Memphis Grizzlies: Western Conference Playoff picture could completely change

Memphis Grizzlies

Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

As of right now, the Memphis Grizzlies find themselves in the 8th spot in the Western Conference Playoffs. On Sunday night, the Grizzlies got a crucial win against a strong 76ers team to move up into this spot.

That said, the Grizzlies are not secure in the 8th position at all. In fact, after the Golden State Warriors suffered one of their worst losses in recent memory, the Grizzlies and Spurs have a pretty nice cushion between themselves and the 10 seed.

But there are no breaks in the NBA. The next few weeks leading up to Jaren Jackson Jr.’s return will decide the Grizzlies’ fate in 2021.

The Memphis Grizzlies are a few games away from both success and failure

The Western Conference actually has more secure seeding than the Eastern Conference this year. That said, both of these conferences are in a position to undergo dramatic changes before the end of the regular season of the NBA.

Because of a shortened season and some cancellations, NBA Playoff spots will not be automatically given to the top eight teams in each conference. Instead, the 7-10 seeds will face off in a tournament to determine the last two teams in the competition.

As a result, a Grizzlies team that would have been on the outside looking in during a normal year will be in the conversation this season. But as I’ve said — they cannot feel comfortable in a competitive year for the Western Conference.

If you look behind them, there are four teams within striking distance. The Warriors have underperformed, but could easily reclaim the 8th or 9th spot in the conference standings when Stephen Curry permanently returns.

But there’s no reason that Memphis should be looking at the teams breathing down their neck. In fact, this Grizzlies team could increase their chances at a playoff spot by moving up in the standings.

Much like the Grizzlies, the now 9th place San Antonio Spurs have struggled to find consistency. They’ve hit a skid lately, losing 6 of their last 10 games. Memphis could take advantage of a struggling team and give themselves a much better shot at making the playoffs.

If the Grizz were to finish in the 8th position in the Western Conference, this would give them two games to attempt to make the NBA Playoffs. If they finish in the 9th or 10th spot, they’d be in a single-game elimination situation.