Grizzlies vs. Lakers NBA Pick
The Memphis Grizzlies visit the Los Angeles Lakers in a potential playoff preview. Can the Grizzlies beat the NBA odds on the road?
Memphis Grizzlies (28-26) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (41-12)
Friday, February 21 at 10:30 PM ET, STAPLES Center
Grizzlies Can Make Noise in The Playoffs
The Grizzlies made a surprising trade deadline deal with the Heat and then added Gorgui Dieng from the Timberwolves to solidify their roster and fight to make the playoffs.
These were the full trade details:
Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder went to the Heat
Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson went to the Grizzlies
Waiters was waived and Johnson was traded to the Timberwolves for Gorgui Dieng. They also added forward Jordan Bell from the Rockets for forward Bruno Caboclo.
Winslow is currently out with a back injury and he still doesn’t know when he will make his Grizzlies debut. He was averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 32.0 minutes over just 11 games with Heat and adapting to Memphis will take him some time. The 23-year-old has lots of promise and to me this is a steal for the Grizzlies.
His new teammate Dillon Brooks loves Winslow’s addition. This is what he told the media after the Grizzlies beat the Mavericks 121-107 on February 5: “Now we have a player that we’re getting that actually wants to play with us and thinks we’re good.”
Dieng (plus-2.6 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) and Bell (plus-0.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) add depth and leadership to the frontcourt. Dieng spent his first seven years in the league with the Timberwolves, averaging 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 22.1 minutes over 498 games. Bell has playoff experience, he won an NBA Championship with the Warriors in 2018 and is an above average defender who can give them a lift at both sides of the court. These two players are perfect additions to a team looking to compete in the playoffs.
Lakers Have Rotation Questions
The Lakers may have the best record in the Western Conference but there are question marks with their rotation. They have an excellent team but LeBron James’ brilliant play has helped them win most of their games. James leads the league with 13.06 RPM Wins. This ESPN metric determines that James has contributed to an estimate of 13.06 wins for the Lakers. RPM Wins include the player’s Real Plus-Minus (RPM) and his number of possessions played. To put James’ importance in perspective, James Harden is second in the NBA in RPM Wins with 9.61, way behind LeBron. The Lakers are dominant with James on the court and they have a hard time when he rests.
Kyle Kuzma’s struggles as a sixth man have a lot to do with this. Kuzma (minus-2.0 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) simply disappears on offense at times. He is averaging career-lows of 12.6 points in 24.7 minutes over 44 games and he makes just 33.2 percent of his 3-point shots (12th in the NBA).
Kuzma’s defense has been below average. He ranks 12th on the Lakers with a minus-1.5 Defensive Box Plus/Minus and last with a minus-0.4 Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). This statistic measures Kuzma’s performance compared to an average player in the NBA.
Betting Trends and Prediction
The Memphis Grizzlies are:
5-0 ATS in their last five games playing on 0 days rest
20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall
5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
Ja Morant is leading an inspired Grizzlies team that now has a better bench than on November 23 when the Lakers barely beat them 109-108 in Memphis. Morant had 26 points, six assists, five steals and three rebounds in 33 minutes in that game. Who will stop him tonight? Rajon Rondo (minus-0.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus)?
Ed’s 2019-20 NBA picks record through Feb. 20: 1-1 ATS, 1-0 Moneylines, 6-1 Totals