First, a look at the stats:
|2012 - Hamed Haddadi||30||10.7||1.2||2.7||42.7||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.5||0.9||51.9||1.4||2.3||3.7||0.4||1.0||0.2||0.9||2.0||2.8|
There's no denying that Hamed Haddadi was a fan favorite in Memphis up until he got shipped out to Toronto as part of the deal that sent Rudy Gay northward. Without being able to get his visa situation squared away—Haddadi is from Iran, so sometimes paperwork issues take longer—Haddadi never played a game for the Raptors, instead getting dealt to the Phoenix Suns close to the deadline.
And honestly? That's probably the best thing that could've happened to Haddadi: going to a team where he would actually get some minutes. Before the trade, Haddadi played 87 minutes across 13 games for the Grizzlies. After, he played 235 spread across 17 games, all after the trade deadline.
Haddadi's goofy enthusiasm made him a fan favorite in Memphis. The way he smiled after dunking on somebody (especially Shaq), the way he sucked up every rebound that came anywhere near him (seriously, he rebounded at a rate of almost 10 per 36 minutes, just behind Marreese Speights, Zach Randolph, and Ed Davis), and the way he played like it was his last game on earth whenever Lionel Hollins decided to put him in.
And that was always the issue: Haddadi never got any minutes. After the trade that sent Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington to Cleveland for Jon Leuer, it seemed like he was going to get more playing time... but no. It never happened. Hollins, justified or not (and I tend to think not, because even though his scoring is limited, Haddadi is an excellent rebounder and he always uses all six of his fouls) never played him.
Hard not to like a guy who plays that hard even though the coach hardly ever plays him. I'm not saying he's Wilt Chamberlain, but when a guy has that obvious of a connection with a fanbase and a city, it's always sad to see him go2.
And now for the grades, which are heavily impacted by his lack of minutes—except for the category that has little to do with minutes:
- Production — D
- General Grizznosity — A-1
- Clutch Performance — C
Overall Grade: C
...but I really want to give him an A. Miss you, Hamed.
Haddadi was regularly seen at his usual spot downtown after games. Go to a Griz game, go to a downtown restaurant, and there's Hamed Haddadi there with you? That's the kind of stuff that makes you a fan favorite. ↩
Hamed is/was also a friend of this blog from the Straight Outta Vancouver days. Not sure whether he still reads it, but if you do, hi, Hamed! ↩