me and Wallace forgot was so young still:
Darrell is a much needed player for us. If he'd have been healthy for the full year and productive we would have won more games last year just by his presence. [...] He also can play big behind Zach Randolph and also he's versatile enough in an era of small ball - when so many teams, especially in the Western Conference, come after you with a number of smaller players and not a traditional towering center - his ability to slide over and be the small ball center is very important to us.
By small ball he went when Hasheem Thabeet fouls out, I think.
And finally, more recognition that, for now, luxury tax is the limit, not 13 players:
Somebody is going to come on. Maybe somebodies. Who knows? We have the Mid-Level Exception and the Bi-Annual. We haven't used the bi-annual in a number of years. We are not a team operating under the cap like we did last year. So it's a different environment but we still have potentially some weapons at our disposal. We just haven't determined what we are going to do.