It's been a long, slow, news-less past few months of the offseason, which is probably a good thing when Zach Randolph is on your team, but today's news should break the monotony a little bit.
The Grizz will technically play 6 nationally televised games, although 3 are NBATV games, which my cable provider doesn't carry for free. That actually makes them nationally un-televised games for many of us, since it blacks the games out on League Pass Broadband.
Anyways you can check the games in a nifty calender form right here, pick out some to get tickets to, and watch out for a few ugly stretches. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Over the jump are Chris Wilson and my's reactions.
Chris on the Atlanta opener
This should be a fun matchup to see, and while Atlanta is a little better than the Grizz right now, I think this could be competitive. I would think Randolph and Gasol will go bananas in this one, and hopefully provide a season opening win for the first time since the Grizz arrived in Memphis. I would love to start the season above .500 just once.
Also, this gives the Grizzlies a great opportunity to honor Lorenzen Wright with Memphis and Atlanta being the two teams he played with for most of his career.
Me on the Atlanta opener
Should be fun watching Rudy Gay and Joe Johnson argue over who got overpaid more by each going 9-23 for 20 points in this one...
In all seriousness, though, should be an exciting game. I know both teams have essentially the same roster going into this season, and that Atlanta hammered the Grizzlies both times last year, but have some faith. Both teams are young and will be running on fresh legs -- plus I love the Hawks in the East.
Chris on first 10 games as a group
Ouch. Big ouch. At Dallas, at Lakers, at Phoenix, and at Sacramento, where the Grizz never ever seem to win. It closes with home games against Phoenix, Dallas, and Boston. The silver lining here is knocking out 2 games apiece with Dallas and Phoenix early, but yikes. Minnesota and Golden State are the only two gimmes -- this could easily be a 3 and 7 start.
Me making a nerdy retort
At least it's better than a 1-9 start, 'amiright?' Well, at least I hope we will be...
Me on parity in general
You don't really see a whole lot of incredibly bad stretches this season. For example November includes the Lakers twice, Suns twice, Blazers, Magic, Mavs, and Heat, but the Wizards, Pistons, Cavaliers, and a couple against the Warriors are scattered around to make it a little more palpable.
Chris on the month of January:
This should give the Grizz a chance to make up a few games after a truly tough start to the season. If Hollins and company can hang around .500 until this point, this is when you make your run. January starts out awful with road games at Utah and the Lakers, but after that it lightens up considerably. 2 games against the Thunder (who the Grizz should compete with), one against Dallas, and one against Houston are all that are standing between the Grizz and a big push.
Me on the Thunder
I couldn't agree less with Chris on one point. The Thunder are going to be one of the most dangerous teams to play this year in the regular season. Mark those words.
Why? They play like the Cavs have the past few years. Every single player over-achieves and play all out every night, and they have a true superstar who both plays lock-down defense and will score 30 efficiently most nights. Without true gameplanning, they are a tough beat, and the 2 games in one week against them in January, with 2 against the Jazz, and a Lakers game is the roughest stretch of the year.
Chris on all the back to backs
There are some absolutely horrendous back-to-backs that the Grizzlies will face this season, although that does seem pretty par for the course around the NBA. The notables include
At Orlando then vs. Portland
At Denver then at Utah
At Houston then at San Antonio
At Utah then at LA Lakers
Vs. Utah then at OKC
Vs. Houston then at Milwaukee
Vs. Lakers then at OKC
There are a more back-to-backs scattered throughout, but the games listed above are tough regardless -- not to mention playing those games two days in a row. The Grizzlies this season have 21 back-to-back games. Thanks NBA. (ed. note: 23 is the league high, I'm too lazy to look for the league low right now, hopefully it'll show up in the comments)
Chris on the end of the season
March and April are traditionally a brutal stretch for the Grizzlies, but this year they look much lighter. If they manage to hang on, it doesn't seem like a push for a low playoff seed will be out of the question. Outside of trips to Boston and Miami, along with the Thunder and Dallas once more for good measure, most of the games are very winnable.
Me on the end of the season
The Hornets could be surprising if they hold onto Chris Paul this season, but if they're not, this is a really, really nice way to ride out the year. April includes the Clippers and Hornets twice, plus the Warriors, Kings, and T'Wolves. The Blazers and Spurs have proved very beatable too, which means the last three weeks look incredibly simple.