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NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Will the Memphis Grizzlies Rise or Fall?

NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Will the Memphis Grizzlies Rise or Fall? article feature image
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Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Check out this post for updated season win total odds for all 30 NBA teams.


Memphis Grizzlies Win Total Odds

2023-23 Win Total
49.5
Previous Season’s Wins
56

The Case For The Over

  • Ja Morant Being Awesome
  • Injury Upside
  • Draft Potential

Memphis was the “it” team in 2022. Ja Morant burst onto the scene as one of the top superstars in the league and until late in the season he was a legitimate MVP candidate. The Grizzlies were fun. The Grizzlies were explosive. The Grizzlies secured the No. 2 seed and ultimately were maybe the team that gave the Golden State Warriors the most problems.

Despite the coin-flip nature of their Game 1 vs. Golden State in the playoffs and Morant’s injury late in the series, Memphis pushed the eventual champs and built enough bad blood to earn a Christmas Day matchup this season.

The questions about the Grizzlies are centered around Jaren Jackson’s injury and some of the offseason losses, but Morant remains. Regardless of how much people overreacted to the Grizzlies’ record without Morant last season, Morant is among a dozen or so players in the league who can completely take over a game. With another season to develop his off-the-dribble jumper and more counters to how teams play him, Morant still provides a buffer against regression.

Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant #12 and Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Speaking of Jackson’s injury, it should be noted that his estimated return date is between the very start of the season and January. There’s been a lot of league source rumbling that Jackson is ahead of schedule and could be back closer to the start of the season rather than later. The rest of the roster is relatively young so the long playoff run should have no real impact on their health.

The overall strengths of the team are considerable: Morant’s incredible athleticism and playmaking, Desmond Bane’s exceptional shooting, Dillon Brooks’ high-level defense and an inconsistent but high ceiling scoring, Steven Adams’ consistency as a pick-and-roll big, Tyus Jones as one of the best backup point guards in the league, and Brandon Clarke as one of the most impactful small-ball forward/centers in the league.

Memphis has been a consistent hitter in drafts, too, adding quality talent every season. This year they went against a lot of Draft Twitter consensus and added Jake LaRavia, David Roddy and Kennedy Chandler. If their history of success continues and those are hits, that replaces some of the lost depth. (Don’t overlook Kenny Lofton Jr. on a two-way contract either after he bullied and Hulk-smashed at Summer League.)

The Grizzlies have gone over in every season under Taylor Jenkins, including the 2019-20 season where they hit the over before the shutdown.

The Case for the Under

  • Significant Roster Loss
  • Transition Reliance Regression
  • Historical Trends

The Grizzlies objectively did not improve this summer, nor did they retain the same team as last season. Memphis traded De’Anthony Melton to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night for Danny Green, who likely won’t be available this season after tearing his ACL in the playoffs. They also lost Kyle Anderson to the Minnesota Timberwolves in free agency.

That’s two significant rotation players on both ends. Anderson acted as a connector, helping buoy the starting units and anchor the bench.

There is also the matter of Brooks and his return. He should not be considered a negative player — he’s been a key part of the franchise in his time there and has become a tenacious and physical (if foul-prone) defender — but Brooks’ absence to injury last season opened the path for Bane to become one of the most efficient players in the league. Brooks’ return threatens to upset the balance that was so successful. In short, the Grizzlies have neither the same roster nor makeup on-court that led to last season’s success.

Speaking of last season’s success, there were a lot of reasons to be skeptical of the Grizzlies making the NBA Finals last season based on their profile.

Most of basketball is played in the halfcourt. Transition play is a meaningful part of any basketball games and teams can win by getting out and running as part of their identity. But Memphis ranked 23rd in halfcourt offense last season. They were overly reliant on transition play.

Important note: Memphis ranked second last season in Points Added Per 100 Possessions in Transition per Cleaning the Glass at 4.1, and first in 2021 at the same number. So they had the same formula and won 56 games.

It’s just difficult to see Memphis having a makeup that can go for back-to-back 50-plus win seasons. Teams that win 55 games or more have gone 17-12 (58.6%) to the under the following season over the past 10 years. Teams that win 55 games vs. a win total below 50 the prior season have gone 7-4 to the under in the last 10 years.

Grizzlies Win Total Bet

Memphis exceeded expectations and had one of those special seasons when everything went right last year.

Then, on top of two seldom those seasons see performance at the same level, the roster is worse. Teams will likely figure out better ways to defend Morant, whose explosiveness also increases his injury likelihood.

The Grizzlies can still be very good and secure a playoff spot and easily go under. Grizzlies under 51 was one of my best bets of the season, but even at 49.5 I still like the under.

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