The Grizzlies season started last night, which means that local Memphis journalist Geoff Calkins now has the city’s only major league professional team in his columns again. I’m excited to see what Calkins has to say after he spent the better part of the last year trashing the team, the organization and the Pau Gasol trade for, as he said, “trinkets and cap room.” Of course, those trinkets have turned out to be Marc Gasol, Darrell Arthur, Javaris Crittenton and another 1st round pick down the road.
Calkins wrote yesterday, “I wish I had the same sense of excitement about the Grizzlies today that I had back in the J-Will era. Remember how it felt back then?... How many care that this team's season starts tonight?”
At least Calkins can admit that he doesn’t have the same excitement and enthusiasm about this year’s Grizzlies as he used to have. That’s the main problem with him. He’s the most prolific columnist for the major newspaper in a one newspaper town. When he doesn’t have excitement, his columns show it. Just read his Grizzlies articles for the last 3 years. He wants to know how many people care that the Grizzlies season is starting. I’ll tell you who cares. I do, and other Grizzlies fans do as well. Season tickets holders care. The Grizzlies players and staff care. Just because you don’t have the same excitement doesn’t mean that others are with you.
Calkins then goes on to claim that Michael Heisley asked if Calkins wanted to run the Grizzlies out of town. “And what a bizarre question to ask,” Calkins says. Why is that a bizarre question? When the lead columnist for the most influential paper in the city constantly badmouths the franchise, it would seem bizarre to not ask the question.
Next, Calkins says, “I hate that there are days when the Grizzlies' story doesn't even make the front page of this section -- and nobody much complains.” Why would people complain to The Commercial Appeal or to Calkins when the Grizzlies don’t make the front page? 50% of the time the Grizzlies have made the front page over the last 8 months is when Calkins writes another article about the Gasol trade. Seriously, he was still writing about the trade in June when it happened the first day of February. When it comes to Calkins, Grizzlies fans would rather have no article than one of his. Why complain? There’s other places to get Grizzlies news without the bitterness and sarcasm.
Calkins next says that he’s fired up about the Grizzlies opener, after he just mentioned he wasn’t excited about the team like he used to be. He then says that he does and does not believe in the Grizzlies three-year plan. Confused, it’s okay, we all are.
“Memphis should have built through the draft 8 years ago,” Calkins says. Didn’t the core of the Grizzlies three playoff runs come by building in the draft? If I’m not mistaken, the Grizzlies core of the playoff years were Pau Gasol (acquired on draft night), Shane Battier (drafted by the Grizzlies) and Mike Miller (acquired by trading recently drafted lottery pick Drew Gooden). The Grizzlies core of the playoff teams came from the 2001 and 2002 draft, did they not?
And now, it’s time to see Calkins talk glowingly about Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur. It’s nice to see Calkins take a liking to these two guys. If you remember, these are the “trinkets” part of the Pau trade.
“Within a month, he'll (Marc Gasol) be the most popular Grizzlies player because of his physical style,” Calkins says.
I guess Calkins forgot what he said of Marc Gasol when the Grizzlies acquired him, “He's a former second-round pick who will almost certainly be dealt.”
Calkins goes on to say, “He'll (Darrell Arthur) be the starting power forward by the end of the season, if not the end of the calendar year.”
The Grizzlies acquired Arthur by using one of the draft picks they got from the Lakers. Remember the analysis of those draft picks by Calkins. He said, “The Lakers' first-round picks in 2008 and 2010…will be so low in the first round as to be essentially worthless.”
Calkins goes on to predict that the Grizzlies will win, “21 games, or two fewer than last year.” Now, it doesn’t take a Harvard law degree to remember that the Grizzlies won 22 games last year. Seriously, can we just get the facts portion of the column right? It shouldn’t be hard since his columns so rarely use them.
Another Grizzlies season with Geoff Calkins at the helm on the local media. Now there’s something that I’m not excited about.