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.”


tumblr_inline_mnts82lSQD1qz4rgp (1)


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


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.


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.


Between the legs off the bounce


Honey dip


360 windmill


le dunk de la mort

le dunk de la mort


-Travis Nauert

Game 5: Overtime, Again

In Historic 4th Straight OT Game, Grizz Prevail

Serge Ibaka’s put back off a Kevin Durant miss came a fraction of a second too late. Literally. A tenth of a second separated a 1 point, 100-99 Grizz overtime win, from a 1 point, 101-100 Thunder overtime win. Were you expecting anything less?

photo by Nikki Boertman

photo by Nikki Boertman

For the fourth consecutive game, the Grizzlies and Thunder played 48 minutes. And then they played 5 more. Because why the hell not? Never before has that happened in a playoff series. But never before has there been a series like Memphis-OKC. I understand that’s circular reasoning, but it’s true. Perhaps these teams will have beat one another to such a pulp that neither can move on to the conference finals, but regardless, this is something special, and we are witnesses…Lebron isn’t using that anymore is he?

It’s Miller Time

While Tony Allen continues to drop TA bombs on Kevin Durant, and thus the Thunder’s offense, the Grizzlies have suffered their own shooting woes. Mike Miller said no más. When Memphis won the Miller sweepstakes last summer, over OKC nonetheless, this is what they had in mind. Playing in all 82 regular season games was just an added bonus. Going 5-8 from downtown, and tying a season high 21 points, Miller led the way for Memphis as the team’s high scorer. A 27 foot bomb late in the second quarter was particularly memorable. Just a hunch, but I bet he likes deep dish pizza.

Below are Miller’s shoes from last night. On the swoosh he wrote “BORN 4 THIS”. Just above that reads, “I CAN’T, WE CAN”.

photo by Nikki Boertman

photo by Nikki Boertman

Joey Crawford Goes Rogue

The highlight package featured by most t.v. stations and websites focuses on an awkward moment, as Thunder coach Scott Brooks put it, when Kevin Durant was shooting two free throws near the end of overtime. With 27.5 seconds remaining, and the scoreboard reading 100-99, what would eventually be the final score, Joey Crawford went Joey Crawford. After making the first, Durant received the ball for his second attempt when suddenly, the [insert scathing adjective of choice] referee blew his whistle and demanded the ball back. He proceeded to approach the scorer’s table and verbally assaulted some poor soul for repeatedly failing to correct an error on one of the video boards in Chesapeake Energy Arena. The issue regarded team fouls…supposedly, but who knows. The 89% free throw shooter assumed to be MVP missed the attempt, when it finally came, and you know the rest. It was an awkward moment indeed, but it worked out for the Grizz. @corkgaines had a little fun, creating this gif.

@corkgaines had a little fun with it, creating this gif


Westbrook Delusional 

In the post game interview, Westbrook and Durant came out looking like clowns, as usual. Most of the questions were directed at KD, but when Westbrook got a window, he delivered. He boasted that if given a 15 foot (jumper), he’d make it 9 times out of 10. 90% was his self-assessed shooting percentage. In reality, in this series, he has shot a blistering 6-of-23 from 8-16ft. That’s 26%. 90% is not 26%. 26% is not 90%. Unless you’re Russell Westbrook. Furthermore, he is 0-14 in all 4 overtime periods combined, with 1 point from the foul line. Westbrook is a top 10 athlete in the league, even after multiple knee surgeries. He’s clearly not a top 10 mind, though.

We love you Russ. But actually we despise you. But keep shooting.


Round 1: Stupid Good

In what is being dubbed the most exciting first round in recent memory, and probably ever, Memphis-OKC epitomizes the equality which has defined round 1.

Miami’s sweep. Not surprising. But then there’s everyone else. 8 seed Atlanta leads 1 seed Indiana 3-1. Brooklyn and Toronto are tied 2-2. Washington has just dispatched Chicago 4-1. Bulls fans, you’re not the only ones missing Derrick Rose. We hope he’s back soon, and better than ever. Then there’s the West.

Grizz-Thunder and Rockets-Trailblazers has contained enough overtime to comprise 48 minutes of a regulation game, or at least enough heartbreak. The Grizzlies lead 3-2 and can close out Thursday, while Portland can clinch tonight as they have a 3-1 advantage. Also tonight, Dallas and San Antonio will break their 2-2 deadlock. The Clippers now lead 3-2 over Golden State, just after Commissioner Silver’s lifetime ban reigned down upon Donald Sterling. This is why we love the NBA playoffs.

-Travis Nauert

Memphis March Madness

March Madness is well underway in Memphis. The Grizzlies head west for a season long 5 game road trip beginning Wednesday with an ESPN televised game against the West worst Utah Jazz. The road trip seems untimely coming so late in the year and the Grizz having won a season high 10 straight games in FedEx Forum. However, the team wouldn’t be in such a good position now were it not for away game success throughout the season. With so many games missed from the likes of Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, combined with an early season home slump, the Grizz have found solace in hitting the road and escaping the pressure of escalating expectations.

