Memphis Grizzlies: 50-1
We’ve reached the initial team that will win a ring this season without fully shocking the people: the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rest guaranteed a championship for the Grizzlies, who barely made it to the postseason last season with a record of 50-32 (your 17th reminder that the West is loaded), would be a surprise. Zach Randolph is 33, and Mike Miller, a key floor-spacing shot in last year’s underwhelming crime, followed LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Scoring, as always, will probably be a problem for the Grizz.
However, this team will defend like mad, particularly with a slimmed-down Marc Gasol patrolling the middle forward of his 2015 free agency. Toss in Tony Allen, the NBA’s scariest perimeter stopper, and you’ve got the crucial components to get a league-best defense.
Vince Carter remains a precious wing guardian who will run a pick-and-roll and hit the occasional three, and Mike Conley is a playoff-tested fighter who just keeps getting better.
And keep in mind, we’ve noticed this Grizzlies core knock off the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in playoff show over the previous four decades. Nobody scares Memphis from the postseason.
When the Grizzlies can stay healthy and Gasol puts up a significant year, they are a dark-horse contender.