In their latest step toward insanity, the Memphis Grizzlies have deemed it sound decision-making to take on the next free agent malcontent in line: Jamaal Tinsley. It’s a logical progression: If you give Michael Heisley a cookie, he’s going to want some milk. And if you give him a useful but oft-cancerous Zach Randolph, he’s going to want an angry, diminished Allen Iverson. And if you give him an angry, dimished Allen Iverson, he’s going to want a destructive point guard who hasn’t played a game in a year and a half. If you squint your eyes and cock your head to the side a bit, it all starts to become very, very clear.
The Grizz should be a young team getting in their reps, but instead they’re spinning sideways. Bad teams have the luxury of playing who they need to play, which should theoretically mean good minutes for developing players. For now, that’s the case. But what happens when Darrell Arthur comes back into the mix? Or Hasheem Thabeet? What happens if A.I. isn’t donezo? Combined with Tinsley, that’s a good bit of minutes for a team that needs to find consistent burn for its youngsters.
And never you mind that Marcus Williams is already on the roster, or that Mike Taylor was nixed from the mix before the season began, or that the younger side of the free agent pool or the D-League could have all kinds of interesting prospects. Signing another young point guard just doesn’t make sense for a franchise that aches for trouble-making vets. It’s one thing if Heisley/Wallace were to bring in a Kevin Ollie type; limited as they may be, you can at least talk up the ‘leadership’ and ‘intangibles’ that every player over 30 apparently has. But that same rationale doesn’t stick when the veteran in question hasn’t provided much in either regard. To make matters worse, there is simply no way that Tinsley is in NBA-shape, meaning any usefulness he could have as a fill-in for Iverson is hedged pretty substantially.
I get the frustration with Mike Conley. He’s had opportunities, but hasn’t exhibited much growth. There have been dozens of articles about how Conley is ready to make the jump, but I see nothing more than a hop (at best). But why turn to such a combustible option so quickly? Why not give a younger, unproven guy a shot, and not push your locker room one step closer to implosion?
In short, because little moves like this are symptomatic of a poorly run franchise. In long, because Michael Heisley and Chris Wallace have proven time and time again that they shouldn’t be trusted with personnel decisions, and that their jobs aren’t finished until they’ve brought home an aneurysm to the few remaining Grizzlies’ fans.