The timing of this trip is of course due to the real “March Madness”, the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament which has reached the round of sixteen, also known as the Sweet Sixteen to you plebeians. Overall #1 seed Florida headlines the 4 programs that will descend upon FedEx Forum Thursday night when the tournament continues. UCLA, in addition to double digit seeds Dayton and Brevin Knight’s own Stanford Cardinal, will be present as well. Unfortunately, the hometown Tigers were dispatched by Virginia, who capitalized on the matchup problems many locals feared in facing the Cavaliers. This is the first time since 2009 that Memphis and FedEx Forum have hosted the Sweet Sixteen. Then, eventual champion North Carolina beat Blake Griffin and Oklahoma (so his losing ways in Memphis go deeper than Grizz-Clips) in the Elite 8.

John Branch

John Branch

…but back to the Association. The Grizzlies are continuing their late season push for higher playoff seeding as Dallas has dropped two of four in the midst of a seven game home stretch. The overtime losses to both Brooklyn and Minnesota put Dallas on the outside looking in with Phoenix in 8th and the Grizz in 7th. These standings will be out-dated by tomorrow, as things change on a nightly basis this late in the year.

Last weekend the Grizz flexed their muscles, showing just how capable they are even when facing less familiar East competition. Splitting a back to back at Miami and home against Indiana is nothing to fret over, although one can easily be frustrated that Memphis did not sweep the two. I watched almost all of the Miami game (except when my stream lost connection and the Tigers finish against George Washington became more interesting than necessary) and the Grizzlies, particularly ZBo, controlled the entire game until the fourth quarter began to wind down. The officials got whistle happy and in the Heat’s favor. Zach was mugged multiple times down low, and when he put a finger near Lebron (literally), it was as if “The King” had been hit by a baseball bat. JA Adande had a front row seat to the best “act” in town:


Despite the loss, a great moment was shared among Grizz and Heat fans pre-game when Mike Miller was presented with his championship ring from last year’s Finals.

ZBo got wide eyed upon seeing Mike’s newest piece of jewelry, and you know he fancies one for himself:



While things went south (beach) in Miami, the Grizz responded with a resounding victory against the Pacers. In the consensus “most complete game of the year”, the Pacers were overwhelmed and visibly frustrated against the league’s best 4/5 combo of ZBo and Big Spain. Jon Roser, producer of The Chris Vernon Show, provided the stat of the night, pointing to Roy Hibbert’s complete lack of presence on the boards:

After taking the East’s best 1-2 shot, the Grizz feasted on a Minnesota Timberwolves team that has seen its playoff chances all but mathematically eliminated. At one point leading by 22, Minnesota coughed up a game against Phoenix that will likely prove to be their death blow.

The Grizz should be able to handle Utah tomorrow, not to look ahead, although that’s exactly what I’m going to do by eyeing Friday night’s matchup against Golden State. The Warriors will have had 6 full days of rest, last playing against San Antonio Saturday in a loss. Splash Bros Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be locked in to keep their distance from the Grizz as the Warriors become the next team to pass in the West. It is still way too early to think about who the Grizz would “rather play” in a potential first round series, as a mere half game separates Memphis from Phoenix and Dallas. Not until a spot is clinched does creating a favorable matchup even come in to play, and in all honesty, its very possible a spot won’t be clinched until the last game of the season. As you likely know, Memphis’ final two games of the year are in Phoenix, and back home against Dallas. It’s funny how that works out when you screw around and drop games to Cleveland, Charlotte, and other inferior East teams, while also going 3-11 in the division up to this point. Moreover, a final game against the Spurs in San Antonio (NBAtv) looms, as well as a second matchup against the defending champion Heat in Memphis (ESPN).

Every NBA team hopes to play well into April and the best expect to reach May. For those hopes to become a reality, the Grizz must persevere as their home court is taken over by the collegiate ranks. March is almost over, but the madness is just beginning.


-Travis Nauert


Take it to Twitter

I mean what can I say? This just sucks. Mike Conley has been playing some of the best ball in the league right now. So, you can imagine the heartache of helplessly watching him roll his ankle on J.J. Barea’s foot in the 4th quarter last night. Unanswered questions filled my mind, and like any respectable member of Grizz Nation, I impatiently want my answers NOW. So, where do Grizzlies fans look for the most up-to-date info on our favorite point guard?

These days the answer will always be Twitter.

It’s fast, it’s simple, and right now, the list of credible and timely legitimate and self-proclaimed sports reporters (I’m guilty) is endless. From the moment Conley went down it took less than 24 hours for an accurate and thorough medical update. How cool is that?

