2018 Memphis Grizzlies Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
It wasn't too long ago that the Grizzlies were a reliable, stable playoff team in the West. Boring, almost. But last year Phoenix was the only team in the entire league with a worse record - and only by one loss. It was a quick descent - the team had made the playoffs for seven straight years until last season. And it isn't hard to figure out what was at the core of the troubles - injuries. Only one player - shooting guard Dillon Brooks - played more than 90 percent of the team's games. Mike Conley, the driving force of the team, was limited to just 12 games. And it didn't end there. Tyreke Evans had his best year in a long time when he played, but he missed 30 games. After starting 75 games the year prior, JaMychal Green managed to stay healthy for only 54 starts. Andrew Harrison missed 26 games. Chandler Parsons missed more than half the season for the second straight year. It goes on and on.
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The team was never going to strike fear into the Warriors. And the playoff streak was probably under threat even in the best-case scenario. But after the injuries they didn't have a chance.
Brooks wasn't just the only player who stayed healthy all year, but he was one of the most pleasant parts of a dismal season. When you take a guy 45th in the draft you just hope he can stick with the team. To get 74 starts like the Grizzlies did from the Oregon product last year is almost too much to hope for. And he was the third-leading scorer among the regulars as well. It was a heck of a start, and it makes you believe that he has much more of an upside, and the potential for a step forward this year as a result, than most second-rounders do. He's one to watch.
There has to be a scapegoat when things go so badly off the rails, and that is usually the coach. David Fizdale faced the axe just 19 games into his second season with the team. The firing came just after he benched Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter, and that certainly didn't help his case. It was a messy situation. Assistant J.B. Bickerstaff took over on an interim basis. And despite going a dismal 15-48 the rest of the way, he impressed enough people around the team enough that he is the new full-time coach. He has never been a permanent coach before, but he was an interim coach for 71 games for Houston after Kevin McHale was fired, and he led the Rockets to the playoffs, so he has some skills.
This year the formula feels pretty simple. With Conley and Gasol healthy, and good performances from the supporting cast, the team can be in the playoff mix. They won't be favored to make the postseason in the brutal conference, but it would certainly be possible. But if one or both is injured again, then the team is doomed again. It's really as simple as that. Those two are that good together, and that crucial to the team. Conley is 31 to start the season and Gasol is 33, so there is plenty of wear on the tires, but there should be some tread left if they have some luck.
2018 Memphis Grizzlies Additions and Departures
The team didn't mess around with their draft picks. They had them both, they made the picks, and they kept the players. And they did well, too. Power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. was a fine pick at fourth in the very deep draft. He was grossly misused at Michigan State, but his size, length, athleticism and ball sense make him a very intriguing prospect. There are few guys who would be better for him to learn under, and eventually take over from, than Gasol. And the second-round pick, point guard Jevon Carter from West Virginia, is a guy who is pretty easy to like in the spot as well.
The Grizzlies made a deal this offseason that makes me laugh. Just a year after signing Ben McLemore as a free agent from Sacramento, the Grizzlies traded him back to the Kings, and received Garrett Temple, a similar player with a better shot, in return. I laugh because it's the most Sacramento deal possible. That team is a joke.
The team lost Tyreke Evans in free agency but replaced him with a younger model in Kyle Anderson, who had been with San Antonio. He has yet to truly breakout, but has shown a nice progression and is big, athletic and versatile - a theme for this team. They made a couple of low-risk additions to the roster as well, adding much-traveled-but-versatile Omri Casspi and useful bench guard Shelvin Mack.
2018 Memphis Grizzlies Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +50000
Western Conference title odds : +17500
Jaren Jackson Jr. ROY Odds: +1100
Season win total: 33.5
The team was 36-44-2 ATS on the season, which means that they were one of 12 teams that allowed you to make profits by consistently betting against them. The team went "under" 42 times and "over" 38, so a very small profit could be found betting the under.
2018 Memphis Grizzlies Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I like the over on the season win total quite a bit here. I'm betting on health, of course, but the central two are strong on his team, the team obviously likes their coach, and the roster is decent enough. I don't expect them to be a playoff team because of the conference depth, but finishing at .500 is a reasonable and achievable target. There is value here.
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