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ESPN’s Zach Lowe shares his outlook for the Memphis Grizzlies

Arguably the best NBA writer in all the land is not too high on the Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA: Preseason-Philadelphia 76ers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently released his 30 Crazy Predictions for the 2016-17 season, and they might have given the Memphis Grizzlies a little more motivation as the regular season approaches.

Lowe is predicting the Utah Jazz will win 50 games and make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season. That means either Memphis or Dallas would be the scapegoat in this situation, and he chose both:

11. Both Dallas and Memphis miss the playoffs

If Utah is in, one of the Portland/Oklahoma City/Houston/Memphis/Dallas cadre has to bow out. Both the Mavs and Grizz feel rickety, so let's get nuts and shove them both into the lottery. Go big, or go home.

If the Grizz stars stay healthy, this prediction will be wrong. Marc Gasol is in great shape, and people around the team say the players already love David Fizdale. The pieces fit, and moving Zach Randolph to the bench nudges Memphis into the pace-and-space, switch-everything era.

It also might stretch JaMychal Green too far. Chandler Parsons still isn't playing. Gasol and Conley are coming off major injuries. Tony Allen has bounced in and out of the lineup for three years, and as he approaches 35, he really shouldn't be anyone's starting 2-guard. The bench is unreliable.

The Mavs have been pulling wins out of their ass for years. A season ago, it looked like the house of cards would finally crumble. Nope. Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut fill needs, and Rick Carlisle will brew up a live-wire bench from J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Dwight Powell, Seth Curry, Salah Mejri, and some random fan who shows up in uniform. Dirk is Dirk, the legend that keeps on swishing.

But the lack of off-the-bounce verve in the starting lineup is alarming, and a ton of these dudes are coming off injury.

Look, this hurts. I love Dirk, and I write a whole column called The Marc Gasol All-Stars. But these teams make me feel queasy. Having both miss the playoffs requires a leap from either Denver, New Orleans, Minnesota or, gulp, the Kings. Denver is tracking the right way, but the Nuggets have to play through Emmanuel Mudiay's growing pains. Still, they won 33 games last season as Mudiay found his footing, and it might not take much more than 40 wins to sneak in.

If Davis has the season a lot of us (raises hand) expected last season, the hardscrabble Pelicans should hang around. New Orleans is also a good candidate to rush into a win-now move. The Wolves are everyone's pick to steal a spot, but cracking .500 while starting three 21-year-olds is really hard.

Injuries and other craziness upend our projections every season. Almost nobody expected Portland, Houston, Chicago, Washington and New Orleans to finish where they did last season.

He makes very valid points - Chandler Parsons is still not 100 percent healthy, and JaMychal Green remains a huge question mark as he moves into the starting rotation. But Lowe is also right in that with the addition of Parsons, the pieces fit into the puzzle better than perhaps ever before.

The question remains the same: Can Memphis avoid the injury bug and stay healthy for all 82 games? Eventually, we’re going to find out.

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