Can Vancouver have a second chance?
Of course we can! Bring 'em back!
I was watching some NBA basketball this past weekend and I noticed that the Memphis Grizzlies were at the top of the Western Conference. Then the memories started to come back, of the previous Vancouver Grizzlies. So what happened? What caused the move? I can tell you one thing—it wasn’t our fault.
Vancouver can no doubt support an NBA team. The amount of kids playing ball on the street is sharply rising as communities are putting up brand new basketball courts for public use.
Many would label Vancouver as one of the most prominent cities in the country. Vancouver is to the West as Toronto is to the East, so it would make sense for us to mirror the Raptors’ long-standing involvement in the NBA. Additionally, having recently hosted the Olympics, it seems only natural that we expand the variety of our athletic repertoire.
Basketball is a sport that is popular amongst many cultures. In China basketball may be the most popular sport, with players such as Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin having played in the NBA. Vancouver certainly has a similar-enough demographic to support a local team. Along with fans from slightest way, it would have left the Grizzlies where they belong.
The first factor would be the NBA draft restrictions to the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies and Raptors came in as an expansion in 1995. Due to previous expansion, teams instantly gained success by having a first overall pick; Vancouver and Toronto were not allowed to pick top-5 overall for their first three seasons, even if they had won the lottery. So in Vancouver’s case they missed out on players such as Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, and Tim Duncan. On top of that, they were not allowed to spend their entire salary cap for the first two seasons.
Still, even if these restrictions were not on the Grizzlies, would they have drafted these players to begin with? This leads us to the next factor of Grizzly destruction, ownership and management. Let’s start with management. Stu Jackson has to have been one of the worst general managers in NBA history. His draft picks were atrocious. His selection of players like Bryant Reeves and Antonio Daniels were completely terrible. To have the first draft pick in Grizzlies history be a big, out of shape guy who can barely move was just embarrassing. Along with that, trying to build around Shareef Abdur- Rahim was not a wise choice. Abdur- about the community in Vancouver.
Finally, the last factor was the whiny players. This isn’t a major factor, still, it is a legitimate reason to why Vancouver wasn’t a popular destination for players. Steve Francis’ crybaby face, after Vancouver drafted him, created the illusion that BC was not the place to go play. Some Grizzlies would whine and complain about the Vancouver weather but that didn’t make sense at all. Are they suggesting that cities like Milwaukee, Sacramento, and Cleveland are much better than Vancouver? Oh please. Vancouver is a gorgeous city and many people absolutely love it here. Just because they have to play in Canada doesn’t make it much worse than playing in the states. Who knows, maybe it’s even better.
If you look at the attendance numbers in Memphis it is much worse than what we used to have in Vancouver, and this shows that we love basketball up here; we aren’t all about hockey. The NBA should acknowledge this and bring a team back! As long as these factors don’t occur again, Vancouver will be a great NBA town.