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Super Early Look at the Grizzlies Playoff Picture

ESPN predicts 34 wins, I say that’s bogus.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN recently released an article by Kevin Pelton; it is a statistical projection of all NBA teams and their projected win totals for the 2017-18 season. The teams were placed via conference, but, if you’re any sort of NBA fan, you know that the Western Conference win totals were higher. The West is that good.

According to Pelton, to secure home court advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs, you need 46 wins; that would be the 8th seed in the West.

Pelton’s win totals come from a complicated mathematical equation that considers real plus/minus for each team. He mentioned that he contributed some personal opinion on each team as well.

The Memphis Grizzlies were not favored in this article, to put it lightly. The Grizz are projected to win 34.6 games this season, putting them 12th in the West.

A little insulting? I’d say so.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis would have to remember back to the 2008-09 season to see win totals that low. The 2008-09 campaign ended with 24 wins and 12th in the West.

The teams that are supposed to fall below Memphis are the Lakers, Suns, and Kings.

I don’t see a puny 34 or 35 wins for Memphis this season. I see at least 40, and, if you’re asking me to go bold, I would say 46. The Western Conference is going to be incredible this season. Now that the conference has added Jimmy Butler and Paul George, it is even more unforgiving.

But when in the past seven years has strong talent and small odds ever stood in the way of a solid Grizzlies regular season?

Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are still the pillars. Chandler Parsons is at least walking confidently now. And young talent has been brought in to change the status quo of Grizzly basketball. Do you think Coach Fizdale can only muster 34 wins with that roster? You’ve got to be rookin’ me.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Consider this - with Marc playing at All-Star level on 100% health, Mike still making a strong case for a top-10 point NBA point guard, Parsons shooting at least 35% from range, and help on the wing in Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans? It is a competitive roster.

I’m not saying they will make the playoffs - odds are they don’t. But 34 wins is laughable. You know who had 34 wins last season? The New Orleans Pelicans. The Grizzlies are better than that team, no doubt.

According to Pelton, the T-Wolves are automatically 20 games better because of Jimmy Butler. The Clippers will win 48 games without a true, proven starting point guard and two franchise cornerstones that can’t shoot. The Nuggets will maximize overpaid Paul Millsap and win 47 games. And the Gordon Hayward-less Utah Jazz will pull out 44 wins.

Those are interesting numbers. I can’t live in a world where the Clippers win 48 games with less shooting, and the Grizzlies lose that same number. That just doesn’t seem legitimate. I mean, this article predicts the 76ers to win at least 33 games, and the Pistons to win 35.

Regardless, the Memphis’ roster is not even complete yet, and the development of Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans is still unknown. There is 75 days until the start of the NBA regular season, and I can say in good conscious that the Grizzlies will win more than 34 games. They have proven this projection wrong for several seasons now.

Take that for data.