MEMPHIS! This is going to be a very interesting year. Coming off a first-round playoff appearance in which they stole game 1 from Utah, they’ll be looking to make big things happen. They managed to defeat the Warriors in a thriller to make it to the actual postseason.
But they made a very questionable trade this offseason. Sure, it got them some first-round draft picks. But the current roster will open the year a bit weaker. More on that below.
To Win Finals: +10000
To Win West: +5000
To Win Southwest: +185 (Second Best Odds)
When you have a big man like Jonas Valanciunas, you should probably do everything you can to make sure you keep him. But the Grizzlies made a bit of an odd deal with the Pelicans, and now he’s over in NOLA and not here. And in his place is Steven Adams, coming off the worst season of his pro career.
He added very little value to the Pelicans, so hopefully, he will be better here. His scoring was way down, and he was not consistently grabbing rebounds. This makes it THAT much more important for Jaren Jackson Jr. to stay healthy.
He will be looking at additional center minutes this year if he can stay on the court. They have a lot of production to replace with JV gone, but hopefully, for their sake, it’s no issue.
Ja Morant, All-Star?
Coming off an incredible sophomore season, it’s pretty clear that the sky is the limit for former #2 pick Ja Morant. He dominated all year long in 2020-21, and his third season in the league is going to be memorable for all those around here. He’s due to get even better.
Even with the many top-tier guards in the West, he’s good enough to contend for a spot. Especially if the team starts winning at a slightly higher rate, he can stuff the stat sheet with both points and assists.
There is very little he can’t do with the ball in his hands, though he made it clear, alas, he will not enter the dunk contest. Not unless they pay him $1 million, though it would not seem he will get that type of dough.
Watch for Morant’s continued breakout and make sure, coaches, to get this man on your ballot!
Defense Wins Out
The Grizz starting unit is all about defense. This will win them a lot of games. Between Kyle Anderson and Dillon Brooks, they have two play-makers who can lock things down on D. JJJ is a shot-blocking machine. Ja has quick hands and can come up with steals galore.
And Steven Adams more than holds his own in the protected area. And off the bench, Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton are two top-tier reserve 3-and-D guys. Xavier Tillman is looking to build off a strong play-in performance, while perhaps Kris Dunn can compete for some playing time.
Taylor Jenkins team always plays hard, so let’s see what they have in store for us all this upcoming season.