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Memphis Grizzlies Bring Back a Player Day: Greivis Vasquez

The theme today on SB Nation is "Bring Back a Player"; which player you would want back on your team if you were able to do so? Leading off a day of Grizzly Bear Blues team coverage will be my choice, the back-up point guard who will forever live in Memphis post-season lore, Greivis Vasquez.

Greivis Vasquez would be quite helpful back in Beale Street Blue heading into the 2013-2014 season.
Greivis Vasquez would be quite helpful back in Beale Street Blue heading into the 2013-2014 season.
Andy Lyons

In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should explain that I hated Greivis Vasquez before Memphis. I am an University of Virginia sports fan now, especially basketball, but I originally loved the University of Maryland's basketball team. This was because of Lonny Baxter (whose play I emulated, at least in my own mind), Steve Blake, Juan Dixon and Gary Williams. Those teams were GREAT, and I remember the Final Four and National Title game in 2002 like it was yesterday.

Then, later on, Vasquez came along and he literally ruined Maryland basketball for me. His "swag", his dumb running floater lay-up that seemed to ALWAYS go in. His overall game just bothered me because of how awkward and reckless but seemingly always successful it was. I became a UVA Basketball fan in full force. Then, when I first moved to Memphis, Greivis was on the roster as the Grizzlies' first round pick in 2010. I was concerned that I would not be able to support a team with such a tool shed on it, even if it was as a back-up point guard who saw little or no time. But then I watched him play in the 2011 playoffs, and the guy won me over. He played key minutes in huge situations when Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo were in foul trouble. And also, he did ridiculous things like this...

That shot in a nutshell is the painful enigma that is Greivis Vasquez. He is so belligerently confident in himself he will make the worst decision ever, pulling the trigger on what appeared to be the worst shot ever at the worst possible time. And despite it all, he will make that shot and then yell in your face about it. After that magical playoff run Vasquez was traded before the start of the Lockout-shortened season for Quincy Pondexter. It appeared as if Greivis would be that same kind of player for New Orleans, confident yet relegated to the bench. But a funny thing happened; Vasquez developed his game, became a darn good distributor of the basketball and eventually became the starting point guard for the Zombie Hornets. He lead the league with 704 assists and finishing 2nd in the NBA Most Improved Player award voting. After the Jrue Holiday trade, Vasquez was moved to Sacramento, but his value in the league has been solidified.

That shot in a nutshell is the painful enigma that is Greivis Vasquez.

Given all of the back-up point guard drama of the past two seasons it sure would have been nice to have someone like Vasquez backing up Mike. So what if he can't defend and he is self-confident to a fault at times? He can run an offense for prolonged spurts and can make a play out of nothing. His improvement shooting the ball and ability to anticipate his teammates' movements are impressive, and he obviously has worked intensely on his game since his time in Memphis. Those qualities have been severely lacking in the Tony Wrotens, Keyon Doolings and Gilbert Arenas of the world. While Nick Calathes may indeed be the answer behind Conley, Grizz Nation would likely sleep more soundly heading into training camp with a known veteran commodity coming off the bench. Greivis Vasquez would be that commodity. That aggravatingly annoying yet proven and passionate commodity.