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‘Core 4’ Podcast: Ranking the Top 4 NBA Title Contenders

The Core 4 Podcast gives their takes on the return of Jaren Jackson Jr., checks in on Kenny Lofton in the G League, and present their inaugural top 4 title contenders.

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NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Core 4 was pushed to Tuesday this week after Xavier, Dave, and Matt had a weekend full of Tennessee athletics to travel to see. In the intro, Matt and Xavier talk about their visits to watch the Titans and the Vols football games and Dave finishes with his impressions from seeing the Memphis Grizzlies in person to take on the Wizards.

Then, the fellas discuss the impending return of Jaren Jackson Jr. who was upgraded to doubtful over the weekend. The return of Jackson Jr. has Memphis fans excited about the ceiling of the Grizzlies' defense with their anchor back in the lineup. However, Xavier and Dave believe it’s better to be cautious in the early stages. It will take some time for Jaren to return to his Defensive Player of the Year contender level, and his comfort level will be something to watch for in the early going.

Next, the guys debut their College Football Playoff style rankings for NBA Title Contenders. Matt left off Memphis altogether from his list but because of the points they accumulated are sitting right on the outside looking in. The top-heavy East ends up with three of the top four spots, can Boston make another run to represent the East in the Finals?

In Kleiman Corner, Xavier’s darling Kenneth Lofton Jr. has been a force for the Memphis Hustle. If his success is sustainable, he could leave the organization with no choice but to move him up to the big club permanently. Xavier already believes he has shown plenty but Matt lays out some statistical benchmarks Lofton needs to hit to earn his spot.

To close the show, Dave goes into the recent history of the Grizzlies and the city of Memphis’ support. The unveiling of the Grizzlies’ new City Edition uniforms was met with league-wide praise. The new jerseys represent the team and the city as a whole and for them to debut on a national stage against Minnesota brings even more support throughout the league.

You could also find this episode on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart. You can also subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on these platforms so you could get every single episode of our 5 podcasts — GBBLive, The Starting 5, The Nxt Gen Podcast, The Core 4, and Grizzly Bear Bets.

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