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Pondering the Grizzlies and larger things

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While cooped up in my house this weekend (and beyond), I had a little time to think about the Grizzlies. And how you can help a city in need.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who don't know, I currently live in northwest Houston, which means that my family and I spent the bulk of the weekend indoors while Hurricane Harvey sat, unmoving, and dumped upwards of a trillion gallons and 50 inches of rain on the city over the course of about four days.

We were the lucky ones. Water covered the street and trapped us inside, but we managed to avoid any flood damage. Others were far less fortunate. Flood waters have covered massive stretches of the city, taking out pieces of highway, and covering entire homes. Thousands were forced to evacuate with nothing more than the shirts on their back and whatever they could stuff into a few garbage bags. The rain has finally let up, but it will be weeks before things even begin to resemble "normal" in the city of Houston.

I'm sure most of you have seen photos, but if you haven't, they're heartbreaking.

So many people here have lost EVERYTHING. They need help. If you'd like to donate, anything—even a few dollars—would mean so much to these people.

If you want to help but aren't sure how, a quick Google search will go a long way. Plus, here's a few quick ideas:

  • SB Nation had a great list of places to donate here.
  • J.J. Watt has raised over $8.5 million as of writing and is still accepting donations.
  • A list of verified GoFundMe pages is listed here.
  • This may be too late, but Holly Whitfield posted a link about Memphians meeting up "a la Cajun Navy."

Please, go donate. This article will be here when you get back. And if you donate and you don't feel like reading the article, that's cool too. My #takes probably aren't that hot anyway.


Since this is nominally a Memphis Grizzlies website, I feel compelled to include at least something about the basketball team here. I had plenty of time to sit and think about the Grizzlies' season while trapped in my house. Here's a few of those thoughts.

1. The JaMychal Green situation is a disaster.

We're nearly two months into JaMychal Green's restricted free agency, and at this point, we've reached an impasse. The few teams that might have offered JaMychal a massive offer sheet have used up most of their cap space. Green hasn’t exactly been helped by his agent, either, whose lone attempt to strong-arm the Grizzlies elicited mostly a hearty round of eye-rolling.

Our own Jack Noonan had a column on the Green saga over the weekend, and I generally agree with his points. I’d also like to further emphasize that I’m not sure what the Grizzlies are doing here.

Without knowing what the Grizzlies are offering, it's hard to know how to fully apportion blame here, but it's not unreasonable to think that the Grizzlies aren't completely guiltless in this. Per Spotrac, JaMychal has made just over $2 million over the course of his career, and it’s possible that this could be his singular opportunity to cash in. It's fine that the Grizzlies want to avoid overpaying, but if Memphis' offer doesn't allow Green to feel like he's being fairly compensated, they risk fracturing the relationship. Given JaMychal’s age and niche role, it’s hard to see him gambling on the qualifying offer a la Nerlens Noel, but the Grizzlies would be better off avoiding burning a bridge with Green, who remains the sole proven NBA power forward on the roster.

Which brings us to my next point...

2. I have no idea what this team is doing with this roster.

Per Basketball Insiders, the Grizzlies currently have 15 players signed to guaranteed contracts. This doesn’t even include JaMychal Green’s qualifying offer, Mario Chalmers’ partially guaranteed camp invite (maybe) deal, or still unsigned second round pick Ivan Rabb.

Going into the offseason, it seemed expected that Brandan Wright would be moved in some capacity, or that some 2-for-1 deal would be made to free up roster space. Instead, the Grizzlies have simply added pieces around what was already there.

The larger problem now isn’t just that the Grizzlies have no roster space. It’s that most other teams don’t have roster space, either. In other words, there’s not a lot of opportunity for 2-for-1 trades out there even if the Grizzlies found someone willing to take on Wright, Jarell Martin, or any other player that’s been floated as a possible trade candidate this offseason.

That means we’re looking at someone on a guaranteed contract getting waived after camp a la Jordan Adams. It’s even MORE less than ideal if Mario Chalmers winds up outplaying your young point guards to the point that one of Harrison or Baldwin gets the axe.

It’s not a great position to be in, but the Grizzlies made their bed and must now lie in it.

3. I have no idea where this team finishes.

The Vegas over/under numbers were released this weekend. In a development that should surprise no one, the Grizzlies were listed at 37.5 wins, putting them 11th in the Western Conference. Only the Mavericks, Suns, Lakers, and Kings were given lower win totals.

I’m aware of how well the Grizzlies have outperformed expectations historically, and GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax makes fair points here, but the more I think about it, the less confident I feel in making any sort of prediction. The team's high end talent (Conley, Gasol) is fantastic. If Chandler Parsons can just be a semblance of his former self—even being an average rotation player would be an improvement over last season—the Grizzlies will have a great triumvirate of talent to lead the team.

But even blindly assuming Parsons health, the team's roster is a mix of inexperience and question marks and injuries. There are so many variables that even trying to take health into account for any projection feels like quantum physics. The variance of results for this team are just so wide. If the team is bad and players are hurt, the season could quickly turn into a fire sale. If everyone stays reasonably healthy (LOL), they might be good but will still struggle to finish with home court for a playoff series.

So much for the Grizzlies has to go right just for the Grizzlies to get into the bottom half of the playoffs. There’s so many more ways for them to wind up on the road to underperformance.

You know what? On second thought, I think I’ve convinced myself. Take the under.