Grizzlies 2021-22 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant, left, is congratulated by Dillon Brooks after scoring against the Golden State Warriors during overtime in an NBA basketball Western Conference play-in game in San Francisco, Friday, May 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies' biggest move of the 2021 offseason likely made them worse this season.

Memphis traded Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 17 pick in this year's NBA draft to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams and the No. 10 selection. The Grizzlies then drafted Ziaire Williams with that pick.

All told, the Grizzlies picked up Adams' $17.9 million salary in 2022-23 and Bledsoe's contract ($18.1 million this season, $3.9 million guaranteed next) to move up seven spots in the draft. It doesn't seem to be a particularly strong trade, but Williams' development will determine a lot of how we view the deal years from now.

The Grizz were also quiet in free agency, essentially running things back aside from the aforementioned deal. 

While there's something to be said for natural progression, it's fair to wonder if Memphis takes a bit of a  step back this season. Here's a look at what to expect from the Grizzlies in 2021-22.


2021-22 Grizzlies Schedule Details

Season opener: Wed., Oct. 20 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 8 p.m. ET

Championship Odds: +8500 (via FanDuel)

Full Schedule: NBA.com              

Memphis Grizzlies @memgrizz

The Verzuz you've all been waiting for. 72 hour single game flash sale starts at 3pm ➡️ https://t.co/rpLIJ0ZuHw https://t.co/cK9YxnEX3l


Top Matchups

New Orleans Pelicans (First game: Nov. 13)

The aforementioned trade adds a wrinkle to a matchup that is always interesting. The Zion Williamson-Ja Morant comparisons will probably follow them throughout their respective careers. After Morant pulled ahead of Williamson during their rookie campaigns, Zion was dominant to overtake the "lead" in development after Year 2.

This should be an even more telling season for both players. They're no longer the new kids in town; they're the faces of their respective franchises and carry expectations.

Williamson needs to make a playoff push in his third season or there could already be rumblings of his desire to head elsewhere. Morant needs to find a shooting touch from distance or he's at risk of his development stalling out at below-All-Star level.

These are still very young players, but there's a weight of expectation following them around every night.


Season Forecast

The Grizzlies got worse this offseason. There's no other way around it. They clearly didn't want to pay the premium for Valanciunas in free agency and decided this was the best short-term route to stay competitive and move up in the draft.

It's possible Williams develops into a player who makes the whole thing worth it, but I'm skeptical.

As it stands, the Grizzlies are no better than the team that barely squeaked into the playoffs last season. They're probably going to be in the play-in mix again, but that's it. There's no area where an obvious leap can take place to take them into the 4-5 conversation.

Memphis very quietly had one of the worst offseasons in the NBA. 


Record Prediction: 39-43


Must be 21+ and present in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, Colorado, or Tennessee. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. See sportsbook.fanduel.com for details.