Tag:Xavier Henry
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:17 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 1:09 pm

Report: Grizzlies looking to get Speights in deal

Posted by Royce Young

The Grizzlies front line is thin and has been even thinner with Darrell Arthur's season-ending injury and now Zach Randolph's knee turned out to be more serious than originally though (out eight weeks with an MCL tear).

Currently though, Memphis doesn't have really any depth inside.

But they're looking to beef that up. According to ESPN.com, the Grizzlies are in "advanced talks" to acquire Marreese Speights from the 76ers in a three-team deal with the Hornets.

In the proposed trade, Speights would go to Memphis, Xavier Henry to New Orleans and the Hornets would give Philadelphia two future first round picks. Those aren't big names, but that's quietly kind of a big trade.

Speights will make a huge impact on the Grizzlies, but they'll be giving up a lottery pick from last year in Henry. Henry hasn't been able to find a spot in the Memphis rotation with O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen getting the minutes in front of him, but the Hornets, a team in search of young talent, could be a good fit for him. It comes at the cost of future first round picks, something the Hornets want to rebuild with after the Chris Paul deal, but Henry is a first round talent anyway.

Speights has been a terrific bench player with the 76ers in terms of per-minute production, but hasn't found many minutes this season, not having played yet instead seeing Doug Collins go with rookie Nikola Vucevic. But for Memphis, Speights will immediately step into the rotation and play big minutes for a contender.

Assuming it goes through, it's a quality deal for Memphis because it's something that fills a very big need. While giving up Henry is a shame, he wasn't a player seeing minutes anyway and the Grizzlies are trying to win now, not build for the future anymore.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:08 pm

Conley organizes Grizzlies workouts

By Matt Moore

The number of ways Mike Conley has impressed me since I torched him upon his signing a $40 million extension continues to grow. I've been wrong about some things. Today. And, well, every day. But I do my best to try and recognize it and adjust accordingly. And Mike Conley continues to bury a knife into my early season criticism of him last year. In short, I look like a moron consistently. Case in point: Conley has taken the lead in organizing team workouts in Memphis during the lockout to work on conditioning, in-game situations, and chemistry. From the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:
Mike Conley decided not to wait for an end to the NBA lockout to direct the Grizzlies.

The point guard took charge and mobilized his teammates for a mini-camp in Memphis this week.

Conley, Rudy Gay, Tony Allen, O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph, Xavier Henry and Sam Young reunited at a local gym early Tuesday. Ish Smith and second-round draft pick Josh Selby were expected to join the group Wednesday.

"I've been prepared all summer to do this," Conley said. "It's my job as the point guard. I want to be one of the leaders on the team. And guys did a great job of keeping their word and coming in on time ready to work.
via Mike Conley organizes workouts for Memphis Grizzlies » The Commercial Appeal

If you were around the Grizzlies at any point last season even for a game, you'd see Conley's influence as a leader. He stayed the longest at practice most days, he was constantly talking with coach Lionel Hollins, and he was almost always in a position to make sure his teammates were prepared. There were times when his late-game execution and decision making was confusing, but then, he also made some huge plays in those key situations. He's still growing into his role in the NBA and with the Grizzlies, but this is a tremendous example of taking the next step in terms of leadership. Being the guy to get everyone together, to instill discipline, that puts him at another level. 

The roster of those attending is interesting. Randolph had said he wanted to help organize such a workout. Tony Allen coming just shows his commitment. Gay has been active in getting back into his role with the team as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Sam Young is in need of constant coaching to improve his knowledge of where to fit in on the floor. Then there are the others. 

O.J. Mayo electing to join the team is notable in and of itself, after Mayo was nearly traded at the deadline following a short suspension for a banned substance and was involved in a fight with Tony Allen. Mayo recovered and acted professionally on the floor throughout the year, and came through for Memphis in the playoffs. He's also a restricted free agency when the season resumes. But Mayo has spoken about the comfort level he has with this team and it shows. 

