Memphis Grizzlies

Gooden was the fourth overall pick of the Grizzlies in 2002.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
2005 DRAFT SELECTIONS
No. 19
CURRENT FREE AGENTS
Ryan Humphrey (unrestricted)
Earl Watson (unrestricted)
Bonzi Wells (team option)
RECENT DRAFT SELECTIONS
2004: 49. Sergei Lishouk, Khimik Yuzhniy, Ukraine
2003: 13. Marcus Banks, UNLV
27. Kendrick Perkins, Clifton J. Ozen HS (Beaumont, Texas)
2002: 4. Drew Gooden, Kansas
32. Robert Archibald, Illinois
46. Matt Barnes, UCLA
2001: 6. Shane Battier, Duke
27. Jamaal Tinsley, Iowa State
33. Wil Solomon, Clemson
48. Antonis Fotsis, Greece
2000: 2. Stromile Swift, LSU
By Bill Evans

When the 2004-05 season began: For the first time in their history, the Grizzlies entered the year with expectations, following a 50-32 season in 2003-04 during which Hubie Brown received Coach of the Year honors.

What happened? Any chance of Hubie defending his COTY title went out the window when he retired on November 25, citing health-related concerns. Jerry West tapped Mike Fratello for the assignment, and the Grizzlies returned to the postseason for the second straight season.

Like Brown, Fratello made the most of his formidable depth. Ten players averaged 20 or more minutes per game; each scored more than 7 points per game, with Pau Gasol topping the leaderboard at 17.8 ppg.

Like Noahís Ark, Fratelloís team had two of everything, and their depth allowed them to withstand injuries to Gasol (who missed 26 games), James Posey (32 games), Brian Cardinal (24 games) and Stromile Swift (22 games). Eleven different players led the team in scoring at least once.

Memphis finished 45-37, drawing a first-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns dispatched the Grizzlies in four straight, marking the second straight year Memphis was swept.

What now? The Grizzlies, still looking for their first postseason win, had an inglorious dismissal. Bonzi Wells missed shootaround and didnít play in the series finale. Jason Williams was involved in a verbal confrontation with a reporter after the game.

This summer will tell if allís forgiven, or if the Grizzlies look to shuffle the roster. Wells was the teamís highest paid player last year, but played only 21 minutes a night. Williams averaged 17.0 ppg in the playoffs; heís evolved into an adept floor leader with an assist/turnover ratio of better than 3-to-1. Both would seemingly command interest.

Earl Watson, the other half of the Grizzlies point guard platoon, is a free agent, so the biggest need for Memphis appears to be a floor leader. They will have the 19th pick in the Draft.

If the Grizzlies opt not to select a point guard, they may address last yearís rebounding deficiency (-2.2 rpg) and find a replacement for Swift, the teamís other unrestricted free agent.