Congratulate Chris Paul on USA gold medal

Monday, August 25, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

None other than the President of the United States recently weighed in with comments about the Hornets’ All-Star point guard, Chris Paul. While visiting Louisiana this month, George W. Bush said this about the three-year NBA veteran: “There is no finer citizen of the United States and of this part of the world than Chris Paul of the Hornets.”

Following USA Basketball’s gold-medal victory over Spain, Hornets owner George Shinn provided this quote about CP3: “I know everyone in New Orleans and all of Louisiana is as proud of Chris Paul as I am. I'm so impressed with how the entire US team handled themselves on and off the court in Beijing and it's great to see our Olympic team back on top of the basketball world. Speaking specifically about Chris, the entire nation and world continues to discover why he is such a remarkable representative for New Orleans, Louisiana and the NBA."

Now it’s your turn. You can issue your congratulations to Chris Paul by writing your thoughts in the comments of this blog. We’ll use some of the opinions and congratulatory remarks in the first issue of Hornets Magazine of the 2008-09 season.

Southwest Division update: Memphis Grizzlies

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By: Matthew Hood,

Major moves

The 2008 NBA Draft was a very eventful night for the Memphis Grizzlies. With two selections in the draft, the Grizzlies chose former UCLA center Kevin Love with the fifth overall pick and Syracuse product Donte Greene with the 28th selection.
The Grizzlies then made the biggest trade of the night by sending new acquisition Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the third overall pick University of Southern California standout O.J. Mayo, along with veterans Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner.
To complement that trade, Memphis also sent their other draft selection Donte Greene and a 2009 second round pick to the Houston Rockets for former Kansas Jayhawks star Darrell Arthur.
While the Grizzlies made a big splash in draft night trades, they have been a little quieter in the free agent market. They did sign Pau Gasol’s little brother Marc, an MVP from the Spanish ACB league, to add size down low. With Memphis currently under the 13-man roster minimum, the Grizzlies will add at least one more player before the season starts.
Also, to help the coaching staff, the Grizzlies hired Assistant Coach Kevin O’Neill to help strengthen the defense.

Summer league synopsis
The 2008 NBA Summer League started the beginning of the O.J. Mayo era for the Memphis Grizzlies, and he did not disappoint. The 20-year-old posted 18.8 points, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals a game. He also made highlight reels for his 69-foot buzzer beater against the San Antonio Spurs and his monstrous dunk over Hilton Armstrong against the New Orleans Hornets. Mayo was then selected to the 2008 USA Basketball Select Team to play against the USA Men’s Basketball Team in preparation for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.
Memphis’ other draft night acquisition, Darrell Arthur, also fared well putting up 13.2 points and nearly 4 rebounds a game. Last year’s fourth overall selection Mike Conley enjoyed another successful summer league stint averaging 11.0 points and 3.0 assists while only playing in three games. Second year player Javaris Crittenton also put up good numbers with 8.0 points, 4.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds a game.
Two former Big 12 players made their presence felt for the Grizzlies also. Former Texas Longhorn P.J. Tucker filled the box scores with averages of 10.2 points, 1.2 steals, and led Memphis in rebounds at 6.6. Ebi Ere, an Oklahoma University product, posted 8.2 points per game.

This year Memphis boasts one of the youngest teams in the NBA, featuring a starting line of three former top 10 picks from the last three years: O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley and Rudy Gay. While there will be some growing pains, the Grizzlies will try to use their youth and athleticism to improve from last season. Add the acquisitions of Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur, along with plenty of cap space for the 2009 summer, and the Grizzlies should not only improve this season, but should “power forward” for many years to come.