After some of the wind has blown over from the Rudy Gay-to-Toronto trade, myself, Marcus and Keith discuss some ins and outs of the transaction.
1) Grade the MEM-DET-TOR trade.
Marcus Privitt: B+. Memphis, statistically, didn't lose Rudy Gay. They replaced his production with new pieces on the court. Most importantly, though, they got cleared up financially for the offseason. We'll be $10m under cap next season: a season where the luxury tax is supposed to increase. Why I didn't push the B+ up to the A- is because I don't like Prince's age (32) and I'm still not entirely sold on him fitting in on this team. But I like Ed Davis. A lot.
Trisity Miller: I'll give it an A-. I mean, it isn't J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce or Jared Dudley like I wanted, but the value that we got while saving money to improve the team in the immediate future is impressive. Tayshaun's play throughout his career is perfect for the Grit-N-Grind mantra and Lionel Hollins and if he can keep his 3-point shooting above 38% then it's a win. As far as Austin Daye and Davis go, they'll provide depth and quality off the bench, something we haven't had in years.
Keith Edwards: B+. We didn't get what a lot of us thought we'd get for Rudy, and we definitely didn't get younger, but we got quality. Prince should spread the floor really, really well.
2) Which of the new pieces (Prince, Davis, Daye) will be most important for Memphis to have a deep playoff run?
Privitt: Tayshaun Prince. Prince is averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds. He's going to need to step up in these two categories if we expect him to be a Rudy Gay replacement. Also, Prince brings strong, efficient defense to Memphis - a team already characterized by a gritty defensive game. An offensively stronger Tayshaun Prince while maintaining his professionalism and defense will do great things for this team.
Miller: The obvious would be Prince since he's filling in for Gay's spot, but Ed Davis is just as important. Since we traded Speights, it left only Darrell Arthur, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in the front court and with that comes fatigue. Marc Gasol is the face of this franchise and if Davis can rightfully spare him minutes at the center position while pounding the boards (averages 9.9 per-36 minutes), then he'll be huge. Also his back to the basket game will be neede playing alongside DA with the second unit.
Edwards: Prince, no question. Davis will allow them to see if they can move ZBo in the summer, and Daye is stretch 4 fodder (I don't think Lionel let's him see much floor time). Prince, if he can play quality defense and hit 2-3 three pointers a game, and allow us to run through the bigs again, that could be huge.
3)With Rudy Gay gone, which of the "Big 3" will have to step up the most?
Privitt: Marc Gasol. He's gotta shed the offensive inconsistency and become the player we know he is. This needs to be an offense run through Z-Bo and Gasol with the occasional offensive threat on the outside. The sooner Gasol realizes this and begins to fill that role, the better.
Miller: If this doesn't open the window for Marc Gasol to show the world why he's the best player on this team, then I don't know what does. We've seen how Memphis has looked with Gasol being used as "the man" the past 4 games and it's a nice outlook. As the best offensive center in the NBA, I never understood why he wasn't featured in the offense more, but now there's no excuse to not see Gasol scoring almost 18-10 every night.
Edwards: Zach has to be the guy again. If he can return to a 20-10 guy with the extra touches he'll get, and carry us the way he did two years ago, we will still be very dangerous.
4) How impressed are you with what Jason Levien, John Hollinger, and the rest of the new Grizzlies front office has done so far?
Privitt: "Impressed" isn't exactly the word I would use here, simply because we have not played a minute of basketball since this trade broke. And I gotta admit: when the Cleveland trade happened, I was scared. When this Toronto/Detroit trade happened, I was scared. Speights (a guy we grew to love coming off the bench), Ellington (always fun to watch, especially when he offensively explodes), Selby (bright future possibly taken away from us), Haddadi (so so so much character to this team) and Rudy Gay (our guy we loved/hated, but still loved) are all gone within 8 days. Undoubtedly there's a lot of fans scared right now. Now that the dust has settled, though, I'm less scared and more excited to see a game of Grizzlies basketball.
Miller: As far as the personnel move, I'm quite impressed with what Hollinger has pulled off esp. if Ed Davis turns into the player everyone thinks he can be. We all knew that Gay as gone as soon as Hollinger was hired. It was only a matter of time, but he got quality pieces and prepped the team to not be cap-locked in the future. As far as Levien, he's gotta handle the press better. Since new management has taken over, they've left this team and it's fan asking questions and wondering what's next. Hopefully that changes in the future.
Edwards: Levien, unimpressed. He seems like the guy who leaked a lot of info and falsely assure the players that the core would stay together. Hollinger, mildly impressed. I find it hard to believe we couldn't get a better deal, but the deal we did get should allow us to get much better offensively.