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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies season preview

Memphis Grizzlies announced themselves as serious contenders with a run to the conference semi-finals last season and will be looking to improve on that this year.

The Grizzlies claimed second seed in the Western Conference last term as they finished the regular season with a 56-26 overall record, the second best in the NBA behind only Phoenix Suns.

Despite coming in second spot they were still handed a tough playoff draw and, after a hard-fought first round win over Minnesota Timberwolves in six games, they went down 4-2 to eventual champions Golden State Warriors in the second round.

Memphis were without star man Ja Morant for the final three games of that series with the Dubs but managed to stay competitive, claiming a huge 134-95 win in Game 5 and, if they can keep their starters fit, they will be a real threat in the postseason once again.

WhatNBA Season 2022/23
WhereUSA and Canada
When18th October 2022 - June 2023
How to watchSky Sports, NBA Pass, bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsBOS Celtics +525, GS Warriors +600, LA Clippers +700, MIL Bucks +750, BKN Nets +800

Morant can lead Memphis charge

Point guard Morant will be the key to Memphis' championship hopes in the season ahead as he gears up for his fourth season in the NBA.

The 23-year-old won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019-20 but then had a difficult second season, although he still improved on most of his significant stats from his first campaign.

Last season was a breakthrough year for the South Carolina-native as he averaged 27.4 points-per-game, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists, picking up the Most Improved Player award and earning a first All-Star selection.

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Morant continued to impress in the playoffs, averaging 27.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 9.8 assists in nine games, before a knee injury cut short his postseason.

Morant is potentially a future MVP and may well be in the conversation for that coveted honor this season, and he has a strong supporting cast around him.

Third-year guard Desmond Bane will join Morant to form an impressive backcourt, with Steve Adams bringing plenty of experience at center. Forward Dillon Brooks endured an injury-hit campaign last term but still managed to impress, and Memphis have made a few impressive moves during the offseason.

Serial winner Green adds further experience

Memphis arguably gave Golden State their biggest test in the postseason last term, aside from perhaps Boston Celtics in the Finals, but a lack of experience in those big-game moments proved the difference.

Dubs star Steph Curry stated he feels Memphis have "a lot of potential in terms of winning at the highest level" after Golden State's 4-2 series win, and the arrival of three-time champion Danny Green during the offseason should help them push on further.

Green's three titles have come with three different teams as he was a member of the San Antonio Spurs squad that took the top prize in 2014, before back-to-back championships with Toronto Raptors in 2019 and then the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

Memphis may also have unearthed a gem in the shape of young forward Kenneth Lofton Jr., who they have signed on a two-way contract. The 20-year-old went undrafted but impressed in the Summer League, although he is one for the future rather than a player who is likely to make a significant impact this season.

Jenkins building experience

Memphis took a chance on young coach Taylor Jenkins in 2019 and the move has paid off for the franchise. Jenkins, who only turned 38 earlier this month, finished second in the Coach of the Year voting last term as he led the Grizzlies to a first ever Division title.

The Texan is preparing for his fourth season in charge, and now has further experience of coaching in the playoffs after last season's run.

How the season starts

The Grizzlies open the new season with a home game against New York Knicks on 20th October before a trip to Houston Rockets. They will be anticipating back-to-back wins in those games and their first real test against a key conference rival comes in their third assignment as they travel to Dallas to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.

Memphis Grizzlies' 2022-23 expectations

Memphis will see themselves as genuine championship contenders after giving Golden State a stern test last season, despite playing without Morant for half of that series, and they are +2200 to win the championship outright, or +1100 to win the Western Conference.

Morant announced himself as one of the league's superstars last term and if he can stay fit for the majority of the season he could well be an MVP contender. He is +1400 to win that award.

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