We’ve reached the first team that will win a ring this season without fully shocking the populace: the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rest assured a championship for the Grizzlies, who barely made it into the postseason last season with a list of 50-32 (your 17th reminder the West is loaded), would be a surprise. Zach Randolph is 33, and Mike Miller, a crucial floor-spacing shooter in the past year’s underwhelming offense, followed LeBron James into the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Scoring, as always, will probably be an issue for the Grizz.
However, this team is going to defend like crazy, particularly with some slimmed-down Marc Gasol patrolling the middle ahead of the 2015 free agency. Toss in Tony Allen, the NBA’s funniest perimeter stopper, and you have got the key components to get a league-best defense.
Vince Carter remains a valuable wing defender who can run a pick-and-roll and hit the occasional three, and Mike Conley is a playoff-tested fighter who just keeps getting better.
And remember, we’ve seen this Grizzlies core knock off the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in playoff series within the last four decades. Nobody scares Memphis from the postseason.
When the Grizzlies can stay healthier and Gasol puts a significant year, they’re a dark-horse contender.
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