The Memphis Grizzlies boast one of the best and deepest frontlines in the NBA. Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Darrell Arthur (who is returning to the Grizzlies after missing the entire 2011-2012 season with a torn Achilles tendon) and Marreese Speights form a formidable frontcourt rotation that can compete night in and night out with any frontline in the league. The size and skill set of Memphis' bigs, particularly Gasol and Randolph, are two of the biggest assets the Grizzlies have.
The steady play of point guard Mike Conley is the glue that holds this Memphis team together. Conley and his backcourt mate, Tony Allen, set the defensive tone for the Grizzlies by aggressively defending the perimeter and disrupting the offensive flow of their opponents. Conley's greatest value is his ability to help keep the Grizzlies on an even keel by running the team effectively and making timely plays on both ends of the court.
Basically, the Grizzlies will go as far as their frontline, along with a few assists from Conley, can carry them. However, Memphis did make some offseason acquisitions that improved its backcourt and may prove to be beneficial before the season ends.
Combo guard Jerryd Bayless will likely have the biggest impact. Bayless gives the Grizzlies a legitimate backup point guard and has shown that he can shoot the ball from distance. Last season, he shot a career-high 42.3 percent beyond the three-point arc as a member of the Toronto Raptors. As a team, Memphis shot a dismal 32.6 percent from that distance last season. Bayless addresses two of the biggest needs that the Grizzlies had heading into the offseason.
Memphis also acquired shooting guard Wayne Ellington in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies hope that a change of scenery, along with the open looks that are likely to come his way, will help Ellington make meaningful contributions to their cause.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2012-2013 Memphis Grizzlies:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 31 at Los Angeles Clippers- Grizzlies open the season with a victory over the Clippers at the Staples Center (Record 1-0).
Game 2, Friday, November 2 at Golden State Warriors- Grizzlies get a road win over the Warriors (Record 2-0).
Game 3, Monday, November 5 versus Utah Jazz- Grizzlies defeat the Jazz in their home opener at the FedExForum (Record 3-0).
Game 4, Wednesday, November 7 at Milwaukee Bucks- Grizzlies drop a road game to the Bucks at the Bradley Center (Record 3-1).
Game 5, Friday, November 9 versus Houston Rockets- Grizzlies rebound with a victory over Jeremy Lin and the Rockets (Record 4-1).
Game 6, Sunday, November 11 versus Miami Heat- Grizzlies get an impressive home win over the Heat (Record 5-1).
Game 7, Wednesday, November 14 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Grizzlies defeat Kevin Durant and the Thunder (Record 6-1).
Game 8, Friday, November 16 versus New York Knicks- Grizzlies beat the Knicks in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 7-1).
Game 9, Saturday, November 17 at Charlotte Bobcats- Grizzlies get a road win over the Bobcats (Record 8-1).
Game 10, Monday, November 19 versus Denver Nuggets- Grizzlies drop a home game to the Nuggets (Record 8-2).
Game 11, Friday, November 23 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Grizzlies fall to the star-studded Lakers (Record 8-3).
Game 12, Monday, November 26 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Grizzlies rebound with a victory over the Cavaliers (Record 9-3).
Game 13, Wednesday, November 28 versus Toronto Raptors- Grizzlies win a close game against the Raptors (Record 10-3).
Game 14, Friday, November 30 versus Detroit Pistons- Grizzlies defeat the Pistons to close a 3-2 homestand (Record 11-3).
Game 15, Saturday, December 1 at San Antonio Spurs- Grizzlies open December with loss to the Spurs (Record 11-4).
Game 16, Tuesday, December 4 versus Phoenix Suns- Grizzlies drop a home game to the Suns (Record 11-5).
Game 17, Friday, December 7 at New Orleans Hornets- Grizzlies fall to the young Hornets and suffer their third consecutive loss (Record 11-6).
Game 18, Saturday, December 8 versus Atlanta Hawks- Grizzlies defeat the Hawks in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 12-6).
Game 19, Wednesday, December 12 at Phoenix Suns- Grizzlies get a close win over the Suns at the US Airways Arena (Record 13-6).
Game 20, Friday, December 14 at Denver Nuggets- Grizzlies fall to the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center (Record 13-7).