Then there's Xavier Henry. Henry was a highly touted lottery pick, who suffered a knee injury, then vanished from the active roster. He was invisible during the playoffs and there have been concerns over his relationship with Lionel Hollins. His working out with the team is a good sign, as he could use some time among the veterans in Memphis, as could Josh Selby, another Jayhawk the Grizzlies drafted. Selby plummeted to the second round after being considered a lottery pick over character and attitude questions. But Selby has also been in good company this summer, playing alongside NBA stars like LeBron James through his connection to Carmelo Anthony's Team Melo, as well as his work at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. 

Conley is still not an elite point guard in this league and likely will never be. But his consistency and work ethic, along with this kind of leadership shows why that extension wasn't just at good market value, it was probably a steal. If you need me, I'll be in the corner staring at the wall until my detention is up.  
Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:53 am
Edited on: October 21, 2010 10:19 am

Shootaround 10.21.10: Dunk more, win more

Posted by Royce Young
  • A Harvard Sports Analysis shows the more you dunk, the more you win: “Given that dunking does appear to correlate with winning, what can we take this to mean? The thing to avoid is seeing dunking and winning as a causal relationship (i.e. dunking more means you will win more). Instead, we should view high dunk totals as a representation of a good team (i.e. good teams will produce more dunks). These conclusions support the notion that “Dunks are Awesome!” but also that, despite the complaints of the old guard, dunks have become a fundamental. As if NBA fans needed another reason to fear the upcoming season, the only team that will enter the 2010/2011 season with three players in the top 20 for dunks are, you guessed it, the Miami Heat.”
  • Gus Johnson has been fired from the MSG Network which breaks my heart. He's absolutely one of the very, very best out there. The NY Post with details: “Gus Johnson, the shouts-a-lot, play-by-play radio voice of the Knicks since the 1997-98 season — and a frequent fill- in for Mike Breen on MSG Network’s Knicks’ telecasts — is out at the Garden. Over the last two seasons, Johnson, 43, had annoyed MSG Network shot-callers by missing many games to work outside TV gigs, including CBS’ college basketball and Showtime boxing. Johnson’s primary replacement is expected to be Mike Crispino, an MSG TV and radio multi-tasker since 1992. Johnson, in 1997, replaced Mike Breen, who moved to MSG TV.”
  • Doug Collins is doing better: "He's feeling better," associate head coach Michael Curry told The Philadelphia Inquirer . "Tests, as he sees them right now, were good. So we're expecting him bright and early Friday morning. [He will] start going over some tapes, getting ready for the start of the season."
  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "This is the Knicks’ new reality. For two years, they operated under the shadow of LeBron James. Now they are dealing with the specter of Carmelo Anthony. A shaky preseason has only made a trade look more urgent. The speculation will end only when Anthony is finally traded, wherever the destination may be."
  • Lee Jenkins' feature on the Thunder is truly fantastic: "When the team moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City, general manager Sam Presti wanted all his players to tour the memorial before their first open practice. Now every new player is taken to the memorial, usually in the weeks leading up to training camp, and sometimes more than once. When guard Royal Ivey came to Oklahoma City for his free-agent visit this summer, he asked Presti about the crowd at the Ford Center, how such a small market generates the most noise in the NBA. The fans have become a source of curiosity around the league, for painting their chests like frat boys, standing for long stretches and commencing a 20-minute ovation for the team three seconds after the season-ending loss to the Lakers. Presti ushered Ivey to the memorial. "It took my breath away," Ivey says. "After that I called my agent. I wanted to be a part of this."
Posted on: September 23, 2010 6:03 pm

Preseason Primer: Memphis Grizzlies

Posted by Matt Moore
Out of nowhere, the Grizzlies rose to relevance last year, nearly making the playoffs in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. Over the summer they bucked up and paid the bill to keep Rudy Gay and became embroiled in a bizarre holdout with their rookies. The team again has low expectations and is flying under the radar. The question most people have is if they can possibly succeed like they did last season, and is that nearly enough? We take a look at where the Grizzlies are as we continue our Preseason Primers...

