THE OLD: By now everyone knows the the Grizz basically handed Pau Gasol to the Lakers. Kwame was part of that deal and they let him walk this summer over to Detroit (can't blame them for that one). Aaron Mckie was also included and released late in the season. Juan Runner Navarro split overseas after having a decent season last year. Michelle Miller was traded to Minny, so he's gone also. Mighty Mouse started the season in Memphis but finished it with the Spurs. Stromile Swift was another player who didn't finish the season in Memphis after being traded to the Nets for a twin. Kinsey and Jones also are gone. Cardinal left in the Miller deal and took the twin with him. Kevin Love wasn't on the team very long, but he's old news now so might as well add him here too. He's also in Minny too. The more I write about who they sent away, the more i actually think these guys know what they're doing, but still doesn't make up for the Gasol Donation.
THE NEW: The Miller/Love/etc deal brought Mayo, Jaric, Walker, and Buckner. Marc "Don't call me Pau" Gasol and Javaris Crittenton came over in the Gasol Donation. Initially they drafted Donte Greene, but traded him to Houston for Darrell Arthur. Then there's Hamed Haddadi, the 7-2 center from Iran who was signed this summer.
THE TRUTH: Management completely changed up this team over one season trying to lower the payroll as much as possible. After the Gasol Donation, many expected the discount prices to continue, but they actually impressed me with how they saved that situation. Is this team set? Of course not. However, they kept two young talents in Gay and Mayo, and surrounded them with just as nice young role guys like Lowry, Gasol, Warrick, Conley, Arthur and Crittenton. Haddadi still has to prove he's got NBA game, but I don't believe he'll be a bust, at worst he's a nice role player. Also, don't forget Dark is only 23 years old, so as much as he's disappointed fans, he's still has much room to grow and the years to do it. There's only THREE guys on the roster 29 or over (Jaric, Buckner and Walker). In other words, Memphis fans should keep watching college ball for a few more years. They'll be at the bottom of the west for sure, fighting for the right to pick #1 next year. Here's their projected depth anyway:
Conley - Lowry - Crittenton
Jaric- Mayo - Buckner
Warrick - Walker - Arthur
Darko - Gasol - Haddadi
Now thats what most site are predicting, but I actually disagree with most of it. the PG spots look correct, but Mayo should eventually take or be given that starting spot at the 2 over Jaric. Look for Warrick, Arthur and even Walker to play some back up 3, and Darko and Gasol should see some time at the 4. I think Haddadi might actually become a decent starting center late in the season, but only because there isn't many quality big men in the league to overmatch him most games. Eventually he'll be solid at center though. I'd like to see Darko, Gasol, and Haddadi in at the same time just to see how bad they would clog up the court. I actually re-sized that picture of the 3, but the original definitely shows how intimidating their size could be.