Grizzlies hand Lakers third-straight loss

And according to ESPN’s John Hollinger, they can thank rookie Xavier Henry for slowing down Kobe Bryant for much of the game.

Memphis’ Xavier Henry checked the Lakers’ superstar for most of Tuesday night with little help, and the result was a 9-of-25 shooting night for Kobe and a 98-96 win for the Memphis Grizzlies.

While he wasn’t on the floor at the end for L.A.’s deja vu final possession — for the second season in a row in Memphis, Kobe kicked out to Ron Artest for a 3-pointer that missed at the buzzer — Henry was the protagonist during a stretch of 11 straight misses by Bryant midway through the game that allowed the Grizzlies to build a double-digit lead.

Henry wasn’t getting double-team support, either. He was one-on-one against Bryant for much of the night and, thanks to his size and discipline, largely held his own. The effort was so good Henry’s coach compared him to another player who has been known to limit Bryant.

“I remember when we interviewed [Henry] in Chicago,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said, “and I went away saying, ‘That’s Shane Battier all over again.’ He’s poised, he’s mature [and] he understands the big picture of what’s going on. That’s what you like to see in all your players coming into the league.”

It was a sweet win for the Grizzlies, who have been been the butt of jokes since the dreadful trade that sent Pau Gasol to L.A. and allowed the Lakers to win consecutive titles. Owner Michael Heisley continued his unintentional comedy act by trying to nickel and dime Henry after this year’s draft.

The Grizzlies are now 8-10 on the season and are sitting in the #10 spot in the West. The Lakers’ third loss sends them to 13-5 and the #4 spot in the conference.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Peek inside the head of an NBA owner

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is a character. He appeared on the Chris Vernon Show recently and got into a…um…spirited debate over whether or not the Grizzlies should exercise a little-known clause in the collective bargaining agreement that allows for teams to negotiate a performance incentive into rookie contracts.

Xavier Henry is still unsigned due to Heisley’s insistence on this performance incentive. Rookie contracts are generally ‘rubber stamp’ type deals where the player gets the max (120% of the rookie scale) and he signs immediately. Heisley claims that the Grizzlies are not the only team to use this strategy, but he was unwilling to name any names and I certainly haven’t heard of any other teams doing so.

On the show, Heisley is passive-aggressive, condescending and entertaining, and in addition to the Henry negotiations, he defends the Pau Gasol trade, the Zach Randolph acquisition, and his decision to draft Hasheem Thabeet over Ricky Rubio.

Matt Moore of CBSSports called the interview an ‘abject trainwreck,‘ while Chris Harrington of the Memphis Flyer called it ‘borderline-embarrassing.’

What are the Grizzlies doing with Xavier Henry?

Xavier Henry smiles after being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies as the 12th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft in New York, June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Xavier Henry elected to sit out of summer league because his agent couldn’t come to terms on a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

NBA rookies are slotted into a salary — a number that can be negotiated between 80 and 120 percent.

The Griz are offering Henry 100 percent of the rookie salary and have proposed that the additional 20 percent be earned through bonuses. Griz brass contend the incentives are easily attainable.

However, it has been customary for NBA lottery picks to receive 120 percent of the slotted salary without hurdles to leap.

So who looks bad in this case?

Both parties are to blame.

Griz owner Michael Heisley and Tellem seem to have engaged in a power struggle over relative chump change by NBA standards, and neither has Henry’s best interest at heart.

While it is standard for rookies drafted in the lottery to receive the maximum contract allowed, it is just as customary for rookies to play in summer league without a signed deal.

Teams pay for insurance to cover the player’s worth for that week. Memphis did just that so Vasquez could participate in summer league without a deal. Then, all parties go back to the negotiating table and get a contract done before training camp.

I was unaware of the 80%-120% range, so at least something good came out of this situation.

The writer blames ‘both sides,’ but the Grizzlies started this struggle by only offering 100% instead of the standard 120%. Henry may not respond the way other rookies have in the past, but there’s no doubt that the team started this conflict.

Meanwhile, Henry missed summer league and is now further behind the curve.

2010 NBA Consensus Mock Draft (6/23)

The mock drafts are coming fast and furious now, so I thought I’d update our consensus mock draft to reflect the latest and greatest predictions from pundits around the web.

As always, click on the table for a larger version.


A few random thoughts:

– There seems to be more stability now at #2, as the leaked image from the Sixers’ website would seem to indicate that Evan Turner is on his way to Philadelphia. There has been some movement at #3-#4, however, as it appears that Derrick Favors isn’t a shoe-in to go #3 to the Nets. Apparently, New Jersey is thinking that they can get a very good power forward in free agency (Bosh, Stoudemire, Boozer, Lee?) and Wes Johnson can help them immediately at small forward.

– Given his production and size, I’d be surprised if DeMarcus Cousins slips past the Kings at #5. If he can get his head on straight, he and Tyreke Evans would be a formidable inside/outside punch.

– Gordon Hayward is supposedly moving up draft boards, but he only appears in the first 14 picks in four of the six mock drafts that I selected. He could go as early as #8 to the Clippers, who need a small forward, and is also a threat to go #9 to the Jazz, #10 to the Pacers and #11 to the Hornets. Really, depending on Rudy Gay and Hedo Turkoglu, Hayward could go anywhere from #8 to #13.

– The Hornets pick #11 and could use a wing who can shoot. It appears that they might be choosing amongst Babbitt, Hayward, Henry and George. George can shoot it and scouts think he has the most upside of this group.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

2010 NBA Consensus Mock Draft (6/21)

With the draft just a few days away, it’s a good time to zip through another consensus mock draft. I’ve pulled in the first 14 picks from ESPN, DraftExpres, NBADraft.net, SI, Yahoo and FanHouse to see if we could come to some sort of consensus as to how the first half of the draft might go. If a player was taken by a certain team in three-plus mock drafts, he is listed in bold with the number of drafts in parenthesis. If there was no consensus, or if he was drafted by a team in two mocks, then he is listed in italics.

(I know the font is a little small, but you can click on the table for a larger version.)

A few random thoughts:

– The top four appear to be set, with Wall, Turner, Favors and Wesley Johnson going to the Wizards, Sixers, Nets and T-Wolves, respectively. These picks intuitively make a lot of sense, which probably means they won’t go this way on Thursday night.

– I listed Cousins at #6 because I don’t think there’s any chance that he falls further than that. But with his “character issues,” who knows. He had a great workout in Sacramento, so I’d bet that he goes #5 at the latest. Besides, Monroe seems like a great fit in Golden State with his basketball IQ and willingness to pass the ball.

– After the #6 pick, this draft seems like a free for all. There are a number of forwards — Aminu, Hayward, Babbitt, Davis and Patterson — all jockeying for position.

– Even though he wasn’t the consensus — there was no conensus — Babbitt seems destined to land in Utah. Aldrich is a possibility there as well.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Related Posts