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Grizzlies Odds to Make Playoffs Fade After Jaren Jackson Jr. Suffers Season Ending Meniscus Tear

Jaren Jackson Jr
The Memphis Grizzlies' playoff hopes have taken a major hit now that Jaren Jackson Jr is out for the year after suffering a meniscus injury in his left knee. Photo from @NBAonTNT (Twitter)
  • Jaren Jackson Jr’s season-ending injury puts major dent in Grizzlies playoff hopes 
  • Memphis currently in eighth place in the West – can they even hang on to that space?
  • Read below for our own odds and handicapping of the race for the #8 seed in the Western Conference

It’s bad enough that the Memphis Grizzlies – current holders of the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference – have yet to win a game since entering the NBA bubble, with no less than five teams jockeying to at least get to ninth to force a play-in for the last spot.

Now, the Grizz are going to have to do it without their second most indispensable player in big man Jaren Jackson Jr.

Not surprisingly, oddsmakers have gone into hibernation on the Grizzlies odds to make the playoffs, a team that entered the restart as the betting favorite to clinch the final playoff spot in the West at -140.

We’ve generated our own odds, and while you can’t bet on these anywhere – the new race for the eighth seed in the West is wide open.

Western Conference Odds to Make 2020 NBA Playoffs

Team SBD’s Odds to Make Playoffs
Portland Trail Blazers 3/1
San Antonio Spurs 3/1
New Orleans Pelicans 3/1
Memphis Grizzlies 4/1
Phoenix Suns 24/1
Sacramento Kings 99/1

Odds generated August 5th

Can the team rally around their fallen star and hold steady against all challenges, or is there a specific team that’s shown enough to earn your wager of confidence? Let’s explore the only really important race going on in the bubble.

Grizzlies Crumbling Early On in Orlando

The first and most important thing the Grizzlies need to do is right the ship. With just five games to go in their regular season, they hold a slim 1.5 game lead over the Trail Blazers, with the Spurs (2), Pelicans (2.5) and Suns (3) all within striking distance.

If their current three-game losing streak continues, not only could Memphis fall from eighth to ninth – losing the advantage of having to just win one game to secure a berth against the ninth seed having to win two straight – it’s entirely possible they could slide right past the play-in scenario to 10th.

It’s going to take a herculean effort, as the schedule coming home is brutal. They have Utah next, and follow that up with a date with the Thunder. They close against the top three seeds in the East, having to deal with the Raptors, Celtics and Bucks. There are no easy outs.

Which makes the JJJ loss even more painful. The second-year big man was arguably the best thing Memphis had going in the bubble. Jackson Jr bumped his scoring average up to 25.3 points per game since the restart. He ends his year averaging 17.4 points per game while shooting better than 40% from deep.

The perfect running mate for Ja Morant, Jackson Jr is one of the new breed of NBA big men that can stretch a defense with his shooting on one end, while being able to defend switches on the perimeter or block shots in the paint on the other.

Blazers Mean Business, Spurs in the Mix

Decimated by injuries through most of the year, Portland has arrived on campus and no one wants to deal with them. Center Jusuf Nurkic has returned from a long injury layoff and looks like an all-star. He’s a force on offense as a facilitator and post scorer, while defensively giving the team a shot blocking presence that’s been lacking all year.

With the deadly backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the equally refined scoring and leadership of Carmelo Anthony and the return of mobile big Zach Collins, they can mix it up with anyone in the NBA.

How do you overcome the seventh-worst points allowed defense in the bubble? For Portland, it’s a top-five scoring unit that is hitting the three at a 42.7% clip (fourth).

And in a Walking Dead  zombie kind of way, you just can’t count the Spurs out from making their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance until, well, they don’t make it.

Even with LaMarcus Aldridge done for the year with a shoulder injury, Gregg Popovich has pieced together a unit led by veterans DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, while hoping Lonnie Walker, Derrick White and Dejounte Murray keep learning and chipping in. They’ve been carried by hot three-point shooting so far, tied for second-best in the bubble at 43.8%.

Who Claims the Final Spot?

Ja Morant is the runaway Rookie of the Year, and Brandon Clarke is an equally impressive frosh who can step in and assume a larger role in JJJ’s absence. But this is a team that’s 21st in offensive rating and 15th in defensive rating with their full lineup intact.

It was a good run, but the Grizzlies fade out. Look for the Blazers to snatch that final spot, setting up a star-studded opening round playoff series with the Lakers.

The pick: Blazers (3/1)

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