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Jun 4, 2009

Looking at these 2009 Finals

Grizzlies want to basically try to imitate exactly what these teams did to get here. That's all it takes right? Of course not! But it is fun to look at the supplementary pieces that were used to get here. We may not be able to get Kobe or SUPERMAN, but the Ariza's and the Tony Battie's of the league are plentiful. Let's take a look at the "X-Factors" that Grizzlies, and every other team watching from home, will want next year. (besides Birdman. If Denver were here this whole post would be a tribute to him, guaranteed. ok and Dahntay).



Courtney Lee


He's got the size midway between Tarence Kinsey and Brandon Roy. His game falls somewhere in there as well. He doesn't dominate the game but obviously on this team he doesn't need to. He's there to shutdown defenders and play smart when his chance is there. To have played this well as a rookie in the late rounds of the playoffs is amazing. Anyone would want someone like Lee that can be depended upon and who continues to grow stronger each game it seems. Resilience and finesse make him a strong basketball player. The Grizzlies have a frail, out of date version in Quinton Ross, who at this point might as well stay on the team for the peanuts we pay him. And perhaps Eddie Jones was better than Courtney Lee; time will tell.



Trevor Ariza


Derek Fisher might be the floor general, who will take you aside and let you know if you did wrong and will stand up for his soldiers. Kobe might unwittingly be the team leader. After them, Ariza is the Laker's enforcer. He makes all the dirty plays and retaliations. He fights for rebounds when Gasol and Odom look out of gas. He picks up the guy in the paint when Bynum is watching the cheerleaders instead or whatever it is he does. Grizzlies could have a similar man in Darrell Arthur. Arthur perhaps gives us more rebounding and less cowardly tactics as Ariza, but maybe not as much explosiveness and scoring ability.



Mickael Pietrus


It's hard to believe anyone would leave Guadeloupe. Somehow dude left paradise for the Magic Kingdom and has knocked down a ton of three pointers on the road to the finals. He chips in a dozen or so points every night and does his best to foul and annoy LeBrandon James whenever possible. He was pesky against the Celtics. Pietrus never was great at Golden State but has found a great niche on this team. The combination of good shooting, size and length at the guard spot, and pesky defense are pivotal to Magic's success to this point. Every edge counts, and Pietrus brings it. Interestingly, he's about the same size as Kobe. Grizzlies really need to replace Greg Buckner with a Pietrus type player! Bonzi Wells, where, oh where, art thou?



Lamar Odom


Odom has lived two lives in the playoffs. Although his significance on this team has been mercurial, he still is a key factor in the back-to-back Western Conference Championships of the Lakers. He looks best when he is sweating like crazy and giving it all. I can't wait to see him out there with Rashard Lewis. If the Lakers win the series you can probably look at Odom and Gasol down low and see a victory where otherwise the Magic dominate inside. Odom was once a franchise player with Allstar potential, but now is relegated to a third option and sixth man role off the bench. Of course he will be inconsistent given that history. He's been an enigma for a long time, but it may finally work out for him this year. Grizzlies equivalent would be Hakim Warrick at this point. Warrick does a lot for the team and yet is just not quite good enough to be starter in the post-Pau days of Memphis. We would be smart to obtain a player along Odom's career path, that is satisfied with a support role at a veteran's salary.

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