Grizzlies waive “Grindson” Jamaal Franklin

Well, that didn’t last long.

Jamaal Franklin, the 41st overall pick in the 2013 draft, was waived on Sunday.

Some fans had conjured images of Kawhi Leonard, but it turns out playing for San Diego State is all they have in common. Dubbed the Grindson, Franklin was lauded for his length and defensive prowess. Fans saw him, and they saw Tony Allen, and assumed, “what the hell”? He’ll be the next TA.

I don’t mean to be too harsh on the guy, he never really got a chance with meaningful minutes. But most of the time, you earn those meaningful minutes. And even in garbage time, he was, well, garbage. Again, I don’t mean to be too hard on him.

I watched a few games of the Orlando Summer League in which the team participated. Franklin rebounded and defended adequately. But his offensive game was a nervous wreck. His shots were uncomfortable, forced, and awkward. Rookies Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes impressed, while Franklin’s inter monologue went something along the lines of, “I’ve got the ball, don’t screw up. Oh shit the shot clock is about to run out. Please, God, get in the basket…not again…”. But, I don’t want to be too harsh.

So cheer up Jamaal, like 95% of Grizzlies that leave go on to do pretty good things. James Posey won a ring in Boston. And Pau in LA. So did Jason Williams in Miami. Even Tony Wroten put up a triple double for Philadelphia last year. Granted, those players could run and pass and shoot without defecating in their pants (Wroten had his share of suspect moments). But, I don’t want to disrespect the man.

In fact, the reason Franklin was waived has to do with Nick Calathes. Or his hairline. On the eve of the playoffs last season, it was announced that Calathes would be suspended for violating the league’s steroid policy. He had come into his own as a backup point guard, and with deceptive size at 6’6″, was succeeding on defense and at attacking the rim. His untimely exit left the Grizz shorthanded as Beno Udrih was thrust into the action. Eventually, Mike Conley’s leg gave out, and game 7 was too tall a task without ZBo, a healthy Conley, or Calathes’ receding hairline. What’s that about his hair?

David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel says:

“he’s going bald and doesn’t like it. So he took Rogaine or minoxidil or some sort of baldness treatment. It contained tamoxifen, a prescription drug normally used to treat breast cancer. It is one of approximately 140 items on the NBA’s banned list.

For privacy reasons, nobody has publicly said Calathes’ “medical issue” is baldness. But all you have to do is listen to the whispers and take a look at him.

“He’s going bald at 24,” one person said. “Nobody wants to do that.”

Nobody wants the world to know they’re slathering on Rogaine, either.”

 

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Now, the Grizzlies must fill their roster with a third point guard until Calathes returns, hence Franklin was waived. Beno Udrih resigned with the team earlier this summer, and the wings are crowded with Tony Allen, Courtney Lee, Tayshaun Prince, and now Vince Carter all available. Plus, Quincy Pondexter is returning.

The season needs to get here, because I feel like i’m getting a little critical.

 

-Travis Nauert

Grizzlies fill out coaching staff, front office

It’s early August, the MLB is going, happening, occurring…I guess. Or as Hank Stram would say, matriculating down field, or the calendar. The NFL preseason has begun and College Football starts at the end of the month. Yet, the Grizzlies keep surfacing in sports news.

Through a series of additions and promotions, the front office and coaching staff are set moving forward. A press conference last week announced the following:

Coaching/Development


Jeff Bzdelik is now an assistant coach. He has 17 years of NBA coaching experience, including seven seasons under Pat Riley in both New York and Miami.

Trevor Moawad has been brought on as mental endurance coach. In a Chip Kelly like move, Robert Pera is tapping into a relatively untouched area of the game…Dieting aside, because let’s be honest, Tony Allen needs his Waffle House.

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You mean you don’t get your best thinking done around 5 in the morning at the nearest Waffle House? The shower? What?

Pera pointed specifically towards Moawad’s ability to help players through shooting slumps and during tough travel schedules. Moawad was most recently with the Florida State and Alabama football programs, winners of the last three national titles.

John Townsend has been named director of player development. He was previously with the Raptors and Trail Blazers as shooting coach, and will focus on shooting with the Grizzlies as well.

Front Office


Chris Wallace’s interim tag has been removed as he re-assumes his role as General Manager. Wallace is clearly a fan favorite, both in media relations and organization operations. He is responsible for bringing Tony Allen to Memphis among other things…like assembling the team as we know it. This was a big step towards fans placing more trust with the owner. Had Pera screwed that one up, there would have been a shit storm of complaints.

