Top 5 ‘Under’ Teams: Grizzlies Have Grit

Monday, February 18, 2019 8:11 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 8:11 PM UTC

The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the best NBA picks in the league – against the total. Here’s why the Grizz are the top ‘under’ team on this Top-5 list.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Feb. 18:
12-11 ATS, 0-2 ML (minus-4.35 units), 17-7 Totals

The NBA is supposed to be all about the scoring these days. But not everyone got the memo; some teams still insist on playing defense, and not jacking up 3-pointers at every opportunity. And there’s one team in particular that has taken this contrary view as their mantra – making the ‘under’ a very tasty NBA pick in the process. Here are the Top 5 ‘under’ teams in the league coming out of the All-Star break:

1. Memphis Grizzlies (36-23)

They’ve got grit, they’ve got grind, and they’ve got the ‘under’ crushing the NBA odds thus far. The Grizzlies take pride in their defensive effort; they’re seventh in the league at 105.0 points allowed per 100 possessions. And they’re the NBA’s slowest team (97.8 possessions per game) once they get the ball, with a very low rate of 3-point attempts. But trading Marc Gasol (minus-0.3 OBPM, plus-3.2 DBPM) to the Toronto Raptors could slow the ‘under’ down somewhat.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (34-22-1)

This isn’t the way things were supposed to work once LeBron James landed in Hollywood. The Lakers are fast, but their offense is No. 21 overall (105.3 points/100) in efficiency, thanks in part to poor shooting from Lonzo Ball (minus-0.8 OBPM, plus-1.5 DBPM). The Lakers also play solid defense for head coach Luke Walton – no surprise there. Picking up Tyson Chandler (minus-2.3 OBPM, plus-2.0 DBPM) in early November gave some added punch to their ‘under’ value.

3. Indiana Pacers (34-24)

Yawn. The Pacers are doing what they usually do: walking the ball up the court, defending well (No. 2 overall at 102.4 points allowed/100), and not shooting much from behind the arc. They’ve got Myles Turner (minus-1.2 OBPM, plus-5.0 DBPM) in the middle, and they’ve got Tyreke Evans (minus-2.6 OBPM, minus-0.2 DBPM) eating up minutes in the backcourt. Yawn.

4. Chicago Bulls (32-25-1)

No one will accuse the Bulls of playing solid defense (109.7 points/100, No. 24 overall). Otherwise, they’re doing the same kind of things that Indiana is doing. And those things should continue now that Robin Lopez (minus-2.7 OBPM, plus-0.4 DBPM) is getting more minutes at centre – although it’s at the expense of Wendell Carter (minus-2.4 OBPM, plus-2.1 DBPM) and his injured thumb.

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Robin Lopez

— Gustavo Vega (@iamvega1982) 10 de fevereiro de 2019

5. Detroit Pistons (31-25)

Yet another Central Division snoozefest. But don’t be too quick to lump the Pistons in with the rest of this group; they’re seventh in the league in 3-point attempts. Unfortunately for Detroit fans, they’re also No. 28 in making threes at 33.8 percent. This is what happens when you have defensive-minded Dwane Casey as your head coach and Andre Drummond (minus-1.6 OBPM, plus-3.2 DBPM) as your starting center. The perfect team for Detropia, in other words.

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