Let me show you what I mean.


Pause for a night of restless sleep and a full day of constant Twitter refreshing.


Over the last 10 games, Conley averaged 18.2 PPG, 6.5 assists, and 1.5 steals. We desperately need numbers like this. At this point Grizz Nation knows how to patiently wait out a recovery, but that doesn’t mean we like it.


(Robert Beck/SI)

BearsofBeale wishes you a safe
and speedy recovery, Mike!

-Casey Black

Down Goes Marc, Next Man Up (or men)

Marc Injury

The goals of any team are contingent on the one thing over which they have little to no control….injuries (Andrew Bynum’s bowling incident comes to mind). Yes, the ultimate X-factor reared its ugly head on a lazy Saturday afternoon, when an MRI on Marc Gasol’s left knee revealed a Grade II MCL sprain. For now, Gasol is listed as “Out Indefinitely”. This is not an unfamiliar injury for Grizzlies fans. Quincy Pondexter suffered the same mishap last year, and missed time from late December to mid February. We all remember two years ago, when OJ Mayo drove the lane in Chicago and fell into ZBo’s knee, sidelining Zach for 10 weeks. Players have different recovery periods, so it’s probably best to avoid a forecast. Hell, Marc was listed as “Out Indefinitely” last year with an abdominal injury, yet he only missed two games. Hope for the best, but this won’t heal over night.

(Photo: Justin Ford, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Justin Ford, USA TODAY Sports)

The magnitude of this injury cannot be understated. Gasol is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and essentially plays the role of quarterback for the Grizzlies defense. Gasol communicates with the rest of the team from his vantage point down low. His Grizzly like roars from the paint help maintain an organized defensive set and direct players to assist on blown assignments. This is all in the rare event, of course, that Mike Conley or Tony Allen hasn’t stolen the ball already. Puppet Master act aside, Marc’s physical impact is felt when he contests shots at the rim and opens up the offense by facilitating from the foul line area.

Marc was in peak form during the “Cali Swing”, averaging 19.5 points, 9 rebounds, 7.25 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.75 blocks over the four game stretch. He was basically flirting with a triple double every night…because he’s Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies will feel Marc’s absence starting Monday night when the Rockets come to Memphis. Also, early December games against the Clippers, Warriors and Thunder loom, providing playoff level competition. Fortunately for the Grizzlies, all four of those games take place in the Grindhouse. If you missed it or care to see it again, here’s the injury. Basically non contact so it’s not hard to watch other than the impending pain it will inflict on the Grizz:

Next Man Up

It’s not all bad, however. The injury could have been more severe, in which case Marc would require surgery and miss the remainder of the year. Or, this could have happened later in the year, making him unavailable for a playoff run. He will return, with all his Spanish flair, and get back to blocking shots and playing the “classic” Point-Center position. Coach Joerger has said that Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis will fill in, noting it will require multiple players to take on Marc’s work load. Koufos and Davis now have the same opportunity that Marreese Speights had two years ago, when ZBo sprained his MCL.

Since taking over, the new brass in the Memphis front office has made two major trades. The not so much blockbuster of a deal sending Rudy Gay to Toronto did indeed return a player to the Grizzlies, Ed Davis. Davis played sparingly last year, and looked like a deer in headlights when he was on the court. The front office highly coveted Davis for his youth, athleticism, and potential. In the case of Rudy Gay, we know that potential may not always be maximized, but a change of scenery can work wonders for players. The more overlooked move was the trade of Darrell Arthur and a 2nd round draft pick for Kosta Koufos. Koufos started in 81 regular season games with the Denver Nuggets last year, and is more than capable of starting for many teams in the NBA. Side note, Koufos may now be known as 2K, because if ZBo called him that, it has to be cool:

With Gasol out for what could be 2 months, the judgment of these trades will become ever more critical. “2K” and Ed need to take advantage of this opportunity, both by helping the team win games and further defining how they can best contribute to the team. A successful run could spell major minutes for the two players, both now and in the long run to ease Marc back into the lineup. Also, Jon Leuer may see more time in an attempt to save ZBo from burning out too early.

The coming weeks will give the coaching staff (and fans) time to develop a better opinion of not only the trades but the Grizzlies’ chances at returning to the Western Conference Finals….Because that’s what this is really all about…right? Hoop City experienced a different echelon of basketball last year and anything less will be disappointing, because that was a series reserved for big boys. Only grown men allowed.  Z-Bo and TA belong at that table, and will have to lead the Grizzlies through this stretch. Grind on Grizz Nation. Memphis will be fine. ZBo and Tony are still hungry, and they want a seat at that table.

Forum WCF

-Travis Nauert

Week 2

Week 1 didn’t bring the dominance Grizz Nation hoped for, but there’s no reason to get our fur matted just yet.

