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GBB Roundtable: 2nd Half Preview

The sprint to the finish is here.

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Utah Jazz v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Grizzlies season continues tomorrow night with a road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before the day-to-day grind begins for the Grizzlies, I’m joined by some of GBB’s finest to look ahead to the final 22 games as a whole.

Joining me today are Site Manager Joe Mullinax, Associate Editor Parker Fleming, Staff Writer Shawn Coleman, Writer Lauren Harvey and one of the hosts from The Starting 5 Podcast Parish Sharkey.

1) With 22 games remaining, what is your prediction on how the Grizzlies season ends?

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

GBB SITE MANAGER JOE MULLINAX (@JoeMullinax) - I wrote last week that I see the team finishing out at 54-29. 13-9 is probably the bottom of the “realistic” expectations for this team, and the roster will probably have some issues reintegrating a high-usage offensive wing like Dillon Brooks. That’s not to say it won’t be worth it to have him back in the long-term. It is just a part of the process.

GBB ASSOCIATE EDITOR PARKER FLEMING (@PAKA_FLOCKA) - I’m going to go with them finishing 3rd in the West with a 56-26 record. They may stagger some rest here and there that may not get them quite to 60, but it’d benefit for the long run.

GBB STAFF WRITER SHAWN COLEMAN (@StatsSAC) - I think the Grizzlies will finish 56-26, which is 15-7 over their last twenty two games. They will drop a few they shouldn’t likely resting regulars and what not, but will finish third in the west.

GBB WRITER LAUREN HARVEY (@DragicKingdom) - I think the Grizzlies go 14-8 and maintain their spot finishing third in the West. Even with the Chris Paul injury, Phoenix is deep enough to tread water and I don’t see them falling below the two seed and the return of Draymond Green will only bolster the Warriors, so I don’t see them slipping out of the top two. The Grizzlies will also get a boost with the return of Dillon Brooks and I don’t see any team below the Grizzlies in the standings making enough of a run to knock them out of the 3 spot.

GBB PODCAST HOST PARISH SHARKEY (@DaOne_PShark) - Made this prediction on our recent episode of The Starting 5 podcast and sticking with it, 57-25 to break the franchise record and win our first ever divsion title and the 2nd seed (due to Draymond Green remaining out for GSW).

2) How many major awards will Memphis finish top 5 in?

Chicago Bulls v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

MULLINAX - Three - Most Improved Player (Ja Morant will win the award), Defensive Player of the Year (Jaren will be top-5), and Coach of the Year (Taylor Jenkins).

FLEMING - I’m going to rock with 4. MVP (obviously, Ja), Most Improved Player (Ja and Bane), Defensive Player of the Year (Jaren Jackson Jr.), and Coach of the Year for Taylor Jenkins.

COLEMAN - I feel three makes sense. Ja or Bane in Most Improved Player. Jenkins in coach of the year. One of Ja as top 5 MVP or JJJ DPOY, but not both.

HARVEY - Two-Taylor Jenkins for Coach of the Year and Desmond Bane Most Improved Player. I see Ja falling just outside the top 5 in the MVP vote and Jaren failing to crack the top five in DPOY however it won’t take long for them to routinely finish in the top three in each of those categories

SHARKEY - 3. DPOY, MIP, & COY. I believe my preseason prediction of Ja being a top 5 MVP candidate will fall just short it.

3) What team scares you the most in a potential first-round playoff matchup?

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets Photo by Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

MULLINAX - The Denver Nuggets. Honorable mention is Dallas due to Luka Doncic remembering he is Luka Doncic. But Nikola Jokic is playing better this season than he did last in his MVP campaign. Jamal Murray looms large if he returns and is healthy/capable of scoring in bunches. And Michael Porter Jr., while he is less likely to play, is a matchup nightmare for Memphis.

FLEMING - Shout out to Dallas for trading away the biggest problem for the Grizzlies by dealing Kristaps Porzingis. I’m going to go with the Denver Nuggets. It’s rumored for Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray to return this season. I’m more skeptical of Porter’s potential impact, but Murray will be a big boost for their guard play. Adding those two guys to a generation talent like Nikola Jokic is spooky for a 7-game series.

COLEMAN - The Nuggets due to potentially getting MPJ and Murray back. I know we are 3-0 against them this season, but have done it via shooting and defending the 3 at levels we have not regularly reached this year. If they get Murray and MPJ back as well, it becomes quite interesting to have a lot of confidence in a first round win.

HARVEY - Denver if they are healthy. Dallas trading Kristaps Porzingis makes the Mavs significantly less of a scary matchup. That said, I like the Grizzlies vs. whoever in the first round. This is not a one and done team.

SHARKEY - Lakers if they make it. I’d assume they’d have a healthy AD & LeBron if they do so beating them 4 out of 7 will be tough.

4) How many games does Dillon Brooks play in the final 22 games of the season?

Memphis Grizzlies v LA Clippers Photo by Tyler Ross/NBAE via Getty Images

MULLINAX - I will go with 14 games. That would mean a return March 8th against the Pelicans, and not playing in any back-to-backs (which seems realistic given the upcoming postseason, where such sets will not be a thing).

FLEMING - I’m going to put a predicted return date at March 8th against New Orleans. Wouldn’t surprise me if he gets the “return from injury protocol” rest days, so I’m going to go with 12 games to close the season.

COLEMAN - I think Dillon will play in 17-18 games. This will give him over a month of experience with the team and allows for the starters to learn each other well once again. Dillon should also be used to his offensive role by then as well.

HARVEY - 20. It will take a minute for him to get acclimated but Dillon is exactly what the Grizzlies need to maintain their level of play down the stretch. He will also be a key factor in determining just how far the Grizzlies can go in the playoffs.

SHARKEY - I’ll say 15 but it’s hard to say. We know he’s returning in March but not much else.

5) Bold Prediction Time: How does the season end for Memphis?

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

MULLINAX - They will win a game 7 in the first round over the Denver Nuggets, and then will fall in 6 to the Golden State Warriors. A successful season by any stretch of the imagination, with just enough disappointment to lead to some sort of “next step” trade this offseason - be it to move up in the 2022 NBA Draft or consolidate the roster to improve top-end talent.

FLEMING - The Memphis Grizzlies will win their 1st round series in 6 games, and then they’ll go to a 7-game series with the Golden State Warriors in the 2nd round.

COLEMAN - A hard fought second round exit. The Grizzlies can beat anyone in a playoff series in the west, but they are going to have to do it with major shooting contributions outside of Bane and excellent defense. I think the Warriors or a healthy Suns team may be too tough of a obstacle this year, but would not be surprised at all if the Grizz go deeper than anyone expects

HARVEY - Losing in 6 or 7 to the Suns or Warriors in the second round with valuable lessons learned. If you look at the metrics the Grizzlies absolutely have the resume of a contender but they will need to take their lumps. Enjoy it because it will be the first of many thrilling playoff runs with this group.

SHARKEY - 2nd round exit to the eventual Western Conference champions, Golden State.


Thank you to Joe, Parker, Shawn, Lauren and Parish for joining me! What are your answers to the questions in this edition of the Roundtable? Reply in the comments below!

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