Game 21, Saturday, December 15 at Utah Jazz- Grizzlies close a 2-1 road trip with a victory over the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena (Record 14-7).
Game 22, Monday, December 17 versus Chicago Bulls- Grizzlies get a home win over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls (Record 15-7).
Game 23, Wednesday, December 19 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Grizzlies defeat the Bucks to avenge a November loss (Record 16-7).
Game 24, Friday, December 21 versus Dallas Mavericks- Grizzlies close a perfect 3-0 homestand with a victory over the Mavericks (Record 17-7).
Game 25, Saturday, December 22 at Houston Rockets- Grizzlies drop a road game to the Rockets (Record 17-8).
Game 26, Wednesday, December 26 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Grizzlies get back on track with a home win over Andrew Bynum and the 76ers (Record 18-8).
Game 27, Saturday, December 29 versus Denver Nuggets- Grizzlies pick up their sixth straight home win with a victory over the Nuggets (Record 19-8).
Game 28, Monday, December 31 at Indiana Pacers- Grizzlies close 2012 with a road loss to the Pacers (Record 19-9).
Game 29, Wednesday, January 2 at Boston Celtics- Grizzlies fall to the Celtics at the TD Garden (Record 19-10).
Game 30, Friday, January 4 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Grizzlies earn their 20th win of the season with a victory over the Trail Blazers (Record 20-10).
Game 31, Sunday, January 6 at Phoenix Suns- Grizzlies get a road win over the Suns (Record 21-10).
Game 32, Monday, January 7 at Sacramento Kings- Grizzlies play for the third time in four nights and fall to the Kings (Record 21-11).
Game 33, Wednesday, January 9 at Golden State Warriors- Grizzlies end a disappointing 1-2 road trip with a loss to the Warriors (Record 21-12).
Game 34, Friday, January 11 versus San Antonio Spurs- Grizzlies lose to the Spurs and drop their third consecutive game (Record 21-13).
Game 35, Saturday, January 12 at Dallas Mavericks- Grizzlies drop the second half of a back-to-back to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks (Record 21-14).
Game 36, Monday, January 14 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Grizzlies fall to Chris Paul and the Clippers (Record 21-15).
Game 37, Wednesday, January 16 at San Antonio Spurs- Grizzlies lose to the Spurs for the second time in less than a week (Record 21-16).
Game 38, Friday, January 18 versus Sacramento Kings- Grizzlies get a much-needed win over the Kings (Record 22-16).
Game 39, Saturday, January 19 at Chicago Bulls- Grizzlies successfully complete a back-to-back with a victory over the Bulls (Record 23-16).
Game 40, Monday, January 21 versus Indiana Pacers- Grizzlies fall to the Pacers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Record 23-17).
Game 41, Wednesday, January 23 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Grizzlies get an impressive home win over Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and the Lakers (Record 24-17).
Game 42, Friday, January 25 versus Brooklyn Nets- Grizzlies fall to Deron Williams and the Nets (Record 24-18).
Game 43, Sunday, January 27 versus New Orleans Hornets- Grizzlies close a 2-2 homestand with a victory over the Hornets (Record 25-18).
Game 44, Monday, January 28 at Philadelphia 76ers- Grizzlies get a road win over the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center (Record 26-18).
Game 45, Thursday, January 31 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Grizzlies close January with a loss to the Thunder (Record 26-19).
Game 46, Friday, February 1 versus Washington Wizards- Grizzlies open February with a home win over the Wizards (Record 27-19).
Game 47, Tuesday, February 5 versus Phoenix Suns- Grizzlies close a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Suns (Record 28-19).
Game 48, Wednesday, February 6 at Atlanta Hawks- Grizzlies drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Warriors (Record 28-20).
Game 49, Friday, February 8 versus Golden State Warriors- Grizzlies defeat the Warriors at the FedExForum for the eighth consecutive time (Record 29-20).
Game 50, Sunday, February 10 versus Minnesota Timberwolves- Grizzlies fall to Kevin Love and the Timberwolves (Record 29-21).
Game 51, Tuesday, February 12 versus Sacramento Kings- Grizzlies close a 2-1 homestand with a victory over the Kings (Record 30-21).
Game 52, Tuesday, February 19 at Detroit Pistons- Grizzlies open the second half of the season with a road win over the Pistons (Record 31-21).
