The Grizzlies are going to once again be a formidable contender in the NBA this coming season, but they do have a realistic chance at winning the title? We break down their prospects in our futures odds preview.
The Current Landscape: 2015/16 Futures Odds
We've seen quite the shift in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the top tier. The Cavaliers remain the overall favorites on the futures NBA odds board, but now it's the Spurs that have taken over the second spot at right around +300. The defending champion Warriors can be found at roughly +500 or so.
As for Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies, they can be backed in a wide range that starts at +2500 and goes all the way up to +3000. We've seen what Memphis is capable of come playoff time, so there could indeed be some value on backing the Grizzlies this coming season.
Memphis Grizzlies: Do They Have A Chance?
First, let's run over what's gone down during the offseason so far for the Grizzlies, who finished 55-27 (fifth in the Western Conference) during the regular season before losting to the Warriors in the Conference Semi-Finals last season.
The priority for the franchise was locking up free agent center Marc Gasol, and Memphis was able to do just that. Gasol had a career season for the Grizzlies and has quickly become the best all-around center in the league, so the franchise knew how important it would be to re-sign the Spaniard as soon as possible.
Memphis was also able to acquire a couple nice pieces to shore up their depth, starting with Matt Barnes. Barnes was previously the starting small forward for the Clippers and he's proven to be a tough-nosed veteran who will fit right in with the pesky Grizzlies. He'll be competing with the likes of Tony Allen and Jeff Green in what's suddenly become a crowded position for the franchise.
The Grizzlies also reached a deal with Brandan Wright, who will be Gasol's primary backup. He should see plenty of court time with the team's second unit and should add some much needed athleticism to the team.
As you can see, it's been a reasonably successful offseason for Memphis thus far, mainly because Gasol decided to return. Together with Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies own arguably the most dominant frontcourt in the entire NBA, and they've got plenty of experience elsewhere in the form of Conley, Barnes, Allen, Lee and Carter. It's a well-rounded group that should be challenging near the top of the loaded Western Conference once again this season.
Listen, we've all seen how good the Grizzlies can be, and their defensive intensity and overall toughness is going to keep them in the upper echelon, but it's hard to envision them fighting their way to the title.
That's primarily because of the other teams standing in their way. LeBron and company are the firm favorites and are re-tooling their roster ahead of another charge at the Finals, while the Spurs just inked deals with LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, giving them an even scarier rotation. There's a reason why NBA odds makers bumped San Antonio's chances of winning it all dramatically.
But there's more. Don't forget about the likes of the Warriors, Thunder, Bulls, Clippers, Rockets and Mavericks, all of whom are priced ahead of the Grizzlies on the futures list. There are a lot of extremely talented groups, so it's going to take a consistently elite effort out of Memphis to even get as far as they did this past season. Yes, having Gasol return is huge, but we're still not sold that this team has enough talent to really make a push for the trophy.
With that being said, we're going to be looking elsewhere with our NBA picks when trying to lock down some early value future bets. There appears to be better value elsewhere.