Fans of the Boston Celtics have been hearing about the protected first-round pick the team owns from the Memphis Grizzlies for years. Once believed to be one of the most valuable assets in the NBA, the Grizzlies have bounced back from a 22-60 season in 2018-19 by jumping out to a 28-26 start this season.
Not only has Memphis' shockingly impressive start torpedoed the value of the pick, it currently has the Grizzlies positioned to make the playoffs, according to odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.
At +165, Memphis has the best odds of any Western Conference team that's legitimately in contention for the No. 8 seed.
Ja Morant and the upstart Grizzlies deserve a ton of praise for making it this far, but Memphis still has a long way to go.
The Grizzlies will have to contend with the New Orleans Pelicans (+250), Portland Trail Blazers (+200) and San Antonio Spurs (+500) for that final spot. While Memphis currently owns the No. 8 seed, the Grizzlies only have a 4.5 game lead on the Blazers, and even the No. 11 seed Pelicans are just 5.5 games behind.
That might seem like a lot of ground to make up with only about 30 games remaining, but the Grizzlies have the NBA's toughest remaining strength of schedule (.554), while the Pelicans have the league's easiest remaining schedule (.449).
To make matters worse, both Portland and San Antonio rank in the top-12 easiest remaining schedules, at .467 (No. 6) and .488 (No. 11), respectively.
Whether or not Memphis can ultimately cling on to its lead and make the NBA Playoffs, it's impossible not to enjoy watching this team turn it around so quickly. Unless you're a member of Boston's front office, of course.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.