Expect veteran leadership to guide the win-now Grizzlies over its win total set by oddsmakers for the 2016-17 NBA season.
Memphis Grizzlies (OU/ 43.5)
Online sportsbooks released NBA over/under win totals on Tuesday, including 5Dimes, with the Memphis Grizzlies' betting number set at 43.5 games. It's quite low considering the amount of upside. Our prediction: the Grizz eclipse the mark comfortably.
Memphis underwent some major changes in the offseason. The franchise parted ways with head coach Dave Joerger and hired David Fizdale in his place. This is Fizdale's first-year in charge of an NBA team after spending 13 years as an assistant with the Warriors, Hawks, and most recently the Heat. Expect a change in the way the Grizz go about their business. Fizdale has hinted at playing a more high-paced style of basketball, pushing the defense and running the break.
Memphis were ravaged by injuries most of the last season yet still won 42 regular-season games. Center Marc Gasol went down in February with a broken foot, and guard Mike Conley missed huge chunks of time with Achilles tendonitis. Both are fit, eager to go, and cleared for full activities on the court.
Gasol's playing status is key to the wager. The 31-year-old Spaniard is one of the best big men in the NBA and is the rock underneath for the Grizz. Since becoming a full-time starter in the 2008-09 season, including the playoffs, the team is 29-46 SU and 34-40-1 ATS when out of the lineup. Last year, it was 12-22 straight up. His health will likely determine the over/under wager.
New addition SF Chandler Parsons gives the team several new dimensions. Parsons came over from the Mavericks on a max $94 million dollar deal. He gives the offense a much-needed outside shot, and at 6-10 can play both the small and power forward roles depending on the lineup. Last season, Parsons averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 61 games (51 starts). He shot 49.2 percent overall from the field and 41.4 percent from 3-point range. Like Gasol and Conley, he too is coming off an injury following arthroscopic knee surgery in late March.
So, where are the Grizz weak? Firstly, they are old, one of the oldest teams in the league. Zach Randolph (35) and Tony Allen (34) are projected to start at power forward and shooting guard, while Vince Carter (39) make a very thin bench. Injuries can and will happen. Gasol and Parsons will likely be on a minutes count to begin the year. Also, the idea of Gasol's foot handling a faster pace a bit concerning. There's also the unknown of a first-year head coach. Will the team gel with Fizdale, and how will he handle rotations? Bettors will have to take a wait-and-see approach before choosing their NBA picks.
Still, the Grizz enter this season with a win-now mentality and their experience will help them win those nail-biters younger squads throwaway in the final possessions. Look for the Grizz to notch 46 or 47 victories under heavy minutes from its first-team veterans.