After an absolutely awesome opening week of the Greatest Grizzly Tournament, we now are heading into Week 2 and the Sweet 16. With nearly 9,000 votes cast during the initial week of action, there was plenty of interaction, discussion, and debate. Though last week went mostly as expected, there were a few closer than expected face-offs, and even a few upsets. This week should be even more full of surprises.
As discussed last week, each player’s ledger has been wiped clean, and the remaining participants will have a clean slate. Once the voting begins, the player who earns the most votes over a 24 hour period will move on in their respective region. The end result will be an Elite 8, followed by the Final Four, and the championship, all of which will be determined next week.
With that in mind, here is the layout for the week:
Zach Randolph vs. Jaren Jackson Jr.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim vs. Rudy Gay
TUESDAY- BIG SPAIN REGION:
Marc Gasol vs. Ja Morant
Mike Miller vs. Jason Williams
WEDNESDAY- CONDUCTOR REGION:
Mike Conley vs. Mike Bibby
Shane Battier vs. Courtney Lee
THURSDAY- GRINDFATHER REGION:
Tony Allen vs. OJ Mayo
Pau Gasol vs. Vince Carter
As can be seen, there are a wide range of showdowns. Names from the past facing off against one other, all-time franchise greats versus potential future superstars, and arguably the best two overall talents to ever wear the Grizzlies’ jersey for more than a year. Obviously, there are many different ways to vote. It will be quite interesting to see how Grizzlies fans choose to go with their decisions.
Here are some quick thoughts in regards to each individual matchup:
- With Z-Bo facing JJJ, Grizzlies fans get to decide between perhaps the most beloved talent in franchise history versus the most unique talent in franchise history to date. While Randolph should emerge with the victory, fans may make the faceoff closer than one might expect
- Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Rudy Gay could be one of the closer votes of the week. Abdur-Rahim was the closest version of a star the Grizzlies had in Vancouver, while Gay is one of the best natural talents in franchise history. It will be fun to see how much Gay remains in positive favor with Grizzlies as he faces one of the best offensive talents in franchise history.
- The most intriguing face-off of the week, Marc Gasol and Ja Morant, truly presents the best opportunity of how Grizzlies fans value production vs. projection. Gasol arguably has been the most productive Grizzlies player in franchise history, but no talent has projected to be a pure future superstar like Morant. It will be amazing to see the thoughts of many that vote in this clash.
- With Mike Miller and Jason Williams, fans will get to decide between two of the more memorable talents to ever play in a Memphis backcourt. While Willams’ style of play was certainly valued and admired, Miller’s efforts beyond the arc and off the court are held in high regard to this day. It could come down to longevity versus style of play.
- Between Mike Conley and Mike Bibby, over half of the franchise’s existence is spoken for in terms of a trusted floor General. Though Bibby was successful directing the attack in the first few years of the franchise, Conley is rightfully an icon and one of the most beloved talents to play in Memphis. Fans will have the chance to show their appreciation for two significant players who helped mold the Grizzlies past successes.
- Shane Battier and Courtney Lee may be the least intriguing matchup of the week, but they also could be the closest in terms of the votes. Both players were solid supporting members, and had plenty of success when called upon. While Battier was the first ever draft pick for the team in Memphis, Lee was one of the better additions to the team during the Grit and Grind era. It will be fun to see which reliable role player emerges victorious.
- With Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo, it could come down to passion and production. No player made the most of his time in Memphis like Allen, while few players had the natural talent of Mayo. This could be one of the more discussed duos of the week due to their past with each other.
- Between Pau Gasol and Vince Carter, Grizzlies fans got to witness two of the all-time greats in the NBA. While Gasol may have had the more distinguished career, Grizzlies fans instantly fell in love with Carter’s style of play and personality. After an upset victory in round one, Carter may have a better chance than expected to do it again in round two.
These matchups should be fun and exciting each and every day this week in determining who goes home and who moves on. While some pairings may be more exciting than others, there will be plenty of chance for some surprises and upsets. In the end, the enjoyment should only grow with each passing day as the Greatest Grizzly Tournament continues on.