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Team Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

Um … can I just “pass” here?  The Grizzlies are probably the hardest team to figure out going into the preseason, and they may have the least cumulative fantasy value out of any team in the league.  Let’s look at the overall situation: One, their hands-down best player is out for four months.  No other player on their team averaged even 15 ppg last year.  Two, their PG situation is extremely crowded and includes a rookie and a vet coming off a major injury.  Three, and this is the real kicker, they have Stromile Swift on their roster.  Again.  Whatever:

The Stud: Mike Miller, GF
Who else is it going to be?  Miller was second on the team in scoring last year and should be counted on even more now that Gasol is out.  Whether he’s actually going to be effective in a lead role is questionable at best, but he’s going to be thrown into the fire.  I would look for stats similar to – if not slightly better than – what he did with Orlando before getting dealt in ’03.  Let’s say 18/6 with 2 threes and maybe a steal, with poor percentages.  I mean, he’s a fine mid-round selection, but I think that he may be overvalued as the default number one guy in Memphis.

The Support: Damon Stoudamire, PG
Damon Stoudamire has red flags all over the place, but on the Grizzlies he’ll still be considered the number two guy for fantasy purposes.  Among the flags: He’s coming off of major surgery and missed almost ¾ of the year last year.  Jerry West says that he’s “optimistic that (Stoudamire) will play basketball at a very high standard again.”  Not exactly glowing words from The Logo there.  Another flag is how he performed during the time he was healthy last year – he struggled across the board and really looked like a guy who was continuing his decline.  But again, with no Gasol, Mighty Mouse could rise to the challenge one last time.

The Supporting Support: Eddie Jones, GF
Eddie Jones proved last year that you can have fantasy value even if you only excel in two categories, which he did, contributing solid threes and steals.  The question is, can he do it again?  The odds are probably against him.  He’ll turn 35 in October, and his 1.8 steals last year were his highest since five years ago in Miami.  He’s right on the edge of not having enough value to start, and that’s only if he doesn’t miss significant time with injury (which is possible) and if he sees over 30 mpg again (which is unlikely).  Still, with Gasol out, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Jones has some value this year, and he’s a fine late-round selection.

The Sleeper: Rudy Gay, F
Gay is really going to get a chance to show his stuff this year.  The Grizzlies shipped their 35-mpg stalwart at F in Shane Battier in order to get Gay, so The Logo must have some faith in him.  Gay may have underperformed at UConn but that didn’t stop Charlie Villanueva from succeeding in the NBA, so Gay is a nice late risk if you can get him in the final few rounds.

The Slacker: Stromile Swift, PF
Let’s take a little trip down FBB Memory Lane to last year, where some bozo (me) said the following about Swift:  “Oh, boy. If there’s one guy that you’ll hear me gush about way too often, it’s Stromile Swift. Here’s a guy that qualifies at C, and puts up great numbers every time he gets minutes. For example, last year in games where he played over 25 minutes, he put up 15/6.5 with 2.3 blocks and a steal. Now that he’s out of fantasy hell in Memphis, we’re hoping that Swift gets about 30 mpg so he can put up numbers like that.”

Not to be outdone, here’s DM: “At the very least, should average around 2 bpg, and that C-eligibility is pretty sweet.”

Needless to say, we both – along with most fantasy players – now hate Swift with a passion.  Swift is yet again being handed another golden opportunity for PT with Gasol out, but don’t get tricked.  He is not to be drafted.  Even if he gets hot for a few games, in the end he’ll be more trouble than he’s worth.  Just trust us on this one.

Double Dribbles:  I wanted to put Pau Gasol in the “supporting support” category, or even the “sleeper” spot, but I can’t do it.  Not with the lack of an IL.  Listen – he’s going to miss half the year, and even then there’s not guarantee he’s going to come back and be effective.  Take a pass … Hakim Warrick showed glimpses last year but not enough to draft him … Alexander Johnson and Kyle Lowry have promise but won’t get the PT to have fantasy value … Chucky Atkins will just not see enough court time either … Dahntay Jones makes DM and I laugh.  Stupid Duke!

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