Here we are again.
I recently tackled naming the best PG in franchise history. Now, I’m going to do the same for the shooting guard position. So let’s get right to it. Your top 5 SGs in Memphis Grizzlies franchise history.
5. James Posey
The high socks. The headband. The classic black matte shoes. James Posey. Though he was only here for two years, he enjoyed his best year statistically with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2003-2004 year while shooting at respectable levels from the field. He’s now passing on his knowledge as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. From the way he slightly turns his feet to the left while in the air when he’s attempting a shot, to his on-court fashion sense, he earns himself a spot on the top 5 SGs in Memphis franchise history.
4. Michael Dickerson
Notice the high sock trend going on here. Looking at you, Dillon Brooks.
The first “what if” story for the Memphis Grizzlies. Michael. Dickerson. For Memphis, he played a total of ten games. Ten. So why is he on this list? I’ll tell you. Simply put, he was a baller in Vancouver. As one of the few players to come to Memphis from Vancouver, he was a bright spot for them after trading away Mike Bibby and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. After a sub-par rookie season with the Houston Rockets, he burst on to the scene with a career high 18 points per game in his sophomore year in the league. He established himself as a NBA ready SG in year two. His third year did not disappoint as well. Though his numbers dipped slightly, he continued to show that he had a bright future in this league.
However, after suffering injuries, his career just never recovered. However, because of his early contributions, plus his potential, he earns himself a spot here on the top 5 SGs in Grizzlies history.
3. O.J. Mayo
Buckle up. Here we go.
What a career for Mayo. Dubbed the next “Kobe Bryant”, expectations were high for this young man from the start. Granted, no one should be compared to Kobe Bean, but O.J. was an absolutely stunning player to watch in high school and college. Going against a loaded Memphis Tigers squad featuring Derrick Rose, O.J almost single handledly defeated Memphis. In the 2008 draft, Memphis selected him with the 3rd overall pick. (Russell Westbrook, his crosstown rival at UCLA, was selected 4th.)
O.J. enjoyed a very successful rookie season, and landed on the All-Rookie First Team. Then, it all came crashing down. His play just diminished. Off court issues seemed to take over. Memphis decided against offering him an extension, and a year or two later he was gone. In 2016, he was suspended for two years for violating the NBA Anti Drug Program. (Russell Westbrook went on to win the MVP in 2017.) Because of his early success, and the hype that he brought to Memphis, he lands himself on the top 5 SGs in Grizzlies History.
2. Mike Miller
Mr. Let It Fly. Your assistant coach of THE University of Memphis Tigers basketball team. Mike. Miller. I don’t need to sit here and tell you his accomplishments, but I’m going to anyway. He’s the first, and only, player in franchise history to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. No one has hit as many clutch shots as Mike Miller wearing the Beale Street Blue in my opinion. He’s second in franchise history in three pointers made. He’s sixth in assists in franchise history. Simply put, on a night in and night out basis, he was balling out at 191 Beale Street.
As if that wasn’t enough, he’s made a home out of Memphis in his post NBA career as well. His former AAU team was based right here out of Memphis. His son attends my former high school, Houston High School. He’s as Memphis as it gets. He’s has two stints with the Grizzlies, and he was amazing both times around. Because of his on, and off court, accomplishments, both during and post NBA career, he’s earned himself a spot right here on the best SGs in Grizzlies history.
1. Tony Allen
Mr. Grit and Grind himself. He changed this city with his unscripted interview stating he’s all heart. He gave this city an identity, and the city embraced him for it. His play on the court translated his talk as well.
First. Team. All. Defense.
He was the first player in franchise history to earn that honor. As if that’s not enough, he did it three times. Kobe Bryant is on record saying Tony Allen is one of the toughest players to play against. High praise from The Mamba. He struck fear in the opposing teams best player night in, and night out. His jersey will one day be retired by the Memphis Grizzlies, and though the original Grit and Grind Era didn’t bring a parade down Beale Street, I think the city can settle for him changing the mentality of an entire city. As if that wasn’t enough, he kicked Chris Paul in the face.
For those reasons, he is the single greatest shooting guard in Grizzlies franchise history.
Honorable Mention -Juan Carlos Navaro, Vince Carter