COACH: Marc Iavaroni | 2006-07: 22-60
Memphis Grizzlies

A full season of Gasol should be a boost for Memphis.
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images
The Memphis Grizzlies, who finished last year with the league's worst record at 22-60, will try to regroup this season with a revamped front office and new versatility on the court. New GM Chris Wallace and first-year head coach Marc Iavaroni immediately began retooling the team in the offseason, putting together pieces to complement star forward Pau Gasol. Gasol is now fully recovered from injury which limited him to 59 games last season and is poised to have a career year.

Memphis' biggest move was choosing Ohio State standout point guard Mike Conley Jr. with the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft. Conley's unrivaled quickness and command of the ball should help Gasol and newly signed center Darko Milicic find easy looks at the basket. The Grizzlies also acquired Gasol's best friend Juan Carlos Navarro, another promising young point guard.

With the additional scoring of Mike Miller and Rudy Gay outside, and Stromile Swift and Hakim Warick down low -- along with key additions Casey Jacobsen and Andre Brown -- the Grizzlies are suddenly a deep team who could easily become the league's most improved.

If Iavaroni can harness his young talent, watch for Memphis to take huge strides this season.


Backcourt
Selecting the lightning-quick but heady Conley was a clear signal that Iavaroni wants to run an up-tempo offense and have a floor leader similar to Steve Nash in Phoenix, where Iavaroni spent the last five years as an assistant. Last year's first round pick, Kyle Lowry, gives the Grizzlies another solid point guard who can pressure defenses. Iavaroni is planning lots of pick-and-roll sets and may even play Conley and Lowry together at times.

Mike Miller is consistently one of the best shooters in the game, and although he's not a great defender, he has excellent passing and ball handling skills. Gay, who made the All-Rookie First Team last year, is a rising star. He's long and athletic and can score inside and out. New guard and Gasol chum, Juan Carlos Navarro should provide timely offense and additional depth in the backcourt.


Frontcourt
The Grizz have a logjam in the frontcourt, with Gasol, Milicic, Brown, Brian Cardinal, Stromile Swift and Hakim Warrick all available as options.

If Milicic plays center, he'll give the Grizz some weak-side shotblocking and high post scoring. Swift is a true shot-blocker while Warrick is a legitimate offensive threat. Cardinal's health may be an issue as he recovers from knee surgeries.

Exactly where each player will fit is still a work in progress, according to Iavaroni. "I think that will continue to evolve as we watch them just playing pickup ball," he recently told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis. "How we envision them working in different places and with different people in the games (will determine the rotation)."
-- Jeff Brody
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Milicic
No longer is the Memphis frontline a group of lean 6-9-and-unders. The addition of Darko Milicic provides Memphis a true big man capable of rebounding and shot blocking.

However, since signing his three-year deal with the Grizzlies, Milicic hasn't helped himself in the European basketball championships. In September, he was fined $14,000 for an outburst at officials after his Serbian team lost to Greece.

Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace and coach Marc Iavaroni called Milicic to voice their displeasure about his conduct, The Commercial Appeal of Memphis reported.

"We're very displeased with Darko's actions and comments," Wallace said. "It's an emotional situation playing in national competition, particularly with Serbia, because they take pride in having good teams. But Darko has to be in control of his emotions."
-- Jeff Brody
THE STAT
.486 Besides having the worst record, the Grizzlies played almost no defense last year, allowing opponents to shoot a league-best .486 against them. Look for that to change under Iavaroni's sytem.
Iavaroni
MARC IAVARONI
First Season
Career Record: None
Playoff Record: None

Iavaroni comes to Memphis with 17 years of professional experience - both as as player and coach. He will try to emulate the offense of the Phoenix Suns, where he spent five years as an assistant to head coach Mike D'Antoni.

