2009-10 Memphis Grizzlies Predictions
by Justin Johnson - 10/23/2009
2008-09 Record: 24-58
Home: 20-20-1 Away: 18-23
Home: 19-22 Away: 20-21
Projected Starting Five: PG, Allen Iverson. SG, O.J. Mayo. SF, Rudy Gay. PF, Zach Randolph. C, Marc Gasol.
Breakdown: A seemingly never-ending rebuilding plan was thought to have come to an end this offseason with the club insisting they were investing in the future. Well, that plan came into question with the signing of the ball-hogging Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson. It's not that the addition of the pair will not help the scoring, it's more a question of how much will the touches (that the pair demands on getting) hurt the development of young stars O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.
Iverson will step in and take over for Michael Conley at point guard. His ball handling is much better but at an advanced age Iverson may be better as a two-guard, but Mayo already holds down that spot.
Mayo is a certified star in the making. Averaging 18.5 point per game was good enough to get him runner-up in the Rookie of the Year balloting. The concern is in his development with Randolph taking a lot of shots.
Gay has potential to be a perennial all-star with his above-the-rim play and ability to pop three pointers. His development was a little slower than many expected but he is rounding into a very complete, but not spectacular, player.
The back line of the defense will cause fits for opponents driving the lane. Marc Gasol and first round draft pick Hasheem Thabeet give the Grizz two legit 7-foot shot blockers to rotate in. Neither are the best offensively around the basket and that could limit offensive put-back opportunities. However, there are plenty of other scorers to lighten that load.
The depth has been dramatically improved as well. Mike Conley will shift into a reserve role to continue his development behind Iverson. Darrell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll, and Sam Young provide versatile role players behind Gay and Randolph.
Memphis Grizzlies Predictions: The Grizzlies, as presently constructed, could be a good surprise in the NBA this season. They have a lot of interchangeable parts and several top-flight young players. How coach Lionel Hollins merges the talent and the malcontents will be the most interesting television in Memphis. Upping the win total from 24 should be given and they may be able to battle with Houston for the fourth spot in the division with 30-35 wins. The playoffs are still a long shot for this team, but there is at least a little bit of a bright spot.
Futures consideration - BetUS
The Grizzlies are not a threat to win the Western Conference or the NBA title this season. The nucleus may be in place to make a run in a few years, however. Despite being a +10,000 play it would ultimately be a waste of money.
The three rookies all have lines to win the Rookie of the Year, and while they may cancel each other out there may be value in there, especially with their big man.
Thabeet enters the season at +1200 to win the Rookie of the Year award. While he will be splitting time with Marc Gasol there is a good chance that he will get good minutes - especially considering Gasol's conditioning issues. If he can be the defensive presence in his first year like he was at UConn a double-double average with multiple blocks would make his candidacy legit.
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