The Grizzlies can easily take a top-four spot in the Western Conference. The Southwest Division is stacked, but aside from the San Antonio Spurs, no team in the division has the depth or the tenacious lineup that Memphis has.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder are locked in for the top two seeds. Both teams would have to have two of their star players go down with injuries to fall out of those spots.
After the Grizzlies, Spurs, Lakers and Thunder, it’s hard to tell if any other team is capable of taking a top-four spot. The Clippers have a solid collection of talent, led by two supreme superstars in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. However, hardly anyone can say with certainty that the Clips can stay on the same wavelength as Vinny Del Negro for a full season.
The Nuggets could be on the rise with the addition of Andre Iguodala to a young, promising group. Iguodala, whose superb defense, sound passing and mid-level scoring make him a good glue guy for a middling team, can help take a team with fresh talent to the next phase.
He can be a good leader for JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried.
However, this group might not be quite ready to overtake an established Memphis crew.
Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap lead an impressive Utah Jazz team that can score the lights out any night of the week. However, Jefferson and Derrick Favors are the only ones who play decent defense.
The conference is filled with good teams, but the Grizzlies stand in the small group of teams that look primed for a home-court playoff spot.