But Iavaroni is considered a student of the game, and defense is his trademark. "I think technically I made the league and played in the league for seven years (with the 76ers) because I was a defensive-oriented player," he said at his introductory press conference. "I was a player who knew how to play well with others or I would not have a job, and that's always stayed with me."
-- Jeff Brody
KNOW YOUR GRIZZLIES
Casey Jacobsen once worked for his father's construction company, tearing down buildings and rebuilding them. "I had to do all the dirty work," Casey claims.
Conley will probably be the starter, but Lowry will spell him. They'll tandem that position.
They're young but they're talented. They're a scary team. Iavaroni will bring some toughness in there and try to give them an identity.
With Gasol, Darko, Stro and Hakim, they have some length inside. They can cause some problems.
Mike Miller can shoot the ball and Rudy Gay is improving.
If their guards can hold up, if Stoudamire can give them something, I think they can be tougher than people think.
I think they're going to run, but I don't think it's going to be like Phoenix. Iavaroni is a defensive guy.
I think they play Miller at the two, Rudy at the three and rotate Pau, Darko, Hakim and Stro inside.
Warrick will have to pick up his energy level playing for Iavaroni.
They don't have much depth on the perimeter, but they could be a surprise.
-- Western Conference Scout
PG - Mike Conley, Jr.: Plenty of competition in the backcourt, but a top fantasy rookie.
SG - Rudy Gay: It is time for this multicategory gem to become a star.
SF - Mike Miller: Following a career year, there is no place to go but down on a maturing roster.
PF - Pau Gasol: Big season after returning from injury, Gasol is poised to be a top fantasy big man.
C - Darko Milicic: It's gotta be this season, right? Opporunities will be there.
Grizzlies Fantasy Preview | Fantasy Home
Record: 35-47, 12th in Western Conf.
Playoffs: Did not qualify
Scoring Leader: P. Gasol, 22.9 PPG
Rebounding Leader: Pau Gasol, 10.2 RPG
Assist Leader: D. Stoudamire, 4.9 APG

Simulated Season Details
PLAYER/2006-07 STATS PPG RPG APG
PG Mike Conley Jr - - -
SG Rudy Gay 10.8 4.5 1.3
SF Mike Miller 18.5 5.4 4.3
PF Pau Gasol 20.8 9.8 3.4
C Darko Milicic 8.0 5.5 1.1

PG Kyle Lowry 5.6 3.1 3.2
SG Tarence Kinsey 7.7 2.0 0.9
SF Casey Jacobsen 6.5 2.0 1.3
PF Hakim Warrick 12.7 5.1 0.9
C Stromile Swift 7.8 4.6 0.3
F Pau Gasol Spain
C Darko Milicic Serbia
C Darko Milicic Free Agent
G Mike Conley Jr Draft
F Casey Jacobsen Free Agent
F Andre Brown Free Agent
G-F Eddie Jones Free Agent
F Chucky Atkins Free Agent
C Jake Tsakalidis Free Agent
F Dahntay Jones Free Agent
F Lawrence Roberts Free Agent
F Junior Harrington Free Agent
PPG Pau Gasol 20.8
RPG Pau Gasol 9.8
SPG Kyle Lowry 1.4
BPG Pau Gasol 2.1
Points Scored 101.6 (6th)
Points Allowed 106.4 (29th)
Field-Goal Percentage .465 (9th)
Opponents' FG% .486 (30th)
Rebounding Diff. -2.5 (25th)
NBA Seasons: 11
Playoff Appearances: 3
NBA Finals Appearances: 0
Championships: 0
Best Season: 2003-04, 50-32
Season/Home Opener:
Oct. 31 vs. San Antonio (8:00 p.m. ET)
Longest Road Trip(s):
3 games in 4 days: November 7-10
@ SEA, @ POR, @ UTA
3 games in 4 days: December 5-8
@ HOU, @ NOH, @ ATL
3 games in 6 days: December 30 January 4
@ SAS, @ IND, @ BOS
3 games in 4 days: January 10-13
@ SAC, @ GSW, @ LAL
3 games in 8 days: February 13-20
@ PHI, @ SEA, @ LAC
3 games in 5 days: March 11-15
@ PHX, @ DEN, @ GSW
3 games in 4 days: March 26-29
@ SAC, @ LAL, @ LAC
Longest Home Stand(s):
5 games in 11 days: January 26 February 5
LAC, DAL, DEN, UTA, MIL
Buy tickets | Full Grizzlies schedule
TV: FSNS, SportsSouth, WMC-TV
Radio: 103.5 FM
Web: Official site
Local Coverage: The Commercial Appeal of Memphis