Grizzlies owner Heisley not sure why his team stinks

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Last season the Memphis Grizzlies were just below .500 (40-42), just out of the playoffs in the West. So they brought the band back together, expected a step forward and…

Not so much. They are 8-14 and sitting 12th in the Western Conference. And that has owner Michael Heisley confused, as he told the Commercial Appeal.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Heisley said of the Grizzlies’ 8-14 record. “We’re having a difficult time and I don’t know what the reason for it is. I started the season with high hopes for the team. It’s not living up to what I’d hope. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure it out.”

“We just have to get ourselves righted and go on a (winning) streak like we did last year in December,” Heisley said. “I still like our team. I don’t like the results. But we play hard. By the All-Star break we’ll have a better idea of where we are. We’ve just got to get to .500 by the All-Star break.”

If not, he said they would have to consider making a move.

As a service, let me help Heisley out a little bit — it’s the offense. Yes, the injuries have been a part of it, yes the schedule has been though (fourth toughest in the league), but the offense has been your problem.

Last season the Grizzles were the best offensive rebounding team in the league, this season they are okay at 10th in the league. Last season got to the line much more, they were 12th in the league in free throw to field goal ratio. This season? Try 29th. OJ Mayo isn’t shooting all that well and doesn’t like coming off the bench. The list goes on and on (but does not include Mike Conley anymore, good call there, we were wrong about him).

Maybe the Grizzlies can get healthy and get on a bit of a run. Or, maybe, this team pretty much reached its potential as it was last season and to expect more improvement across the board without significant additions was a mistake. Probably more the latter.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.