Time for another GBB Roundtable, Memphis Grizzlies fans! The All-Star break is upon us, and with it comes a moment to reflect. Where the Grizzlies are, where they have been, and where they are going is the focus in this edition of the roundtable. Participating with me are GBB Game Coverage Editor Grace Baker, Multimedia Editor Matt Preston, GBB Video Content Editor Mark King, and Game Coverage Writer Elbert Hubbard Jr.
What has been most promising to you the last 10 games for the Grizzlies?
Joe Mullinax (@JoeMullinax)- Winning the games that they are supposed to win. Even including Wednesday night’s tough loss against the Pelicans (a bad game against a bad team, no doubt), Memphis only lost three times over that ten game stretch- New Orleans, at the Thunder, and at home against the Warriors. The Grizzlies took advantage of a weakened Spurs team, picked up a huge win in Utah against the Jazz, and beat almost every team they were supposed to beat. That is refreshing for a Memphis team who has a history of dropping multiple games to bad teams over longer periods of time.
Matt Preston (@grizzlam)- Health. The Grizzlies organization played the long game when signing Vince Carter, Brandan Wright, and Chandler Parsons despite their injury issues. Each player brings something vital to the table, and they're getting their legs at the right time. We've yet to see the full potential of our healthy roster, but early indications are promising.
Grace Baker (@GraceBaker901)- It's been promising to see Brandan Wright out on the court again. And he's been playing well, I might add. On Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets, he had 17 points in 21 minutes and looks in pretty good shape. If he can contribute during the last part of this season and into the playoffs, it'll really help add some depth to the Grizzlies' front court.
Elbert Hubbard Jr. (@elbertjunior901)- The most promising thing to look at the last 10 games for me is Tony Allen’s impact on the floor. He came away with two double doubles in recent games. Also, Mike Conley taking charge with the Nets and Suns games. Marc Gasol is still showing why he is Memphis’ all-star with the way he played against the Nets.
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Who do you think will be the biggest non-Core Four contributor to the Grizzlies in the second half of the season?
Mullinax- If Memphis hopes to make a run in the playoffs, it has to be Chandler Parsons. He has a week now to rest up, continue to get his conditioning and physical therapy work, and not worry about the grind on his knees. Hopefully he comes back and is ready for the stretch run. If he is, he makes the Grizzlies offense that much more dangerous.
Preston- James Ennis. His defense against the league's lethal swingmen has gotten better and better, and his corner threes will boost our offense. Troy Daniels is another candidate, but he doesn't affect the game throughout its duration like Ennis does.
Baker- During the final home stretch this season, I believe JaMychal Green will continue to be a consistent force for the Grizzlies. He's averaging about 9 points and 7 rebounds currently and has really impressed me this season overall. He provides athleticism to this Memphis team and spaces the floor. Zach Randolph has been great coming off the bench behind Green, who has been solid in his new starting role this year.
Hubbard Jr.- I think the biggest impact players would be JaMychal Green and Troy Daniels. Green showed everyone this season that he is more than just an undrafted player from Alabama. This is a guy that rebound and defends at near-elite levels, and he can pull up from deep. He adds depth for the power forward position in Memphis. Troy Daniels, meanwhile, needs more minutes and more threes. He has been lights out shooting this season. During the Kings game before the new year, he shot four clean, no rim threes. Just goes to show he is the key shooter moving forward and the Grizzlies need to give him more clean looks.
Putting you on the spot- what will be the seed of the Memphis Grizzlies and final record heading in to the playoffs?
Mullinax- Going in to this season I predicted the Grizzlies would go 48-34. Memphis went in to the All-Star break with a record of 34-24, good for a .586 winning percentage. If they want to maintain that win percentage the rest of the way, they have to go 14-10 their last 24 games, which would add up to...48-34. Looking at their ending schedule, especially four games at home to end the season, that is very doable and may even be a bit conservative. But I think Memphis will continue to monitor minutes and rest players sporadically with an eye to the playoffs.
So, continue to put me down for 48-34, which will likely result in a close-but-no-cigar race with the Jazz (49-33) and Clippers (50-32) and the six seed for the Grizzlies...which may be their best shot at a run to the Western Conference Finals.
Preston- 4th seed (52-30): the Grizzlies coalesce and hit their stride to end the regular season.
Baker- I think the Grizzlies will grab the fifth seed, in the end. Right now, they're sitting at sixth and are just a game and a half game behind the Utah Jazz, who are a half game back from the Los Angeles Clippers. With Memphis healthy, I believe they can climb the ladder one more spot from where they're at currently. But it'll be a tight race for sure.
Hubbard Jr.- Being realistic they have a better chance of being a five or six seed. Based on everything I’ve seen in this up and down season, I see the Grizzlies winning at least 45 games this season. They can be above .500 and I can see them winning 48 games max. If they make it to the playoffs, they will make it to Round 2 but not to the Conference Finals.