We have reached the initial team that could win a ring this year without fully shocking the people: the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rest guaranteed a championship for the Grizzlies, who barely made it into the postseason last season with a list of 50-32 (your 17th reminder that the West is loaded), would be a surprise. Zach Randolph is 33, and Mike Miller, a crucial floor-spacing shot in the past year’s underwhelming offense, followed LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Scoring, as always, will probably be an issue for the Grizz.
However, this team will defend like mad, especially with a slimmed-down Marc Gasol patrolling the midst forward of the 2015 free agency. Toss in Tony Allen, the NBA’s funniest perimeter stopper, and you have got the crucial components to get a league-best defense.
Vince Carter remains a precious wing defender who will conduct a pick-and-roll and hit the three, and Mike Conley is a playoff-tested fighter who just keeps getting better.
And remember, we have seen this Grizzlies core knock off the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in playoff series over the last four years. Nobody scares Memphis in the postseason.
When the Grizzlies can remain healthy and Gasol puts a big year, they are a dark-horse contender.
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