Game 53, Wednesday, February 20 at Toronto Raptors- Grizzlies visit Toronto and drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Raptors (Record 31-22).
Game 54, Friday, February 22 versus Orlando Magic- Grizzlies get a home win over the Magic (Record 32-22).
Game 55, Sunday, February 24 at Brooklyn Nets- Grizzlies fall to the Nets at the Barclays Center (Record 32-23).
Game 56, Wednesday, February 27 versus Dallas Mavericks- Grizzlies earn their 23rd home win of the season with a victory over the Mavericks (Record 33-23).
Game 57, Friday, March 1 at Miami Heat- Grizzlies fall to the Heat at the AmericanAirlines Arena (Record 33-24).
Game 58, Sunday, March 3 at Orlando Magic- Grizzlies get a road win over the Magic (Record 34-24).
Game 59, Wednesday, March 6 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Grizzlies fall to the visiting Trail Blazers (Record 34-25).
Game 60, Friday, March 8 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Grizzlies defeat the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena (Record 35-25).
Game 61, Saturday, March 9 versus New Orleans Hornets- Grizzlies play for the third time in four nights and drop a home game to Anthony Davis and the Hornets (Record 35-26).
Game 62, Tuesday, March 12 at Portland Trail Blazers- Grizzlies open a four-game road trip with a victory over the Trail Blazers (Record 36-26).
Game 63, Wednesday, March 13 at Los Angeles Clippers- Grizzlies drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Clippers (Record 36-27).
Game 64, Friday, March 15 at Denver Nuggets- Grizzlies visit the Mile High City and fall to the Nuggets (Record 36-28).
Game 65, Saturday, March 16 at Utah Jazz- Grizzlies play their fourth road game in five nights and lose to the Jazz (Record 36-29).
Game 66, Monday, March 18 versus Minnesota Timberwolves- Grizzlies open a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Timberwolves (Record 37-29).
Game 67, Wednesday, March 20 versus Oklahoma City Thunder- Grizzlies defeat the Thunder and win the season series 2-1 (Record 38-29).
Game 68, Friday, March 22 at New Orleans Hornets- Grizzlies fall to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena (Record 38-30).
Game 69, Saturday, March 23 versus Boston Celtics- Grizzlies get an impressive home win over the Celtics (Record 39-30).
Game 70, Monday, March 25 at Washington Wizards- Grizzlies get their 40th win of the season by beating the Wizards at the Verizon Center (Record 40-30).
Game 71, Wednesday, March 27 at New York Knicks- Grizzlies drop a road game to Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks (Record 40-31).
Game 72, Friday, March 29 versus Houston Rockets- Grizzlies rebound with a victory over the Rockets (Record 41-31).
Game 73, Saturday, March 30 at Minnesota Timberwolves- Grizzlies successfully complete a back-to-back by defeating the Timberwolves (Record 42-31).
Game 74, Monday, April 1 versus San Antonio Spurs- Grizzlies get a home win over the visiting Spurs (Record 43-31).
Game 75, Wednesday, April 3 at Portland Trail Blazers- Grizzlies get a road win over the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden (Record 44-31).
Game 76, Friday, April 5 at Los Angeles Lakers- Grizzlies lose to the Lakers at the Staples Center (Record 44-32).
Game 77, Sunday, April 7 at Sacramento Kings- Grizzlies finish a disappointing 1-2 road trip with a loss to the Kings (Record 44-33).
Game 78, Tuesday, April 9 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Grizzlies get back on track with a victory over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Bobcats (Record 45-33).
Game 79, Friday, April 12 at Houston Rockets- Grizzlies defeat the Rockets at the Toyota Center (Record 46-33).
Game 80, Saturday, April 13 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Grizzlies get a home win over the Clippers (Record 47-33).
Game 81, Monday, April 15 at Dallas Mavericks- Grizzlies defeat the Mavericks in their final road game of the season (Record 48-33).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 17 versus Utah Jazz- Grizzlies drop their regular-season finale to the Jazz (Record 48-34).
Prediction: The Memphis Grizzlies, behind their solid frontcourt rotation, an improved and deeper backcourt and the steady play of Mike Conley, will win 40 or more games for the fourth consecutive season.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.
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