Last season, the Washington Wizards won 43 games and secured the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies won just 22 contests and had the second-worst record in the NBA.
Early on this season, though, the teams have reversed fortunes. Washington is now just 1-5 and the Grizzlies are 3-2 as they head into a matchup against each other today (8pm ET Tuesday).
The Wizards have a good amount of talent on their team, but the breakdown of talent at each position is not ideal and players just aren’t meshing. Memphis doesn’t have great talent, but it has a lot of experience and basketball IQ on its roster.
Will the Wizards shake out of their slump, or will the Grizzlies move to 3-0 on their home court? We will discuss some of the issues surrounding this game. Then this preview will make our picks from the trusted USA betting firms’ posted lines with our Washington Wizards vs Memphis Grizzlies predictions.
Will Washington’s Chemistry Issues Persist?
The Wizards have gotten off to a horrible start to the season. They haven’t played well together on either end of the floor. Star guard Bradley Beal even acknowledged over the weekend that the members of the team sometimes have their “own agendas” on the floor.
This is nothing new for Washington, which always seems to have some drama. However, the drama is really spilling over onto the floor this year. The Wizards rank 26th in defensive efficiency, and they haven’t ranked worse than 20th since the 2011-12 season. They also rank 26th in assists, which is a category they traditionally rank very high in. The ball movement just is not there for Washington.
Today’s game against Memphis is the final contest of a five-game road trip for the Wizards. Can they come together before game time to take advantage of the talent on their roster?
Can Wizards Stop Allowing Rebounds So Easily?
Chemistry has been a big problem for the Wizards. Arguably, though, the rebounding has been even worse. In all six Washington games, the squad has been outrebounded by at least 10 rebounds by its opponent.
This does make a bit of sense, since starting center Dwight Howard is still injured and Washington doesn’t really play any traditional big men more than 16 minutes per game. Forwards like Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Markieff Morris and Jeff Green all play a lot at the 4 and 5 positions, but they are all too perimeter-oriented and not big enough to dominate the glass.
Even despite this personnel disadvantage, Washington can do better than it has. The Grizzlies are also one of the weakest rebounding teams in the league, so that could help. The Wizards can’t afford to let teams keep pushing them around on the interior.
Can Memphis Keep Dominating Turnover Battle?
We have mostly discussed the incompetence of the Wizards so far. However, it is also worth discussing what Memphis is doing in its solid 3-2 start, specifically as it pertains to this matchup.
The Grizzlies’ biggest strength thus far has been winning the turnover battle. They turn the ball only 12 times per game while forcing opponents to cough it up 17.4 times per contest. This ball protection has helped Memphis control the tempo of the game. The Grizzlies are a team with a lot of slower veterans who would prefer not to get into a track meet with the Wizards and their smaller, speedier roster.
Memphis must make a concerted effort to protect the ball in this game, because it will help the team quite a bit with its offensive and defensive goals in this game.
Our Preview’s Washington Wizards vs. Memphis Grizzlies Betting Picks & Predictions
The Wizards should eventually start to play better, but they will be a bit weary at the end of a long road trip. Don’t be surprised if their chemistry issues are very evident tonight in Memphis. The Grizzlies should continue their winning ways at home. With those thoughts taken into account, here are the Washington Wizards vs. Memphis Grizzlies predictions for this preview:
- Memphis is a two-point favorite with every major sportsbook, and the Grizzlies are the right play here. Place your bet on the Grizzlies -2pts @ -110 with Bovada or Intertops.
- The Wizards could be too tired to set the faster pace that they would prefer, and Memphis will be just fine dictating a slower pace to this contest. Bet the under 217pts @ -115 with Bovada or BetOnline.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.