Our Race to the Playoffs tell you that the Grizzlies still have an outside shot at the playoffs. If they’re going to keep that hope alive, they’ll need Marc Gasol who has missed five games with a partially torn neck muscle.
Luckily, the normally iron-clad Gasol is making a fast comeback. Even with the torn muscle, Gasol will play Sunday at Milwaukee, via the Memphis Commercial Appeal. These five games were the first games Gasol has missed in his two year career, and the effect has been noticeable. While Zach Randolph is often credited with Memphis’ turnaround alongside O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay, Gasol has been pivotal for what the Grizzlies do well. He’s a beast on the boards, able to run the pinch post high, a terrific passer, has better offensive abilities than he uses most times.
The question will be what happens to Hasheem Thabeet, who has played surprisingly well since a ten day trip to the D-League. Thabeet has shown the ability to convert at the rim, rebound, block shots, and have a sense of awareness at both ends. Which is a huge improvement from earlier in the season, when he couldn’t really do any of that.
The Grizzlies need to determine where Thabeet fits in their future. Gasol fits incredibly well in the system. The problem is that you don’t pay #2 overall picks to come off the bench. Even if the Grizzlies are devoted to Thabeet long-term, in order to get him the time he requires, he needs to play. And the Randolph-Gasol combo seems too good to break up.
Which leads to discussions like those going on at Grizzlies blog Straight Outta Vancouver over trading Thabeet. Trading Thabeet with the potential he’s shown might help the Grizzlies improve at one of their weakspots, like point guard. But giving up on him is a risk in and of itself. It’s quite a corner the Grizzlies have painted themselves into, but at least having two capable centers with upside is a problem a lot of teams would like to have.
The list of traditional ball-handling point guards who liked and thrived in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense is a short one. While guys who could initiate the offense then play off the ball did well (Derek Fisher, for example), traditional points used to controlling the flow of the game chaffed in the system. Ask Gary Payton about it.
So how are things going with Derrick Rose as he adjusts to the triangle in New York?
If Phil Jackson were going to be any of the seven dwarfs, it would be Grumpy.
The Knicks are going to run a hybrid version of the triangle that will incorporate coach Jeff Hornacek’s preferred up-tempo style and the offense Jackson wants in the halfcourt.
Slotting in a number of new players — Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, etc. — with a new system likely means some early-season struggles on offense for the Knicks. The team’s offense should smooth out as the season stretches out — so long as they can stay healthy. But that’s a different discussion.
Three all-time greats retired from the NBA this year.
What’s next for Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett?
Kobe is making movies and babies. Duncan is hanging around Spurs practice and is expected to join the franchise full-time.
Garnett? Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who was an assistant coach for the Celtics when Garnett played in Boston, wants him to join his staff.
Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I talked to him about it,” Lue said Thursday, following the Cavs’ practice. “I know his wife is pushing for it a lot. Brandi is pushing for it, trying to get him to come and coach. He says he’s not ready yet. He goes back, ‘I might do it,’ but he’s back and forth. We’ll see.
“But I’d definitely make a spot for him if he wanted to come back and coach.”
Lue said Garnett would be in Cleveland for the Cavs’ opening night ceremonies, which will include the raising of the franchise’s first championship banner.
I’d be surprised if Garnett joins Cleveland’s staff, but I’m also surprised Garnett is joining the Cavs to celebrate a title he played no part in winning. So, maybe ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
More importantly, has Lue checked with LeBron James about this idea? LeBron might not like it.
The ProBasketballTalk Podcast at NBC Sports is done with its summer hiatus, and there will be a couple of podcasts a week now running through the NBA season, trade deadline, playoffs, and eventually free agency. We’ll talk about it all.
We start with NBA season previews, going division by division, and we start that tour on the West Coast. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News joins Kurt Helin of NBC to talk about the Lakers and their rebuild. From there the conversation goes to questions such as can anyone beat the Warriors? Are the Clippers contenders? Plus we talk about the building processes going on in Sacramento and Phoenix.
As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.
The Rockets created a little roster confusion by giving Gary Payton II a fully guaranteed deal, bringing Houston to 15 players (the regular-season roster limit) with guaranteed salaries plus restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas.
This won’t clarify the situation, but P.J. Hairston will give the Rockets another intriguing piece.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Hairston was a first-round pick just two years ago, and at age 23, he still presents upside. He has at least stopped producing negative headline after negative headline after negative…
Now, we can focus on just Hairston’s major on-court flaws. He misses a lot of shots and does little else. But he has some raw tools, even if they barely showed with the Hornets and Grizzlies.
If the Rockets make a roster-clearing move, they could take a chance on keeping the talented/troubled wing around. More likely, he heads to the D-League, where Houston can develop him in its system.