Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Spend enough time in NBA locker rooms before and after practices and games and you’re bound to stumble upon conversations with players about all sorts of things.
One of the topics that always drew a crowd was longevity, how to attain it for the youngsters and how to maintain it for the veterans. The facts are the facts. There’s a thin line between a lottery pick and a journeyman, and sometimes you can end up as both.
Former lottery pick Acie Law IV has to know this well, now that he’s on his fifth team, he signed with Hang Time’s Grizzlies, as he enters his fourth season in the league.
Drafted by the Hawks with the 11th pick in the 2007 draft, his stint as the team’s “point guard of the future” only lasted until the trade deadline in 2008, when Mike Bibby was brought in to shore up the position. By the time he was moved on draft night 2009, he and Speedy Claxton were shipped to Golden State for Jamal Crawford, he was already in danger of becoming a full-fledged journeyman.
Stints with the Warriors, Bobcats and Bulls didn’t produce any long-term solution to a dilemma that has nothing to with Law’s ability to play the game. But it pounds home a very important message to youngsters throughout the league that have yet to find their niche; treat each and every opportunity like it’s your last!
Our Grizzlies see the same things in Law that many saw in him on draft night, when he was the second point guard selected after the man he’ll back up now, Mike Conley. Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace explained it to the Commercial Appeal:
While searching for a backup point guard, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace pondered whether to bring in a seasoned veteran.
The decision became clearer when he came across Acie Law. Among the things that intrigued him about Law was the fact that he has been in the NBA for three years with limited playing time.
With Law just 25 years old, Wallace felt like there is still time for the 6-3, 202-pound guard to reach the potential that made him the 11th player taken in the 2007 draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
The Grizzlies signed Law to a one-year contract Thursday, bringing their roster to 14 players. Terms were not announced.
“We think Acie can not only help us now, but maybe we’ll be fortunate there’s a little upside we can reach because he’s still young,” Wallace said. “He hasn’t had major injuries. We’re excited to see what he can bring.” …
… “It hasn’t clicked for him yet in any of the spots he’s been with,” Wallace said of the 2006-07 Bob Cousy Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate point guard. “He’s been in situations where there were some established players ahead of him. He got included into some trades for his contract.
“We felt it was intriguing to have a guy that was that high of a pick, that was that highly regarded of as a college player.”
Vasquez would be wise to pick the brain of his newest teammate and competition for the backup job to Conley.
Nothing is guaranteed other than that contract for a first round pick. And even that doesn’t guarantee you a long-term home in the league.
If you don’t believe it, ask Acie Law IV.