Training camp site: Memphis Grizzlies

Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Tony Allen (free agency), Acie Law (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)

Key subtractions: Ronnie Brewer (free agency)

Likely starting lineup:
Mike Conley (PG), O.J. Mayo (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Zach Randolph (PF), Marc Gasol (C)

Player to watch:
Xavier Henry. Why? Because we haven't seen him since Kansas finished getting eliminated by a massive underdog in the NCAA tournament. Henry was absent from Summer League due to the holdout stemming from Michael Heisley's bizarre insistance that the rookie earn his bonus by doing something extra as far as performance. Like, some sort of bonus performance. Silly man. Eyes will be on Henry, whose play could have multiple impacts on the Grizz. If he solidifies the backcourt rotation, the Grizzlies will finally gain some depth after being one of the shallowest rotations in the league last season. Furthermore, if he can work with O.J. Mayo as a pair of combo guards, it could mean less time for Mike Conley. With Conley coming up on a possible extension, these are relevant questions not just for this season, but going forward.

Chemistry quiz:
How can the frontcourt stay chipper? Marc Gasol, whose overall play may have been better than All-Star Zach Randolph last season, continues to face the fact that the Grizzlies drafted Hasheem Thabeet with the second overall pick. Hamed Haddadi occasionally looks like a player worthy of minutes. DeMarre Carroll needs to compete and compete hard in training camp if he wants to find minutes this year. The Grizzlies aren't deep in the frontcourt, but given the bizarre makeup of the players involved, its a wonder they got along so well last year. But they did. Shockingly, after Allen Iverson departed for the basketball ether, the team became very close, constantly rushing to each other in confrontations and celebrating. The team genuinely likes each other. They're like a peacful commune... that probably smells really bad at times.

Camp battles:
Backup point guard should be a good one, with Acie Law, Greivis Vasquez, and other camp invites vying for the backup slot. Okay, maybe "good one" is a bit much, but it should be competitive, especially given there's not that much of a gap between those players and Mike Conley in the point guard department.

Injury issues:
The Grizzlies are primarily healthy. Marc Gasol looked completely healthy in the FIBA tournament, though the wear and tear may have some impacts. All in all, they're a young team that's pretty healthy.

Biggest strength:
Up and down. The Grizzlies can get up and down the floor and have an efficient offense. They crash the offensive glass especially well with Randolph and Gasol. They hustle and very rarely get caught without an option to create a shot.

Glaring weakness:
Yet again, the answer is defense. The Grizzlies aren't individually terrible on defense, they're just bad within the system. Part of that function is built around their inability to get rest. The starters always play, and they get worn down. Plus, they're young. Put simply, if the team defense doesn't improve considerably, the odds of their record improving the ten games they need to make the playoffs are slim.
Posted on: September 16, 2010 9:46 am

Grizzlies end stalemate with Henry and Vasquez

Posted by Royce Young

It's been 84 days since Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez were drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies. And finally, after those 84 days, both have agreed to deals with the Grizzlies, the last two rookies in the class of 2010 to do so.

Both players will sign contracts worth 120 percent of the NBA's rookie salary scale designated for their draft positions. The hangup the led to both players holding out was that Memphis was offering 100 percent of the rookie salaries with an added 20 percent tied to performance clauses.

It was a stalemate that as of a month ago, didn't look like would be resolved. Owner Michael Heisley was defiant on a Memphis radio show saying he didn't know you could put those performance incentives in the contract or he'd have done it before. Only one other players has ever had performance incentives in a rookie contract and that was in 1995.

But Heisley backed off, saying, ""As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy the issue has been resolved. There's no question I'm doing what I should have probably done earlier."

A swallowing of pride for a pretty prideful man.

What the Grizzlies were doing is completely allowed under the terms of the CBA. Teams can pay players between 80 and 120 percent of an amount set by the league's rookie scale. The Grizzlies' proposed incentive deal included:

  • Participation in summer league.
  • A two-week workout program with the team's training staff.
  • Satisfying one of the following: play in NBA rookie/sophomore game during All-Star Game weekend, earn an all-rookie selection or average 15 minutes in at least 70 games.