Joerger’s team is virtually (more like literally) the same team that pushed through to the Western Conference Finals less than 6 months ago. The Grizz were consistently considered the best defense in the league. The city of Memphis is overflowing with Grizzlies fans, and the whole country is beginning to take notice. You know it’s just a matter of time before we make a statement. So keep your heads up Grizz Nation, cause it’s going to be a long winter. While you wait, I’ve done some thinking and have come up with possible blemishes in the first week’s system.

Is Z-Bo getting traded?

It’s hard to imagine Zach Randolph playing anywhere else. But with next season being his fifth and final under contract, Grizz fans are understandably a little uneasy.

The trade rumors are circulating. Z-Bo has the option to opt out of his final contractual season, and at 32, long-term deals are hard to come by in this young and thriving league. It’s worth noting that Zach has a $16.9 million player option that could have the Front Office in Memphis hurting. In a classic turn of events both Randolph and the Grizzlies will have tough decisions to make. For Randolph: to argue for more money or settle for a few less million and retire a Grizzly? For the Grizz Staff: to risk busting the salary cap into luxury tax area or take a short-term risk to keep the heart of the team intact?

Here’s what Randolph had to say about it. Get ready. It’s blush-worthy for any Grizz fan:

(Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images)

“I’d like to be here. I’d like to retire here. You never know. If I’ve got to make some sacrifices to be here, I would. I still can play. I can still help a team out. I want to win a championship. I’ve made all the money in the world. I just want to win. I don’t know yet [about opting in or opting out], but Memphis is my home. If they trade me tomorrow, I’m here. I just bought a new house. My daughters go to school [in Memphis]. That’s my home.”

Don’t lie; you loved reading that. And that’s just what he’s counting on.

Z-Bo has dug a place in Memphis history beyond his dominance in the paint. He’s a philanthropist and a leader within the city. Randolph said he’d make sacrifices to stay in Memphis, suggesting he’s open to a lesser salary in exchange for extended years with the Grizzlies. With Ed Davis being groomed for the starting power forward spot, I’d say a verbal recognition of his lowering stock was a smart move. Let’s not forget this guy was an All-Star last year, and with the exception of the first game against the Spurs, (who have continuously had his number) he has averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in the last three games. All while shooting just over 55% from the field, might I add. It’s likely he won’t make the All-Star Game this year, but in the man’s own words, he can still play. And he still deserves to play in Memphis.

I mean how will we get by without classic Z-Bo moments like this… Arguably the greatest shot in our franchise’s history. Doesn’t hurt that it’s over Timmy Duncan.

Where [in the world] is the D??????

Just last season the Grizz were widely considered the most dominant defense in the NBA. Where do we stand now? Memphis is ringing in at number 22 in points allowed. I’ve been hearing a lot of “they’re not playing ‘Grizzlies Ball.’”  While I think this is an absurdly vague excuse for a loss, I think what these fan “critics” mean to say is our defense hasn’t been nearly the force it was last season.

(Photo by Chris Vernon)

(Photo by Chris Vernon)

This is a correctable problem. Last night, Tony Allen and Marc Gasol had reassuring defensive showings against the Boston Celtics. They got back to the Grit N Grind defense that Grizz Nation is familiar with. Remember: we’ve seen four games of 82. Let’s give them time to settle in.

What’s next for Ed Davis?

I mentioned earlier that the young acquisition might be the guy to replace Zach Randolph.



While I recognize that were just four games into the regular season, I’m wondering (as I’m sure you are) when we’re going to see sparks. Joeger has Ed Davis splitting back up minutes with Jon Leuer, leaving questions unanswered about our power forward situation. Jon Leuer comes in and spreads the floor, but Davis brings a defensive presence that we need.

For now, Ed Davis is a big question mark. He’ll likely get more PT as the season progresses, so I guess we’ll just wait and see.

Poor starts

The Grizzlies trailed by twenty plus deficits in our first two losses of the season, forcing them to chase their opponents for a majority of the game. And we’ve chased fairly well but not well enough against the Spurs and the Mavs. Poor starts are without a doubt one of the major contributors to Grizz losses, and I think we can blame it on unfamiliar lineups of opponents and our own new offensive and defensive strategies. Pete Pranica and Sean Tuohy listed better first half play a key to last night’s game against Boston. I couldn’t agree more.

And yet… there’s hope! The easy week ahead:

Our boys are back in the Grindhouse this week with three consecutive home games. Last night was a much-needed win against a battered Celtics team. Boston made it harder on the Grizz than anticipated with their absurd shot-making, but a W is a W. Wednesday, we’re facing a tougher, much improved Pelicans team (improved, with the exception of their name) in a match that should show Grizz fans more about the team’s situation. The real test, however, will be against the Warriors, who have been chosen to finish ahead of Memphis in many predictions.

Patience, Grizz Nation…Patience…



-Casey Black