We’ve reached the first team that could win a ring this year without completely shocking the people: the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rest guaranteed a championship for the Grizzlies, who barely made it to the postseason last season with a record of 50-32 (the 17th reminder that the West is loaded), would be a surprise. Zach Randolph is 33, and Mike Miller, a key floor-spacing shot in last year’s underwhelming crime, followed LeBron James into the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Scoring, as always, will be an issue for the Grizz.
But this team will defend like mad, especially with some slimmed-down Marc Gasol patrolling the middle ahead of the 2015 free agency. Toss in Tony Allen, the NBA’s scariest perimeter stopper, and you have got the key components to get a league-best defense.
Vince Carter remains a precious wing defender who can run a pick-and-roll and hit the three, and Mike Conley is a playoff-tested fighter who just keeps getting better.
And remember, we’ve noticed this Grizzlies core knock off the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in playoff show over the previous four decades. Nobody scares Memphis from the postseason.
When the Grizzlies can stay healthy and Gasol puts up a big year, they are a dark-horse contender.

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