First of all, I'd like to apologize for my absence during the past month or so. I recently moved and started graduate school, and I've been swamped. I think I've settled in the point where I'll again be active in both posting and in the comments sections.
As far as my selections for the Grizzlies' top shooting guards go, I essentially used Tom and Marcus' criteria with one addition of my own: sentimentality will be a factor as well. Some of these selections were difficult for me to make, especially considering my emotional attachment to some of these players as a Grizzlies fan, so I allowed myself to be slightly subjective. Granted, sentiment alone isn't strong enough to justify a position in my illustrious Top 5 (sorry Xavier Henry), but if two players were statistically similar, sentiment was the deciding factor. Call it 'likeability' if you will. Anyway, on to the 5:
Honorary Mention: Juan Carlos Navarro
In case you don't remember, we acquired the draft rights for Juan Carlos Navarro from Washington for a mere conditional second-rounder. Although Navarro had been drafted in 2002, he didn't cross the Atlantic until 2007, presumably to play with his best friend Pau Gasol. During his short tenure with the Grizz, La Bomba managed to average 10.9 points. Of his 9.3 attempted shots per game, more than half of his shots were from 3 (5.3 3PA) where he shot 36%, including the November 16th game against the Hornets where he went 8 of 9 (!!!!) from 3 on his way to scoring 28 points. JCN was our gunner off the bench that season, and though he was somewhat streaky, he was also a great player for us.
Unfortunately, you never got the impression that JCN actually enjoyed playing in the NBA, especially after the Grizzlies traded his best friend to the Lakers. Once the season finished, Navarro returned to Spain where he's played ever since. It's unfortunate, because Juan was a great sparkplug off the bench for us, and his 3 point is missed on the 3-pt deprived Grizzlies.
I'll be completely honest with you: I know nothing about Michael Dickerson beyond what I've read on Basketball Reference. I didn't begin following the Grizzlies until 2004, but Dickerson's numbers for his 3 seasons with the Grizzlies look pretty solid: 16.7 points per game, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists. He wasn't terribly efficient, but neither was Eddie Jones. All in all, 5 feels ok for him.
4. Tony Allen
It's entirely possible that Tony could move up this list after the next couple of seasons, but for now he's a solid 4. I can't praise Tony enough for his work last season. Not only was he a fantastic defender, but after Rudy went down, he really stepped up his offense, and managed to put in an efficient 8.9 points a game. He made the NBA's All-Defense 2nd Team, and, if it weren't for the voters' Kobe bias, he would have made the 1st team. Not only was he astounding in the regular season, but he stepped his play even more in the playoffs andwas pivotal in our strong playoff run. Finally, Tony seemed to blend in with the squad from day 1 (well, with everyone except for O.J.) and seemed to be a really positive locker room presence for a young Grizzlies squad. I can only hope we see more of the same from Tony.
3. Eddie Jones
Although the Grizzlies made it the playoffs in both 2004 and 2005, Jason Williams and James Posey were unhappy with their playing time and requested a trade. In a massive 5-team deal, the Grizzlies exchanged Williams and Posey for 3-time All-Star Eddie Jones. If this were based on entire careers, Jones would easily be at the top of the list; however, it wasn't until the end of his career that Eddie Jones played for the Grizzlies. He still managed to be effective on both ends, and helped the Grizzlies reach the playoffs in 2006. During his season-and-a-half, Jones averaged 10.1 points, but also averaged 1.5 steals, good for 3rd in the league in 2005-2006. It would have been nice to have Jones in his prime, but we can't complain about his tenure.
2. O.J. Mayo
You all knew O.J. was coming right? Although my feelings towards him are mixed, I can't deny his productivity. He's averaged 16.0 points, but has been much more efficient than either Dickerson or Jones. While he's nowhere near the defender that Tony Allen is, he's not a liablity either. Plus, he's managed to do all of this fairly consistently over 3 seasons. When we acquired O.J. for Kevin Love, we were hoping for a star, and while he hasn't lived up to our expectations, he's certainly been a good player for us.
1. Mike Miller
Miller is tricky to classify--is he a shooting guard or is he a small forward? NBA 2k usually lists him as a 2, which is good enough for me. Plus, he's my favorite Grizzly ever, and I think he deserves to be at the top of one of these lists. Now onto Miller, and I'll try not to gush.
If I were to write a post about the top 5 trades in Grizzlies' history, I think the trade for Mike Miller in 2003 would have to be on there. Essentially, we got Miller, a 1st- and a 2nd- round draft pick, and Ryan Humphrey for Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek, neither whom, in my opinion, ever amounted to much (Giricek has been out of the league since 2008). Miller, on the other hand, was one of our most consistent performers for 5 years, and even won the 6th Man of the Year Award in 2006. Here's some numbers for you: over the course of 5 seasons, he averaged 14.6 points per game while shooting 47.7% from the field and 41.5% (!!!!) from 3. In addition Mike was a good passer and rebounder for his position, with 4.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He was also durable, appearing in at least 70 games every season except for 2003-04, where he played in 65 games. All of these numbers fail to tell the whole story--Miller was the consumate professional during his tenure with the Grizzlies: he was consistent, reliable, get along well with his coaches and teammates, accepted his role, and never complained to the media or demanded a trade. My only criticism about him is that sometimes I wished that he would have been more selfish; even though he was a deadeye shooter and one of the Grizzlies' best scorers, he would look to get his teammates involved at the expense of shots for himself. As much as I detest the Miami Heat, part of me wants them to win a championship because I'd like for Mike Miller to get a championship ring. Regardless, he's the best shooting guard in Memphis Grizzlies' history.