The Memphis Grizzlies were clearly one of the elite teams in the NBA this past season. Though they entered the postseason as just the fifth seed in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies were able to make it to the West Finals, with a little help from the Russell Westbrook albeit, though they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in that series.
One of the things that you have to like about the Grizzlies is the fact that they have an identity, something a few teams that figure to be in the playoffs can’t entirely say. Memphis stands by their grit-and-grind credo by being one of the league’s best defensive teams and a tough-minded veteran team.
More than that, the Grizzlies also addressed several of their glaring issues last season. In signing Mike Miller they added some consistent and efficient offense to a bench unit that struggled to find those things last season. Moreover, they may have solidified the backup point guard spot by adding Nick Calathes. Just for good measure the Grizzlies also have a more-than-capable backup to Marc Gasol in place after trading for the services of Kosta Koufos.
This Grizzlies team figures to be in the mix all season looking at where they were last season and the improvements that they’ve made this summer. Apparently, though, bookmakers don’t see it the same way.
According to Sportsbook.com, the Grizzlies have just 15/1 odds to win the Western Conference with the Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors all boasting better odds than Memphis. In addition to that, Sportsbook.com also gives the Grizz just 35/1 odds to win the title, coming behind nine other teams and having the same championship odds as the New York Knicks.
To me, it seems like this a complete lack of respect being given to the Grizzlies. Sure, teams like the Rockets, Clippers, Knicks and Warriors have more star power, but they are also far less proven than the Grizzlies, have new pieces that we don’t know how they will work, and the majority of those teams haven’t exactly established an identity for themselves like Memphis has, something that’s vital come playoff time.
It would be silly to argue that Memphis should be the favorite in the West or in the NBA, but they should get more love than they currently are. If the bookmakers’ odds reflect the public opinion of the Grizzlies this season, my bet would be that they are going to surprise a lot of people.
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