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NBA Preview: 25th October

IT’S been a strong start to the NBA season for PlayBook followers and we’ll look to keep that rolling today.

Let’s take a look at today’s marquee match up that presents some good value for punters.

Memphis Grizzlies @ LA Lakers

The Grizzlies play their second of a back-to-back in LA as they take on a slumping Lakers team at the Staples Center.

Memphis has been impressive to start the season as they look to take another step forward under the tutelage of Taylor Jenkins. Meanwhile, things couldn’t have started any worse for LA’s “Big 3” who have yet to show any signs that they’re genuinely capable of competing for a championship this season.

The Lakers lack of effort on defence, poor ball movement and minimal floor spacing have been some of the red flags that have been raised in the early goings on the season. That said, the fact they’ve been without some rotation pieces in the shape of Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker and Wayne Ellington does need to be notes as all will undoubtedly have their roles within this top-heavy team.

The drop off in talent behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis is notable and that’s something that could again be exploited by a Memphis team that is deep with talent across the board.

Trying to find a balance in rotations right now is a huge problem for Frank Vogel and the fact they need to rely on so many net-negative lineups is putting the team in situations that their superstar duo can’t overcome on their own.

Despite being a small sample size to work with there are already signs as to how the Grizzlies can exploit the shortcoming on defence from LA.

AD refusing to play the centre is causing some real issues and despite having one of the best defenders in the league paired with another rim protector in Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan the team is still allowing teams to shoot at almost 70% from inside the paint. That’s largely due to poor offensive sets that are allowing teams to push the pace and get easy looks at the basket, which is not what you want to be doing against a young Grizzlies team led by Ja Morant on the fast break.

LA’s slow defensive rotations are also seeing them give up a ton of corner three’s and that’s again something that Memphis can look to exploit with their ball movement and weak side kick outs.

While a lot was made of the Steven Adams trade for Memphis – largely because of what they gave up in Jonas Valanciunas – he has proven to be the perfect complementary piece to Morant and this young core. His selfless off-ball play; setting hard screens, rolling to the basket, crashing the offensive boards and providing additional playmaking have all been on display in the opening couple games to start the season.

If the Kiwi can continue to aggressively take advantage of poor recognition by LA on switches and late rotations he can certainly play a part in exploiting LA inside and outside with his distributions to corner shooters.

My numbers on this game show it closer to even money and even when adjusting for a tough schedule spot for Memphis I can’t get to this many points. Grab the road team with the start here as they look to pile on the misery for the Lakers.

Our best bet: Memphis Grizzlies +5.0


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