NBA Predictions: Memphis Grizzlies Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/17/2013
The Memphis Grizzlies made it to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs last season. In a move that surprised many people, the Grizzlies decided not to renew the contract of Lionel Hollins after last season. The Grizzlies wanted to move in a bit of a different direction despite winning 56 games and making it to the Western Conference Finals.
The makeup of the team is pretty similar, and expectations will be very high in Memphis this year. The Western Conference has a bunch of very good teams, but there is no clear-cut favorite that is expected to dominate. If Memphis can continue to improve, they certainly have a shot at a trip to the NBA Finals. Let’s look at the Memphis Grizzlies as they push to do even more in the 2013-14 season.
New Head Coach and New Tempo
Memphis hired Dave Joerger as their new head coach during the offseason. Joerger has been an assistant with the team for the past six years, and he was a popular hire with Grizzlies players. Joerger had specific oversight over the Grizzlies defense last season, and Memphis finished first in the league in points per game allowed. The Grizzlies gave up only 89.3 points per contest.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said in a recent interview that Coach Joerger has made it clear he wants this team to start pushing the tempo more. Joerger believes this team should run and try to take advantage of easy scoring opportunities much more than they have in the past few years. There is definitely some risk to changing things so much when the team has been great at slowing the game down, but Joerger obviously believes it is worth taking the chance.
Offseason Player Moves
Memphis lost just three players from last year’s roster: Darrell Arthur, Keyon Dooling, and Austin Daye. Arthur is the only one who played many minutes at all, so Memphis has most of their main guys back from last year.
The Grizzlies brought Mike Miller back to town in the offseason to help with their lack of outside shooting. The team’s inconsistency from long range hurt them a lot against the Spurs in the postseason. Kosta Koufos brings improved depth in the frontcourt. Nick Calathes was signed to give the team another ball-handler to back up Mike Conley.
Memphis didn’t have a first-round draft pick this past year, but I did like their selection of Jamaal Franklin with the 41st overall pick in the draft. Franklin is a freakishly impressive athlete, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him contributing to the team in a year or two.
Overall, the Grizzlies didn’t make many moves in the offseason. Remember, this team was only one step away from the NBA Finals, so it is probably a wise move to keep the core roster together for another season.
Best Frontcourt in the NBA
Memphis still has the best frontcourt in the NBA. The aforementioned Gasol teams up with Zach Randolph to form an extremely physical front line that is capable of dominating the opposition at any time. There is definitely no other frontcourt in the league that can rebound as well as the combination of Gasol and Randolph. Both of these guys can score around the basket with an array of moves. In addition, both Gasol and Randolph are very good shooters from mid-range, which makes them much more difficult to defend. Improved depth behind them should keep them fresh all season long.
NBA Predictions: Memphis Grizzlies Futures
The Memphis Grizzlies aren’t getting as much respect as you might think from the oddsmakers heading into the season. Memphis is listed at 33/1 to win the 2014 NBA Finals, according to odds from Bovada. BetOnline lists the Grizzlies at +1,500 to win the Western Conference Championship this year. It seems the oddsmakers don’t think Memphis can equal their success from a year ago. A team that gets to the Western Conference Finals is generally listed at a much shorter price than +1,500 to win the conference in the upcoming year.
Memphis needs to rely less on the jump shot this year, and they need to continue to pound it inside to their extremely talented big men. Time will tell how the experiment to a faster tempo will go with the Grizzlies.
In the end, a team with a pair of big men that can dominate on the inside should probably be getting a little more respect than the Grizzlies are right now. Even if they don’t match last season’s win total of 56 games, they will be a very tough out in the playoffs. Don’t be afraid to take a small flier on the Grizzlies futures this season.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith