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BoxScore Geeks' 2014 Memphis Grizzlies Preview

The Numbers

  • Average Seed
    7
  • 📉 Pessimist
    38.0 wins
  • Realist
    46.0 wins
  • 📈 Optimist
    54.0 wins
First Seed
 
2.0%
Division
 
6.7%
Top 4
 
17.2%
👍 Over (48.0)
👎 Under (48.0)
🎀 Playoffs

"I coulda' been a contender"

On the Waterfront

The Brief

After the deepest playoff run in their history, the Grizzlies seemed poised to break out to the next level last season. I loved them unabashedly before the season. They ran into some trouble, and lost two key cogs (Marc Gasol and Tony Allen) for a significant chunk of the season.

But the nice part about building a deep, quality roster is that they were able to overcome that adversity and roar into the playoffs. There, they lost to the Thunder in a series for the ages that featured four straight overtime games. The Grizzlies, perhaps even more than the Rockets, can legitimately complain about missed opportunities.

The Story

The big question for Memphis is whether the last two year were the last, best shot for their current core group. Marc Gasol might be on the way out as a free agent this coming offseason. Their two best per minute players for last season (Mike Miller and James Johnson) are gone. Zach, Tayshaun and Tony are all on the wrong side of 30. 

Learn About Tableau

The key problem for the Grizzlies is that their roster was solid across the board, but not exceptional. They lack the clear stars and superstars that are so readily apparent in the rosters of their competitors. Being a good, blue collar team that grinds everything out works fantastically in the regular season but will fall short once the lineups shorten and the going gets tougher in the postseason.

Last Year

  • Actual Wins: 50
  • Expected Wins: 45.0
  • Lucky Wins: -.7

 

 

Player Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Zach Randolph 2705.0 33 .083 4.7
Mike Conley 2446.0 26 .147 7.5
Marc Gasol 1970.0 29 .075 3.1
Tayshaun Prince 1948.0 34 .043 1.7
Mike Miller 1707.0 34 .168 6.0
Courtney Lee 1469.0 28 .108 3.3
Kosta Koufos 1349.0 25 .110 3.1
Tony Allen 1278.0 32 .182 4.8
Nick Calathes 1173.0 25 .104 2.5
Ed Davis 956.0 25 .149 3.0
James Johnson 956.0 27 .216 4.3
Jerryd Bayless 650.0 25 -.029 -.4
Jon Leuer 642.0 25 .088 1.2
Quincy Pondexter 270.0 26 .023 .1
Jamaal Franklin 161.0 23 -.032 -.1
Darius Morris 66.0 23 .029 0
Beno Udrih 55.0 32 .070 .1
Seth Curry 4.0 23 .013 0

 

Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.

  • 45.0 total Wins Produced
  • 6 players leaving
    (4339.0 minutes, 12.9 wins)

 

8 of the top 11 players in terms of minutes for the Grizzlies were above average last year (>.100 Wins Produced per 48).  Of the 3 that were below average last year, two, Marc and Zach, have both been above average in the very recent past. But that you have to go to 11 on the depth chart before you find someone playing at an exceptional level (James Johnson at .216 WP48).

Let me be clear that I agree with the way this roster is constructed. It's a good, sustainable, longterm strategy for competing. But to win it all, they will need to find a star.

This Year

  • Projected Wins: 46.0
  • Conference Rank: 8
  • % Playoffs: 56.0

 

 

Player Position Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Mike Conley 1.0 2394.5 27 .135 6.7
Marc Gasol 5.0 2384.9 30 .130 6.4
Zach Randolph 4.0 2236.7 34 .099 4.6
Courtney Lee 2.0 2204.4 29 .140 6.4
Vince Carter 3.0 2028.1 38 .105 4.4
Tayshaun Prince 3.0 1276.4 35 .051 1.4
Kosta Koufos 5.0 1269.1 26 .136 3.6
Tony Allen 2.0 1244.5 33 .133 3.5
Beno Udrih 1.0 1094.2 33 .098 2.2
Jon Leuer 4.0 1081.7 26 .106 2.4
Nick Calathes 1.5 735.5 26 .101 1.6
Quincy Pondexter 2.5 689.6 27 .104 1.5
Jarnell Stokes 4.0 398.5 0 .114 .9
Jordan Adams 2.0 320.6 0 .132 .9

 

Indicates that the player is new to the team.

  • 📅 42.0 WP last year
    by these players
  • 🔀 -4.0 WP (roster changes)
  • -1.4 WP (age/experience)

We are projecting the Grizzlies to produce 1 win more than last year but win 4 games less. This is because last year, they outperformed their win expectation by 5 whole games. They were lucky, and they're giving some of those wins back to an even tougher western conference.

Learn About Tableau

We think Memphis added some nice players in the offseason. Vince Carter was a solid free agent pickup. A full season of Courtney Lee will only help. I absolutely loved their draft. Jarnell Stokes looks like an NBA player. Jordan Adams might be a star. Why isn't the outlook rosier then? As I said, the Grizzlies have exactly one player projected to be below average (Tayshaun) but no one projected to be above .135 WP48. This means a team with a high floor in terms of wins but not a terribly high ceiling. There's also a significant amount of age risk around Gasol and Randolph.

The positives for this team is that if they can actually find a star, they're perfectly poised to take the leap and become a dominant force in the NBA.

The Wrap

There is a 20% chance that Jordan Adams could be that star that the Grizzlies need. However, given all the ifs and the historically stacked Western Conference, 46-36 and the 4 to 8 seed in the West quaqmire seems right on the money.

They let Ed Davis go ($1m/yr) and signed Vince Carter ($4m/yr)?

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