Save the best for last, right? In the last “opposing views,” let’s look at how the Memphis Grizzlies match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wow, the Cavaliers’ offseason was wild. For real, try to name a better reality show than the Cavaliers’ offseason. This tops ‘Keeping up with the Kardashian’s.” It’s way better than ‘Survivor.’ There was more drama than ‘The Bachelor.’ It may have surpassed the Lavar Ball circus.
Let’s recap it real quick:
After only winning one game in the Finals against the Warriors, they fired their GM. They sat out of the most loaded draft in the past decade. LeBron sent cryptic messages of his inevitable 2018 departure. They’re giving Derrick Rose a shot at redemption. Finally, second-fiddle Kyrie Irving demanded a trade and got one. Where did he go? Boston — the absolute biggest threat to King James’ throne. In return, they received superstar point guard Isaiah Thomas, two-way extraordinaire Jae Crowder, young big man Ante Zizic and the elusive 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick — a pick that could go in the top-5.
Oh, one more thing. THEY GOT JEFF GREEN!
It was a wild ride for sure, but this trade ensured that the Cavs could be fine if — when — LeBron leaves.
With both teams looking fresh, how should the Memphis Grizzlies do against the Cavs? Will LeBron be too much for the Grizz to handle?
PG – Isaiah Thomas
SG – JR Smith
SF – LeBron James
PF – Kevin Love
C – Tristan Thompson
Advantages for the Memphis Grizzlies
The continuity between Marc Gasol and Mike Conley is important in this matchup. Through the offseason circus, the chemistry between LeBron and the Cavs is strained. This trade will surely help the Cavaliers’ depth, but it can be a disaster. Passive Kevin Love can show up. Isaiah Thomas’ hip could be a big issue. Tristan Thompson’s ‘Kardashian Curse’ could continue this season. More importantly, the LeBron free agent saga could be a factor.
If the Cavs are in a cold spell when they play the Grizzlies, Memphis must capitalize.
- JaMychal Green’s defense
Let’s be real: there’s no stopping LeBron. In fact, the Memphis Grizzlies don’t have a perimeter stopper on King James. However, JaMychal Green is a major factor for the Grizz, and his defense could pay off against Kevin Love.
Green experienced success against Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis last season. If he can sustain his sub-elite defense, it’ll play a big role in locking down the Cavaliers’ secret weapon: Aggressive Kevin Love.
- The other team has Jeff Green
Random stats show that the team with Jeff Green always has a higher chance of losing. Should I show evidence? Yeah that’s right. I’ll move on.
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Advantages for the Cavs
There’s no explanation. The Memphis Grizzlies have no one that can stop LeBron. Even if they did, stopping LeBron James is a tall order.
The Cavaliers are one of the most dangerous 3-point shooting teams in the league. JR Smith, Kyle Korver and Kevin Love can get hot in a hurry, but adding Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder makes their 3-point shooting even more deadly.
The Cavaliers were second in the league last season in 3-point percentage (38.4 percent), 3-point makes per game (13) and attempts (33.9).
If they get hot from deep, good luck winning — or staying close.
The Cavaliers already have one of the deeper teams in the league. After this offseason, the Cavs have a deadly lineup off the bench. Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder and Channing Frye is a nice 5-man unit to have off the bench.
The Grizzlies are way more thin, and they’ll need to win the bench matchup to give the team an edge.
More from Beale Street Bears
The Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers are in sticky situations. A slip in the West could force the Grizzlies into a rebuild — which would mean a Gasol or Conley trade.
On the other end, if the Cleveland chaos continues, LeBron could be out the door as the Cavs look forward to a new chapter. Losing the King would be a big blow, but Isaiah Thomas — assuming he re-signs — and the Brooklyn pick could help accelerate the rebuild.
This season will definitely be fascinating for both teams.