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Evaluating the Memphis Grizzlies at the All-Star Break

We examine the Grizzlies going into the All-Star Break, looking at some futures betting lines, injuries and one player to watch in fantasy basketball.

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins talks with guard Ja Morant during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at FedExForum. Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.

Where do the Memphis Grizzlies stand at the All-Star Break?

Record: 28-26
Playoff Chances: 39.9%
Championship Odds: +20000
Division Odds: +10000
Conference Championship winner: +10000
Rookie of the Year Odds: Ja Morant -560

This is a position nobody really thought the Grizzlies would be in at the break. They’re holding down the No. 8 seed in the West by 4.0 games over the Portland Trail Blazers. The infusion of youth has finally paid off the Memphis, thanks largely to rookie PG Ja Morant, who — as you can see — is running away with Rookie of the Year.

Over the past 15 games heading into the break, the Grizzlies are tied for 3rd overall in the NBA with a 11-4 record. Memphis has been one of the best teams in the entire League lately. Let that sink in. Helping out Morant is fellow youngster Jaren Jackson Jr., along with Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke. Veterans Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson and Jae Crowder (before the trade to Miami) have also played key roles in the success of the Grizz.

Will all of this culminate in a playoff run? I think it’s still too soon for this group to make any noise. Still, it’s a huge step on the road to becoming a contender in the West. Just getting into the postseason would be an achievement and a half for Memphis.

Prediction: Early first-round exit.

Key Injuries for Memphis Grizzlies

Grayson Allen, SG/SF (hip) — DTD
Justise Winslow, PG/SF (back) — out indefinitely

The Grizzlies enter the break with a solid bill of health. Winslow, who was acquired from the Heat in the Andre Iguodala trade, had been sidelined for Miami due to back issues. It’s unclear when Winslow will make his Memphis debut. When Winslow is back, he’ll add another versatile playmaker to the mix, somebody who can play guard and forward. Winslow is more of a long-term play given he’s under contract for at least next season — plus a team option in 2021-22.

Grayson Allen hasn’t played since Jan. 24 due to hip problems, though he has been a solid bench scorer when healthy. Allen isn’t a key piece of the puzzle, but also doesn’t negatively affect the roster. We’ve seen nagging injuries for guys like Morant, Valanciunas, Clarke and JJJ, but as long as those four remain healthy, the Grizzlies should stay on the rise to finish out the season.

Fantasy basketball spotlight: Ja Morant

On the surface, Morant has been an above-average point guard for the Grizzlies. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 7.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. That’s equated out to 33.1 fantasy points per game this season in 48 games. Not bad. Morant has been more exciting to watch than to roll out in fantasy basketball on most nights. His player impact estimate is only 13.4, which isn’t very high. His assist to turnover ratio is 2.21 — again, not an incredible rate. A true shooting percentage of 56.8% is also not incredible. It’s nothing against Morant, but overall he could be more efficient on offense and as a passer. Of course, these are criticisms normally reserved for veteran players, not rookies. What I’m getting at is we could see Morant hit somewhat of a wall down the stretch and maybe his fantasy value has peaked a bit.