News broke last night that the Toronto Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies made some trades and today the sports world is going crazy. Personally, I didn’t like the trade when I heard about it but the more I look into it the more sense it makes. So what exactly went down?
First and most importantly, the Grizzlies tore apart the “Zoo Crew,” by trading starting small forward Rudy Gay to the Raptors for big man Ed Davis, point guard Jose Calderon and a 2013 second round pick. The Grizzlies then shipped Calderon off to the Detroit Pistons for Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.
That’s the breakdown. Now it’s time for some insight. Yes, Gay was shipped off due to his enormous salary but the notion that Prince will be able to fill his void is ridiculous. Prince is averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 boards per game, which isn’t close to what Gay brought to the table every night. So the Grizzlies downgraded in that category but may have stolen a player in Davis. Besides the fact that he will come off the bench for Zach Randolph at power forward, his numbers of 10 points and 7.6 boards are not to be underestimated. He has only two years of experience in the league and is expected to get better as time goes in (which he will seeing as he has Z-Bo as his mentor and the fact that back up Marreese Speights was traded not too long ago).
With this trade Memphis now has the option of resting Randolph (who is averaging 35 minutes per game) without fear of the offense stalemating. But their biggest problem (most say) is that their offense wasn’t productive in the first place. Some said that Gay was the piece that didn’t mesh with the others type of play and made the offense imbalanced while others pointed to his lack of defense as a big negative sign next to his name. Regardless, is Prince really the answer to that problem? Maybe if you got the 2004 version of him but Memphis isn’t so fortunate. Prince is a valuable defender yes but his offense is just not going to compensate in my opinion. In the end, time is the only thing that will tell if Memphis made a good choice in that department.
Toronto got spoiled if you ask me; they now have a promising point guard in Kyle Lowry running the floor and two scorers in Gay and DeMar DeRozan who can now shift to his natural spot as a two shooter as well as Andre Bargnani down low. Toronto upgraded themselves and at the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference may be happy they did so.
Finally there is Detroit. Detroit may be the most seldom talked about team in this trade despite the fact that they gave away their cornerstone player from their 2004 Championship run in Prince. But despite what they lost, they gained a valuable point guard who knows how to run the floor. Calderon might just come to enjoy the scenery in Detroit whilst he is throwing the ball down low to promising big men Andre Drummond, Jason Maxiel and Greg Monroe. Calderon may also enjoy the other scoring option in Kyle Singler, Brandon Knight and Rudney Stucky. All these options may be a passer’s paradise and seeing as their are more options for distribution for Calderon here than there ever was in Toronto he may find himself calling it home for a while.
If I had to rank which teams got the better end of this deal I would probably go Toronto, Detroit and then Memphis. Until Davis fully develops the Grizzlies may find themselves regretting cutting Gay.
Powers have shifted in the NBA and while Detroit was never really in the hunt for the Playoffs, this trade will certainly not hurt them. As for Toronto, their status as the eighth seed may shift up a spot or two thanks to their new addition. For Memphis, their status as the fourth seed in the West may be under threat now that they have lost their leading scorer. Moves have been made and as the All-Star Game approaches it will be interesting to see how they affect each team involved.