One ball, four ball hogs

10 09 2009

Here’s a science experiment for you:

Say the core of your team is comprised of a cocky 21-year-old guard (15.6 field goal attempts, 43.8 field goal percentage in ’08-’09), a gifted yet still developing 23-year-old swing man (16 fga, 45.3 fg%), and a notoriously surly and immature 28-year-old power forward (17.4 fga, 47.5 fg%) on a team which has standards so low that the Clippers look like a championship contender. What could be the best possible addition to give the team hope of gelling and turning into a perennial playoff contender? Well, of course, by signing a 34-year-old who’s averaged 22 shots per game with a 42.5 field goal percentage for his career. Naturally.

That was officially the move of the Memphis Grizzlies today, who will somehow stick Allen Iverson on the court with O.J. Mayo (21 years old), Rudy Gay (23) and Zach Randolph (28). Randolph is known as perhaps the most unlikeable player in the NBA. The only way this team will find enough shots for just the four players, let alone the rest of the team, is if they play like the Doug Moe-led Nuggets squads of the ’80s. Mayo is a flashy young thing who might have too much J.R. Smith / Stephen Jackson in him for his own good. Gay is a relatively mild-mannered player who has a legion of poor career influences.

Yet Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley plays off the Iverson signing as another critical addition to an aspiring playoff squad. When in reality it’s a desperate move by an owner looking to jump start an alienated fan base that already saw its best-ever franchise player — Pau Gasol — traded to the Lakers two years ago for two bum players, a couple draft picks and a big knife in the back to all the Memphis fans who paid far more than what should have been required to watch a Griz game in person.

Unfortunately, Heisley, like most owners, continues to lie through his teeth to his customers. The Grizzlies are not a playoff squad, with or without Iverson. Memphis is merely a rest stop for AI, who signed a one-year deal, to revive his career and find a real playoff-caliber squad in the famed Summer of ’10. The sooner Heisley admits to his customers that he just wants a few more butts in the seats every night, the sooner fans could be willing to embrace the team and ignore the fact their hometown franchise is as far away from another playoffs appearance as Heisley is to ever becoming a credible owner.

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