Ed Stefanski has become the Executive Vice President of Player Personnel. What the hell does that mean? Anything from scouting players at the college, d-league, and international levels, to scouting other teams and players for potential trades. Stefanski played under Dream Team coach Chuck Daly in college and has worked with the Nets and 76ers. He will be based out of Philadelphia, giving the front office a deployable on the east coast. While this may sound odd, it can be advantageous for reaching certain college games (specifically ACC competition). 

Realistic words from Robert Pera:


“You look at a place like Memphis, we’re not going to be able to build a championship team by going into free agency and getting super stars…we’re going to have to find pieces, we’re going have to become the best team or one of the best teams in the NBA at player development and developing the pieces.”

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It seems long ago that rumors of Mike Miller assuming the Jackie Moon role of player / coach floated around. Or Dave Joerger acting as a meat puppet with a headset and taking orders from the man upstairs. Robert Pera has slowly but surely gained confidence from the fan base, both through personnel and staff moves, and becoming more transparent. His most recent press conference was one of very few public appearances made in Memphis. You must admit, the Twitter Q&A session was absurd, but pretty cool. Granted, it allowed him to pick and choose which questions to answer, and in at most 140 characters, but it’s still a step in the right direction. 

-Travis Nauert

Vince Carter joins Grizzlies, sparks childhood memories

The early stages of a sports franchise are bound to be brutal. Either a league is expanding, birthing a new team into competition, or an existing franchise is unable to draw requisite support in its current market and must relocate.

Obviously, the latter of these two was the case when the Grizzlies came to Memphis. What kept fans coming back during these maturing years, other than the hope for improvement, was a chance to see superstars.

During the inaugural ’01-’02 season, thousands of Memphians paid good money to come see their new team. And other players too. Kobe and Shaq were marching towards what would eventually become a three peat. Jordan was back…with the Wizards. But a new star had been born. Someone who brought the dunk contest back into style. Someone who attacked the rim with such malice that it was worth the price of admission, even if it only happened once.

So there I found myself, a Grizzlies fan, wearing a purple Vince Carter jersey inside the Pyramid. Going for the Grizzlies, but going for Vince Carter. I was probably getting jeered left and right, but I was 9, I didn’t care.

It was getting late, and the Grizzlies were winning, which was good. But I had not seen what I came see. Vince Carter dunking the bejesus out of the ball. Not good. Then it happened, a breakaway one on none. He elevated like he rarely does nowadays, and the crowd held its collective breath. Then, as if he new what the people wanted, Carter deprived a new NBA fan base of a signature “I was there” moment.  He simply placed the ball above the rim with two hands and delicately dropped it through the basket.

What the hell was that? Boos rained down. The city’s team had the game in hand, but they too wanted the rim’s durability to be tested.

Now, some thirteen odd years later, Carter will don Beale Street Blue as a Grizzly himself. Although he is no longer the league’s top dunker, it is a dream come true for me. It’s rare that your favorite player of all time ends up playing for your favorite team. Especially as Carter was established before the Grizzlies called Memphis home.

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Not only is it special that he will be playing for the Grizz, he will be a key factor in determining how the team performs this year. Mike Miller’s exit left a need for a veteran leader who can score, especially from three. Carter, the league’s 7th leading three point shooter of all time, will fill that void nicely. Furthermore, he can attack off the dribble and play more than capable defense. At times last year, Miller had to be hidden against a weaker offensive opponent, creating a mismatch for another player. Additionally, Coach Joerger praised Carter as “a top 5 pick and roll player in the NBA”.

I’ll leave you with some of the glorious images that made Vince Carter into Vinsanity, Half-Man Half-Amazing, and Air Canada:

Every kind of dunk imaginable from his days in high school, to college, in Toronto, New Jersey, for Team USA and even charity events and All Star Games. Windmills, Alley-Oops, Alley-Oop windmills, out of bounds alley-oops, 1 handed 360’s, 2 handed 360’s, tomahawks, baseline drives, fast breaks, drive-by’s, facials, posterizations, 1 handed put backs, 2 handed put backs, off the back board to himself, reverses, and 1’s. Seriously, every kind.

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Between the legs off the bounce

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Honey dip

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360 windmill

 

le dunk de la mort

le dunk de la mort

 

-Travis Nauert