Friday, 30 September 2011
TEAM NOTES: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS & MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Our new feature 'Team Notes' takes two related teams head to head in a scouting report analysis, this week it's the ever-improving Charlotte Bobcats and Memphis Grizzlies.
From Ashy To Classy.
By Tim David Harvey
The former expansion Charlotte Bobcats and Memphis Grizzlies are finally showing growth. The two long time cellar dwellers of the NBA may not be on their way to the high rises but they are making their way out the basement and one day could go from 'competent' to 'contender'. Let’s take a deeper look at what's changed to these Southwest and Southeast teams.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS SUMMARY
GENERAL COMMENTS: Ever since the Hornets left their nest in North Carolina, Charlotte was seen as a city that still had the fans and facilities for another franchise. The Bobcats however failed to plant their claws in their first few seasons in the NBA. A different story is unfolding now however as the ‘cats are right now are a potential playoff team, not a pretending one. Now with the greatest player of all time taking ownership of this team, these young guys are starting to walk after years of crawling
TEAM STRENGTHS: Michael Jordan has taken control of this team and his notorious never-give-up attitude is translating to his players, even former Wizard's whipping boy Kwame Brown. Jordan has made all the tough choices and decisions that has helped his team in the clutch. Just like his time as a player. M.J. is coming up big and making something out of nothing when everything else looks lost. Take letting go of legendary coach Larry Brown and replacing him with another Charlotte legend in the form of former Hornets coach Paul Silas. The team's personnel have also sharpened their claws. Ever since they added the 'Whoo' of Stephen Jackson this team has been something to scream and holler about. From the French flair of Boris Diaw to the veteran strength of Corey Maggette. Tyrus Thomas can dunk on anybody and Eduardo Nájera is willing to muscle up with everybody. Still the post-Gerald Wallace future lies with the ceiling-bursting potential of young great Kemba Walker.
TEAM WEAKNESSES: M.J.'s boys right now seem to be taking a page out of T.I.s book, by doing all their work at home. Although they are looking a lot better in their house, they are looking as ugly as Viggo Mortensen on the road. it's time to beat this like Keourac and become consistent across the board. A 34-48 record last season at .415 was almost good for 50% but the bottom line remains that they lost 14 more games then they won. This is why they didn't make the playoffs. At last years trade deadline, the 'cats blazed some of their roster to Portland and other teams to clear cap space, now they need to get rid of some old habits too.
WHAT THEY MUST DO TO WIN: This team’s top priority is winning outside of the Time Warner. The talented rotation of that also features Joel Przybilla, D.J. White, Augustin and Matt Carroll need to remain strong throughout long, trying road trips. These tests on the road will help this young team mesh. Unity isn't just a word that Dave Chappelle’s Rick James imprinted on Charlie Murphy's forehead. It’s what will take these ‘cats to the next level.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES SUMMARY
GENERAL COMMENTS: People had their doubts when the contract was signed and before the ink could dry the A.I. experiment didn't work out in Memphis back in 2009. This isn't a cause for concern now though as the Grizzlies have other answers. There is no questioning this team can play, from All-Star talent like Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay to young players with promise such as Mike Conley and Xavier Henry. Another positive sign is that the next star sensations, OJ Mayo and Marc ‘The Other’ Gaol haven’t suffered a slump since beyond their sophomore seasons. These guys are young veterans now, stocked with experience and potential that's being tapped more than celebrity phones. The Grizz showed more promise as they made history last season. Following a strong eight position in the playoff picture they stopped the most winningest team in the L to become only the fourth number 8 seed in NBA history to defeat a number 1 seed, and only the second time in a best-of-seven series. The legendary San Antonio Spurs and the NBA didn't know what hit them.
TEAM STRENGTHS: Unlike Charlotte this Memphis team has more wins then they have losses. You have to love a team like this. Last year when everyone was writing them off or talking LeBron, Memphis made a decision to channel their inner Elvis and show a little less conversation and more action. Now nobody want to step on these blue suede sneakers. Player wise nobody is hating either. Rudy Gay may have not been able to shoulder some injury burden last season but he's still an all-time All-Star. Mike Conley is getting even better at the starting point and they even have an exciting fast break dunker in Sam Young (youtube and Google this guy, especially his double pump against Boston) to go along with former Celtic Tony Allen's sweet jams. The Internet is spreading the phenomenon of this young team, they've got a free league pass. The Grizz even welcomed back former player and veteran great Shane Battier for a great locker-room and off-the-ball, defensive presence. Zach Randolph’s 20.1 and 12.2rpg is leading the way and after his one year bite into the rotten Knick apple, didn't taste good he’s rounding out quite nicely in Memphis (no pun intended).
TEAM WEAKNESSES: The Grizzlies share more in common with Charlotte then being better off without Allen Iverson. When it comes to playing away from home the Grizzlies still slip up like Tiger Woods. Still there was a time back in '09 when Memphis never seemed able to win more than four games at a time. Now these FedEx Forum favorites are making deliveries across America right to their opponents doors.
WHAT THEY MUST DO TO WIN: Memphis need to realise that as good it as winning in front of their city it’s important to also shake the foundations of other team’s houses. They need to keep a momentum going when winning games and stop the bleeding when it comes to going across the country. All praise is due for Memphis right now, especially with their shocking, San Antonio stunner. Realise this series was no fluke, as this team gave Durant, Westbrook and all of Oklahoma their due before valiantly bowing out. This team are not looking to bequeath anymore and they must realise there is still room for improvement, otherwise compliments won’t be the only thing this team is fishing for come playoff time next season. An eight seed is great but it's also the closest thing to elimination. Look for the Grizz to growl even louder and claw their way up the stands of contention. The only way is up, now this team are treated seriously they've got to watch for the snakes in the grass. They should only be looking up to the ladders.
It’s plain to see that Memphis and Charlotte have developed into better teams despite some growing pains. After years of trying to find the right fit they both seem to be moving forward as a team and their win records are much better for it. Both teams have a cohesive core that has cultivated a strong team identity. They are successful because they are not just about one guy but instead they are a sum of all their parts. To make noise next season though both teams’ players will have to come together even more, play better in unfamiliar territory and improve their records on the road. Then after the lockout both teams will lock it down. That's secure and for sure.