Truthfully, not too much to ask for a couple first round picks. But both players' agents were steadfast in not setting a precedent of signing a rookie scale contract with incentives. And for good reason too. Why should Henry and Vasquez be treated any differently from the other 28 first round picks? You can see how the stalemate went. Both sides had a point and there was really no middle ground. One or the other was going to have to give in.

The Grizzlies fielded trade offers from teams, but it was all show. They wanted their rookies all along. And finally, after a compromise, they'll get them.

Posted on: August 19, 2010 8:52 am

Shootaround 8.19.10: John Mayer burns the Heat

"" Posted by Royce Young

  • The Hornets are embracing variable ticket pricing: "Yet-to-be-determined prices will be assigned to games based on value and demand, influenced by factors such as an opponent's quality and the day of the week the game is played. Each game will fall into one of five pricing categories: marquee, premium, classic, value and preseason."
  • Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm on who takes the last shot in Miami: "In almost every regard, the Miami Heat will not be like other basketball teams. So why should they be when it comes to their play-calling with the game on the line? Erik Spoelstra has all of these incredible scoring options laid out for him. No coach in recent memory has been more empowered to go away from the “Get X the ball and get out of the way,” endgame mantra. If there’s really a place where Spoelstra’s talents can stand out amidst the incredible star power on Miami’s roster, it’s there."
  • Terrico White should've been in the dunk contest last year. So what that he was still in college.
  • Dime looks at the five worst trades ever: "Date: September 9, 1980; Warriors Get: Two 1980 1st-round draft picks (Rickey Brown and Joe Barry Carroll); Celtics Get: Robert Parish and a 1980 1st-round draft pick (Kevin McHale). This is like something out of a video game. The Celtics should have got fined for armed robbery. How do you steal two NBA legends for nothing?"
  • Usain Bolt sees Kevin Durant as a role model: "When I was younger mine were Michael Johnson and Don Quarrie. Johnson was pretty much the best runner in the world, particularly at the 200m  -  my favourite event  -  and Quarrie was one of the best Jamaican sprinters in history, so I just wanted to be like them. I still have people I look up to even now. At the moment it's Kevin Durant, the basketball player (he plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder). Kevin is a good leader; he's very strong and very determined. Whatever he does, whether he's tired or injured, he works through it, pushes on and challenges his team-mates to do their best."
  • The Grizzlies and rookie Xavier Henry are in a stalement with his contract over performance based incentives. And owner Michael Heisley had in interesting quote on it: "Isn't it reasonable to think that the 12th pick in the NBA draft can make the rookie team?" Heisley asked. "I think what we're asking for is reasonable." I guess that would depend on what one sees as reasonable, would it?
  • Kenyon Martin tells The Denver Post he understands Carmelo's situation and even says the Nuggets are going backward: "I understand what he's going through," Martin said in a phone interview. "If I'm Melo, I'm thinking — are we getting better? They've got to prove to me that we're getting better... Everybody else around us got better. But we're taking steps backwards."
Posted on: July 26, 2010 8:38 am
Edited on: July 26, 2010 2:36 pm

Shootaround: 7.26.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • Stan Van Gundy isn't a true believer in this CP3 to Orlando stuff : "Much ado about nothing,'' Magic coach Stan Van Gundy Saturday told the Orlando Sentinel when asked about reports linking his team to Paul. "We are only involved in this story because someone said he wants to be traded and someone said he wants to come to Orlando,'' Van Gundy told FanHouse Sunday. "It's a New Orleans and Chris Paul story.''
  • Hornets' fans are disappointed with Chris Paul. And how could you blame them? Any time a player wants out of a contract or asks for a trade, it's seen only as betrayal. And for a guy like Paul who seemed so happy in New Orleans just a few years ago, asking out now just looks like a copout.
  • KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune on Tracy McGrady's situation: "The Bulls have made no definitive decisions on the future of Tracy McGrady, who will work out for management on Monday. McGrady, a seven-time All-Star, is trying to find a home after playing just 30 games last season because of microfracture surgery on his left knee in February 2009. McGrady has been effusively public in his desire to play for the Bulls, whom he toyed with in 2000 free agency."
  • More advice from LeBron to CP3, as Frank Isola of the NY Daily News shares : "It is being reported that LeBron James is advising Chris Paul that he should remain in the Western Conference thus forming a potential rivalry with the Miami Heat should Paul's new team and Miami both reach the Finals. Can you imagine getting career advice from this guy? I'm really hoping that Paul hung up the phone when James offered that suggestion. If LeCon cares so much about rivalries, why did leave Cleveland to play second banana to Dwyane Wade?"

