Perspective is everything. And sometimes you get so locked into your point of view that you don’t see things clearly anymore. This is especially true in sports, and if you follow a team closely you might lose sight of the big picture. You start to love certain players more than you should and hate other players more than is rational.
So I wanted to step outside of my Dallas Mavericks bubble and get the perspective of some people who cover other teams in the Southwest Division. Today I’m talking to someone who covers the Memphis Grizzlies—Parker Fleming of Grizzly Bear Blues.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What would it take to pry Desmond Bane out of your cold, dead claws?
You snooze, you lose! For real, it’s still unfathomable how the Mavericks had the chance to take him, and ended up falling for the usual upside pick that most NBA GMs fall into — especially with him right in town at TCU. However, even the biggest Bane optimist couldn’t have projected this outcome. His rise to become a borderline All-Star by his sophomore year has been a shockingly awesome development.
Who is the best defender on the Mavericks?
I’d probably go Maxi Kleber. He’s good to switch in spurts, and he’s one of the NBA’s most efficient shot-blockers. His ability to toggle between positions 4 and 5 make him a valuable two-way asset for Dallas.
The Mavericks edge the Grizzlies as Southwest Division champs if...
Someone pops alongside Luka Doncic. The Jalen Brunson loss is a huge blow to this conference finalist, and they’ll need someone else to thrive alongside Doncic to keep up in the top-6 in the West — though Luka may be good enough to do that by himself. Spencer Dinwiddie could recapture his pre-injury form, where he looked like an All-Star guard. Christian Wood’s impact might actually translate to winning basketball for the first time in his career. I don’t know if it happens in year 1, but Jaden Hardy is a fascinating piece for Dallas as well. The Mavericks have to prove it’s not just “Luke and a bunch of dudes,” and fortify themselves as a Western Conference contender once again.
What would the Grizzlies give up in a Tim Hardaway Jr. trade?
Wow, he’s available?! I start most of these trades with this type of return — a 6th man or starter that’s a really solid 4th or 5th option on a playoff team — with Danny Green’s $11M expiring contract. Upon looking at the trade machine, for salaries to match right, it’d take Green and either Dillon Brooks or Brandon Clarke, or replace those 2 players with Steven Adams. I’m not sure I’d do that though. In a perfect world where salary cap restrictions don’t exist, it’d likely be Danny Green, Xavier Tillman, Killian Tillie, and 2 second-round picks for Hardaway Jr.
Which former Grizzlies player would you love to see play with Luka Doncic?
Probably one of the Gasol brothers. Marc Gasol would provide more of the floor-spacing and defense that’s necessary in building around Doncic. Pau would be more of a post hub that could also serve as a playmaking. The playmaking dynamic between Luka and either Gasol brother would’ve created a magical, beautiful brand of basketball