Remember how I told you that I crave to create a bit of consistency of coverage within the blog? Well Sunday Tweeners this is going to be the first weekly feature. Tweeners is going to be a story that consists of several little stories; ones that just weren't quite enough to warrant becoming their own post, but I have too much of an opinion on to send to the graveyard. I'll try to link these up when I can, but lots of them might be general rumblings around the internets that don't really have a definitive link. Of course that's a long way of saying that I don't feel like digging through HoopsHype archives at the end of every week. This is a blog, not an academic journal, and most of these stories are going to be rumors and heresay anyhow, so the only difference between me linking and not will be you knowing the source was "an unnamed Western Conference GM."
Hop over the jump for this week's Tweeners. These not all Grizzlies news, so consider yourself warned.
Apparently O.J. Mayo has dedicated basically the entire offseason to developing his point guard skills. That means primarily improving his handles, since passing and court vision are difficult to learn in the gym. I'm pretty excited about this, but not exactly ecstatic. I know O.J. is a little small to guard big shooting guards like Kobe, Vince, or T-Mac, but who's not at this point? Counting Igoudala as a small forward, where he is most effective, Joe Johnson is pretty much the only "full-sized" shooting guard since those guys to make much of a splash. O.J. is 6'4" tall. How many teams are starting shooting guards over 6'6" at this point? I count 5, and that's counting Rasual Butler and Ronnie Brewer who aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard on the regular. Might we not be overvaluing the point guard a bit too much? My inclination is yes, especially since point guards develop slowly, combo guards rarely convert, and Mike Conley still has lots of hope.
The Magic signed Matt Barnes, which I absolutely love for them. Barnes is a better player than his stats would suggest. He is one of those toolsy guys who seems to be a little big and awkward for what he wants to do, and seems to be finding his game late in his career. Sound familiar? Like Hedo Turkoglu perhaps? I'm not calling him a second coming by any means, but they got a similar player for far cheaper. I think he needs to be starting over Pietrus, they would give up too much rebounding undersized at both forward positions.
Management is beginning to admit that Hasheem Thabeet is very much a project. This is not the original message, he was originally cast as a defensive stopper. He is not a defensive stopper yet, and is awful on offense at this point. I'm beginning to doubt he gets much run at all this season, probably around 12 minutes a game. Gasol may actually get a couple minutes more run than he did last season with Darko behind him.
Without Hakim Warrick the Grizzlies have a monumental hole at 6th man; one I predict DeMarre Carroll or Sam Young to have from the beginning of the season. This is pretty worrisome; they're both good players for where they were drafted, but not NBA 6th man quality scorers in their rookie seasons. With our new surplus of bigs it's clear the 6th man won't be a SF/PF tweener, I'm expecting we go with a swingman for that role and sign a normal backup point guard. I doubt we see a combo guard as the first to step off the bench, even though Conley is probably ideally the first starter off the court. Why? Money. Young and Carroll are already signed, and a backup PG will only cost around $2 million. A 6th man combo guard would cost about $5 million since his name would be Allen Iverson, and they probably would still need another point guard anyhow. Don't count Iverson out, but like Heisley I just don't see it happening. Wouldn't Iverson rather start on the Heat for $2 million than be a 6th man for the Grizzlies for $5 million? I'm inclined to believe so.