Posted on: July 20, 2010 4:56 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 5:53 pm

Summer League Round-Up

Posted by Matt Moore
The prospects have gone home, the lights are turned off and the court's been rolled up. Summer League in Vegas is over. Here's a look at the week that was at Las Vegas Summer League.

The Rookies

Bright Light: John freaking Wall.
Wall was pretty much everything fans, scouts, and media expected. There were downsides, don't get me wrong. After a strong debut, shooting wise, he returned to the clank fest he showed in college, finishing with a 38% mark from the field. He had some turnovers, which is pretty normal for a rook. But the rest? Ye Gods. One of the more surprising elements of Wall's game was his change of direction. Wall's reverse, pull-up leaner, and floater were all on-target. The combination of his vision and speed, which were the most hyped parts of Wall's game, were brutally efficient. Perhaps most surprising of Wall's week was his development in intangibles. Even with a Summer League roster of fringe players, this was Wall's team. When Wall exploded to the rack and hammered home a dunk in traffic, JaVale McGee acted like he'd just posterized Dwight Howard . There are things to work on, but Wall was the biggest winner from Summer League.

Black Hole: Xavier Henry . He's more of a non-existent star. Henry was held out of Summer League play due to a contract dispute, despite the existence of the rookie pay scale, specifically meant to prevent this. Part of the blame is certainly on the Grizzlies , but Vasquez was playing without contract, so you have to wonder: Did Henry hurt his learning curve by not joining his teammates in Vegas?

Bright Light: DeMarcus Cousins ' first three games. Cousins was the player who looked like he simply couldn't be handled physically. He was dominant on the glass, finished off of offensive rebounds, and showed the most versatile set of post moves of any big in the SL. He had his emotions in check and played to his potential. He managed this against good young bigs, including Greg Monroe (who was a bright light in his own right). It would have been a great week for Cousins if it weren't for...

Black Hole: DeMarcus Cousins' last two games . And then everything came crashing back down. Cousins' final two games were a combination of emotional implosion and inefficient play. He got into it with the refs, pouted, moped, and could not buy a bucket. It certainly seemed like Cousins' hit the wall. Which is not a good sign after a handful of games, with the grind of the NBA regular season coming. Cousins may end up becoming one of those polarizing players in the league if this trend continues.

Bright Light: Larry Sanders . The Bucks are going to have a fleet of capable, talented power forwards this season. Sanders was one of the most impressive rookies in Vegas, playing solid defense, showing off a well-balanced frame, and looking very much like a versatile offensive option. Sanders' mid-range game was considerably better than expected. He showed nice tough with the ball and again, is a mountain in terms of size. He needs to work on his spacing and defensive awareness, but it was a very impressive showing.

The Vets

Winner: JaVale McGee. McGee is a Summer League star, which says a lot about his career. But with John Wall? It was entirely different. Wall and McGee had obvious on-court chemistry, with McGee acting as his enforcer and the Tyson Chandler to wall's Chris Paul. That's an exaggeration. It's also not that much of an exaggeration. McGee wasn't entirely reliant on Wall, though, and had an array of hook shots going. He also played better defense than he's shown in previous years. Throw in the level of excitement he played with and it was a great summer league for Epic Vale.

Loser: Blake Griffin. How do you lose if you don't even play? You're a Clipper. That's how. Griffin was held out of Summer League play despite playing last year prior to his season-ending injury. There's something to be said for holding Griffin out to make sure he's completely healthy. There's also a concern that the knee may still not be right, which has to absolutely terrify Clipper fans.

