The Memphis Grizzlies are gearing up for their first game of the 2023-24 regular season with a Wednesday home tilt against the New Orleans Pelicans. Though tabbed as a legitimate championship contender Taylor Jenkins’ club is heading into the year with myriad question marks.
From the suspension of focal point stars to the troubling health statuses of key players and contributors, the Grizzlies will be facing an uphill battle to start off their title-hopeful campaign, with their first test coming against the Pelicans.
Last season, these two clubs squared off on four separate occasions and split the series at two games apiece.
This year, they are slated to partake in the same number of bouts, with tonight serving as the first.
Grizzlies predictions for season opener against New Orleans Pelicans
Though the Grizzlies are far from full strength, there is still hope that they can put forth a quality and highly competitive performance against their conference foe.
With just hours to go between now and tip-off, we at BSB have compiled a list of a few predictions for the season opener.
3. Ziaire Williams will get the go at starting small forward
Throughout training camp and the preseason, it has seemingly been a two-man battle for Memphis’ starting small forward position, with David Roddy and Ziaire Williams revolving in and out of the first five lineup.
Though both have managed to put forth valiant efforts in these opportunities and have proven themselves capable of handling such a responsibility, with the news that starting big man Steven Adams will be shelved for the season as he undergoes knee surgery and, in turn, the expectation that the 6-foot-7 Xavier Tillman will now be utilized as his replacement at the five it’s evident that Jenkins’ starting lineup could use for more help in the size department.
With this, one should expect that Williams will ultimately be the choice to start at the three.
Measuring in at 6-foot-9, the third-year pro is the third-tallest option of those expected to be active for the Grizzlies, behind only Jaren Jackson Jr. and rookie GG Jackson.
On top of this, with his play in the preseason, he showcased some serious improvements in his game on both ends of the floor and wound up posting solid averages of 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting a highly efficient 52.5 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from deep.
Had it not been for Adams’ injury, perhaps Roddy would have had a better shot of claiming the primary small forward slot. That said, with their current status of being vertically challenged, one should expect Williams to get the nod…at least for opening night.