By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
2012-13 Record: 56-26
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 2nd in the Southwest Division
Projected Starting Lineup
Welcome to the “Grind House”. The Memphis Grizzlies have turned themselves into a really good team over the past few years – and it all starts down low with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Both guys are double-double type guys and they posted a combined average of 29 PPG and 19 RPG a season ago. Z-Bo and Gasol continue to terrorize opponents on the boards, and their physicality is second to none. Memphis’ ability to match up against other bigs is a primary reason for their success. The Grizzlies allowed the fewest points per game last year with an average of 89.3 – but it’s not just the bigs that defend well. Guards Mike Conley and Tony Allen are terrific defenders, and let’s not forget about the “ageless wonder” Tayshaun Prince. The Grizzlies will continue to be a great defensive team, but their scoring problems are reason for concern. They were only 27th last season (93.4 PPG), and the only thing they did to improve their team was bring in the oft-injured Mike Miller. Miller will provide great outside shooting when he is healthy enough to play. Miller only appeared in 59 games for the Heat last season, but he is expected to play more in Memphis. The Grizzlies are going to be a top four or five team in the west this season, but I fear they haven’t added enough pieces in the offseason to get them to the Finals. The defense will be there, but at the end of the day somebody has to put the ball in the basket if you want to play into June.