Winner: DeMar DeRozan. Paired with Sonny Weems, the Raptors had a full highwire act going with DeRozan. DeRozan looked like he was primed for a signicant jump in productivity this season, especially with Chris Bosh you-know-where. He has such great length and his explosion was in the elite class. Averaging 21 points and 4.5 rebounds during Summer League, he and Weems had a plethora of highlight reels and looked like possibly the most impressive sophomore of the bunch.

Loser: Jordan Hill. Hill turned around his rookie season when he was traded to Houston from New York. He looked like a solid low-post player for limited minutes. But in Vegas he returned to the completely lost youngster he was with Mike D'Antoni. His numbers were good, but he had difficulty in getting position against bigger players. with the addition of Brad Miller and the re-signing of Luis Scola, his spot on the Rockets became even smaller during the week.

Winner: Reggie Williams. Williams got buckets. Period.

Loser: Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet did not. He did play defense well, both man and weakside. He blocked shots and had better screens. But the points? They are many, many miles away.

The Fringe

There are tons of NBA fringe players at NBA Summer League that when you watch them, you find yourself asking "Why isn't this guy on an NBA roster?" Some of them are held back by size limitations. Others are offensive Wizards that would be liabilities on defense. Some have off-court or personality problems. And some really are just mystifying, they're so good. Here's a quick insight on who had a great week.

Gary Neal: 50% from the arc. That's a pretty ridiculous shooting clip for anyone. Neal averaged 1 made three for every two attempted at Summer League, including a 6-9 performance in the first half against Memphis Sunday alone. Neal, a 6-4 guard out of Towson University, was a candidate for Summer League MVP, averaging 15 points a game and consistently hitting from all over the floor. Most impressive, though, was his perimeter speed. Neal was able to go from baseline to corner for the pop-out three in nearly no time at all. Combine that with hyper-efficient shooting and it makes for an amazing week of work in  Vegas.

Jeff Adrien: Zach Harper kept turning to me throughout every Grizzlies game and screaming "He's a man!" And that was about right. Adrien was "beasting," I believe is the term. For teams looking for a role player that can rebound attack on defense, Adrien's a great fit and only 24. Then again, I'm not entirely convinced he won't physically harm everyone in a ten mile radius with his biceps. In closing, he's a man.

Pooh Jeter: Jeter averaged 14.4 points and 5.4 assists for Cleveland, which is pretty impressive considering the Cleveland roster outside of J.J. Hickson may or may not have been pulled off a craps table at the Mirage. Jeter's played in nearly every league you can think of and never stuck. It was a good week for Jeter, but his defense may not have been good enough to get him over the hump.


With nearly every NBA coach, executive, and agent in Vegas, along with nearly every top rookie, there was a lot to take in. Here are four observations from the week at Thomas and Mack.

1. All the lonely people. The coaches and executives who are considered at the top of their games were surrounded by assistants and scouts. They examined the games and players, even if there was little of consequence to take in. They had notes, were on the phone, and gave instructions post-game. Conversely, those who you may list as not the best in their field sat alone, playing with their phone, reading the paper, and generally looking bored. There's a lot that goes into being a GM, but you can tell those who are professional in all aspects.

2. Wall Mania. The crowds were good for most of the games, but nothing compared to the Wall mania. The guy could sit around twiddling his thumbs and still get a ton of people watching him. Wall was easily the biggest star in the SL, but DeMarcus Cousins was a close second.

3. Pace, pace, pace. All the SL teams played the easiest type of offense. Get up and run. Almost all the teams employed a fast pace with quick shots. It wasn't a Warriors scrimmage, but it was close, That's part of the reason any great performance is looked upon skeptically. Not only is it against inferior opponents, but the style is often the exact polar opposite of what the regular club is running.

4. Dress code.
The best thing about Summer League? Seeing coaches and executives in cargo shorts and flip flops. It's such a striking difference between the suits they usually wear during the summer. Seriously, if you haven't seen Scott Skiles in cargo shorts laughing and having a good time, you haven't lived. It's like Batman in a Hawaiian shirt.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com