2017-18 Memphis Grizzlies Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
The Memphis Grizzlies have been boring for a long time. There is just no avoiding that truth. They have played a boring, grinding style of ball. They have boring, personality-limited players who don't make a pop culture splash. They always make the playoffs but then bore us with an effort that we all know is never going to be good enough to do any real damage. They are a decent team but a boring one. There is hope, though, that that could change this year. The team quite aggressively overhauled their supporting roster behind their two stars and seems quite committed to playing a faster, more modern, less soul sucking style of basketball. But can in work? Can this team be relevant? Can they even be trusted to make the playoffs?
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2017 Memphis Grizzlies Betting Storylines
Mike Conley doesn't get nearly enough credit as a point guard. He is truly and unquestionably elite, and I'd take him over a lot of guys with bigger names (I'm talking about you, Kyrie Irving). And Marc Gasol is an all-star and a very solid big man. That's a strong core, but the challenge for this team has been in maximizing them. They tried last year to add Chandler Parsons. While that seemed like a good idea at the time, last year was an injury-riddled debacle. He couldn't stay healthy, and when he was on the court he was a shadow of his best self. He's a 28-year-old guy who played like he was 38. He seems to be healthier now, and the capability is there, so the team absolutely needs him to rediscover his former self. I'm not holding my breath, though.
We'll look more at who has come and gone in the next section. We have to address the departures of Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, though. Those two guys were the public face of the franchise in a lot of ways more than the two true stars on the team. They played a relentless, crushing defensive approach, and they were always good for a quote off the court. Neither Conley nor Gasol are loud guys, and Allen and Randolph did the talking. Both guys were allowed to leave in free agency, and that signals a big shift with this team. The team loses their style of grinding defense but now has room for a more open, flowing offensive style - something that neither guy was gifted at. The way they have played for the last several years was good enough to be consistently competitive, but it was never going to break through to the promised land. This new look likely won't, either - not as it is built this year, anyway - but at least they are trying something different. You can't keep trying the same thing and hope for different results. Beyond the style change, though, this move signals a shift in power. This is unquestionably Conley and Gasol's team now. It's not like they weren't important and respected players before, but now it's clear that the buck stops with them and that the team will only go as far as they take them. There is nowhere for them to hide anymore.
2017 Memphis Grizzlies Additions and Departures
Besides Allen and Randolph, who weren't getting any younger, the team also bid farewell to the ancient Vince Carter. All three guys are over 35 - almost six years over in Carter's case - so you would think that the departure of them would signal a focus on getting younger. And the truth is that it was, but with a giant asterisk. New additions Mario Chalmers, Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore are all significantly younger, but they all come with question marks that are bigger than age. Chalmers is coming off a very significant injury, so his ability to step in and effectively back up Conley is far from certain. McLemore is four seasons in now but has yet to show us that he's anything more than a forgettable supporting piece. And Evans is a year removed from knee surgery, and was not particularly effective last year upon returning, so it is far from certain that he will be able to be a productive scorer. It seems odd to vacate the elder core of your roster to replace them with banged-up guys and a draft bust.
They added Dillon Brooks from Oregon through the draft this year and will be welcoming 2016 pick Rade Zagorac this year as well, but it is unlikely that either will light the league on fire early on.
2017 Memphis Grizzlies Futures Odds and Trends
Memphis Grizzlies Futures Odds
NBA title odds (from BetOnline ) : +25000
Western Conference title odds (from BetOnline) : +12500
Marc Gasol MVP Odds (from Bovada ) : +20000
Mike Conley MVP Odds (from Bovada) : +20000
Season win total (from BetOnline): 38.5
The team was a perfectly useless 41-41 ATS last season. They didn't favor any particular location, either - they were 21-20 ATS at home, and 20-21 ATS on the road. They went "over" the total 38 times and "under" 41, so they weren't much more help over the long term on that front, either.
2017 Memphis Grizzlies Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I like the core two stars, but it is almost criminal to waste their talents by supporting them like this. In this new NBA world order you can't build a team like this and hope to be relevant. The best-case scenario for the team is maybe sixth in the West and then a short and ugly playoff thrashing. And on the bottom end, missing the playoffs would be far from a shock. This team needs to decide if they are going to go for it while they still can or commit to rebuilding. This middle ground is, well, boring.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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