We’ve reached the initial team that will win a ring this season without completely shocking the populace: the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rest assured a championship for the Grizzlies, who barely made it into the postseason last season with a record of 50-32 (the 17th reminder the West is loaded), could be a surprise. Zach Randolph is 33, and Mike Miller, a key floor-spacing shooter in last year’s underwhelming crime, followed LeBron James into the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Scoring, as always, will probably be a problem for the Grizz.
However, this team will defend like mad, particularly with a slimmed-down Marc Gasol patrolling the middle ahead of his 2015 free agency. Toss in Tony Allen, the NBA’s scariest perimeter stopper, and you have got the key components for a league-best defense.
Vince Carter remains a precious wing defender who can run a pick-and-roll and hit the three, and Mike Conley is a playoff-tested fighter who just keeps getting better.
And remember, we’ve noticed this Grizzlies core knock off the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in playoff series over the last four decades. Nobody scares Memphis in the postseason.
If the Grizzlies can stay healthy and Gasol puts a significant year, they’re a dark-horse contender.
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