In honor of the upcoming holiday and in reverence for the body of work put forth by our season-opening Grizzlies, I've graded the players according to (mostly) awful candies that you may receive on Halloween.
Marc Gasol is Almond Joy. Marc returns as the heralded hometown hero, sticking with his folks until justice is served. He's a combination of excellent ingredients: court-vision, defensive grit, and savvy offense. Unfortunately, against the Cavs, these components combined to create am underwhelming, timid piece of candy that can't find a rhythm amongst the flavors--just like the milk chocolate, coconut base, and almonds of an Almond Joy.
Mike Conley is Three Musketeers. Buoyant and without substance. What's usually the cog that turns the machine's wheels couldn't find a grip in most offensive or defensive sets, and those beautiful floaters never found the right gravity to fall through the net.
Zach Randolph is Dots. At his optimal, ZBO is a delicious red gummy bear, bumping and bouncing off defenders with inexhaustible elasticity, rolling the ball off his soft gummy-bear hands into a softer gummy hoop for delicious buckets that can be chewed at length for a repetitively effective tastiness. Tonight ZBO was dots, with flashes of promise constantly undercut by decrepit flavors and an ineffective physicality that tires the entire mouth.
Tony Allen is the unlucky Starburst two-sleeve. Y'all it was confounding to conspire a candy-based metaphor to encapsulate the Grindfather's unpredictable ebb and flow of gift and gaffe. Despite the difficulty, I've come up with the loathed two-burst pack of Starburst: lemon and orange. By all accounts, unless employed to musk the taste of fish or excite the acidity of a whiskey sour, lemon is just an atrocious gustatory mistake that we'd all like to forget. Orange, on the other hand, is pretty alright in several circumstances (like when Tony forced a Lebron brick on one end and trashed a K-Love OREB into a layup on the other), but far and away a horrible manifestation of candy anywhere on the sweet-spectrum.
Courtney Lee is a Tootsie Roll: a partially hydrogenated performance existing between the planes of useful threes and grotesque bricks, groovy facilitation and ball-stopping, shot clock-exhausting prayers.
Jeff Green is Good and Plenty: you were hoping for the diverse beauty of Mike and Ike, but what you got was an onslaught of licorice and cement. For the record: Mike and Ike = slashing to the rim and making plays when you're not camped in the corner.
Brandon Wright is pretzels: OK I guess it's pretty alright for not being an actual item of candy, and in time we'll realize how to contextually enhance this salty treat with sweet chocolate coating via lobs in the pick-and-roll.
Matt Barnes is candy corn: a thing most people detest that I believe is a misunderstood and valuable compliment to the season.
Beno Udrih is Necco Wafers: Chalky, bland, probably manufactured around the late 70s and has been sitting around in a dusty warehouse for a couple decades. Try extricating one from its sleeve without it crumbling to powder.
Jamychal Green is Banana Laffy Taffy. More prevalent than we'd like, but relentless like the unquestioned yanking of taffy on tooth, and an unseemly awareness of its limited gifts in crashing ZBocalypticesque boards when not glued to the three-point side of the arc. Many candies would do themselves well emulating the strengths of banana Laffy Taffy.
Jordan Adams is a Hershey's Cookies ‘n Cream minibar. Complex texture simplified and underutilized. One, maybe two houses offered this delicious and short-lived escapade in decadence.
Russ Smith is Bit-O-Honey: these tiny samplings of sweetness didn't make up for de-socketing your teeth from their sockets.
Even though this season-opening candy haul was less than appetizing, the thrill of the hunt and rush of sweet basketball sugar has me jacked up for the rest of the season. And maybe there's a reason these gross candies have stuck around since the beginning of time.