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Feb 13, 2013

Addition by Subtraction?

  • Grizzlies and Prince – Keeping the Faith
  • Rudy Gay Does it Again – Hitting game-winners in a Raptors uniform
  • Celtics on 7-game roll - even without Rondo – Paul Pierce has helped lead the C's despite the loss of their allstar point guard

    Let me say it plainly, this is the optimist talking, with the recent moves these teams are improved by reduction in payroll and staff. As Coach Lionell Hollins called it, the beer budget is actually working so far. Contradictorily, you swap out the Lamborghini for a BMW and it's better short-term, even though primary motivation is long-term health.

    In the month of February the Grizzlies have gone 4-2, losing their one road game in ATL. The Celtics have gone 5-1, with the loss coming the night after the 3OT thriller, and best game of the season so far. The Raptors have also gone 4-2 in February with impressive wins over 3 bonafide playoff teams.

    For the Grizzlies you have a lot of things going. An entire book could be written to compare Rudy Gay versus Tayshaun Prince on this team, and going forward. For now the results speak for themselves. The team is winning more than losing, which translates to playoffs instead of draft lottery. They call the Speights/Ellington/Selby trade a trade that brought back Leuer and a guy named Tony Wroten, Jr. He had more minutes in the Dleague than on our squad. Now he's getting regular minutes.

    Jerryd Bayless has stepped up into the O.J. Mayo role more than the Greivis Vasquez role, which I think is a better utilization of his talent. Darrell Arthur is now essential. Obviously the team is fully dependent on the production of the big men in the front court now. When Gasol and ZBO go off, no team will beat us. The sky is the limit.

    Unbelievably, the Celtics went on a huge win streak immediately following the loss of Rajon Rondo. Paul Pierce has taken over as the point guard and gets close to a triple double every night. Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, and Jason Terry have all stepped up in the back court. Jeff Green is simply having a coming out party since Rondo went down. You wonder if somehow he was intimidated by Rondo, but really it's just an opportunity to step up that all of them have embraced.

    The Raptors are in a different boat. Before the trade they were a cellar dweller. Now they have some life in them. I wouldn't call them a playoff team yet, but their recent wins have been very impressive. They are in the conversation with Rudy Gay. At this point you may ask, how are they "addition by subtraction"? Well, in this case they mortgage some of their future and let go of a guy that spent his entire career there since 2005. That was a loss of Jose Calderon and Ed Davis. Calderon was obsolete already since they plucked Kyle Lowry from Houston over the summer, but Lowry's been hurt a lot this season. Ed Davis is one of those big University of North Carolina products. He has been around 3 years, and saw his numbers increase about 50% this year. Just when he was ready for prime time, off he goes to Memphis. The real beneficiaries on the Raptors from this trade are Derozen, Terrence Ross, and Alan Anderson. They are the real gunners of this team now paired with Lowry and Rudy Gay, they are free to shoot. Finally this team isn't built around Bargnani and random journeymen…



    Go Grizz!
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