Led by stellar seasons from Rookie of the Year frontrunner Ja Morant and second-year big man Jaren Jackson Jr., the 28-26 Grizzlies have a solid lead in the race for the West’s No. 8 seed in the 2020 playoffs.
Burly veteran center Jonas Valančiūnas has proved to be a perfect frontcourt complement to Jackson. Young players like rookie power forward Brandon Clarke, third-year wing Dillon Brooks and second-year point guard De’Anthony Melton have all shown promise too.
Unfortunately, the Grizzlies will also be up against the NBA’s toughest post-All Star break schedule, per Tankathon, as they wrap up what has to this point been an exciting season. Schedule strength is determined by combining the winning percentage for all of a team’s upcoming opponents.
Among Memphis’ most intimidating future combatants down the home stretch are the 46-8 Bucks, the 41-12 Lakers (twice), the 40-15 Raptors (twice), and the 38-16 Celtics.
The No. 11-seeded Pelicans, with a 23-32 record, have the easiest schedule remaining in the league. The No. 9-seeded Trail Blazers (25-31) have the sixth-hardest road ahead. The No. 10-seeded Spurs (23-31) boast the 11th-easiest schedule. Memphis is currently in the No. 8 seed, but maybe these more favorable schedules (and the health of a certain rookie in New Orleans) will give one of the teams breathing down the Grizzlies’ necks an opportunity to snatch the seed.
We want to hear what you think. Can the new-look Grizzlies continue their recent string of success and hold off the Blazers, Spurs and Pelicans to secure a 2020 playoff berth? Or will one of these other teams make a playoff push of their own?
Weigh in with your thoughts below!