December 19, 2023, 4:24 pm
Memphis Grizzlies @ New Orleans Pelicans
Game Time: 7:30 pm ET
MEM +7 (-105), NOP -7 (-115)
Game Total 229
Ja Morant is back – This could not have come at a better time for Memphis. The Grizzlies have been through the ringer this season. Not only have they been without their superstar, Steven Adams is out for the year, we do not know when Brandon Clarke is going to be coming back, and Marcus Smart has been out for an extended time himself. They lost another guard in Derrick Rose as well. Recently they have been deploying guys like Jacob Gilyard and Vince Williams Jr. While both young guards have shown some nice things, the Grizzlies need Morant and Smart to hold down their backcourt if they are going to do anything. Memphis remains only 7.5 games back of the play-in spot so they can still make some noise this year. Managers will need to wait to see how Morant’s return affects the minutes of Williams Jr. and Gilyard. Especially against the tenth-ranked defense in New Orleans, both young guards should be on the bench/waiver wire for standard leagues until we see who gets the remaining minutes. While managers should start Morant, temper your expectations early. He is bound to see some initial rust. But long term he should be his regular All-Star self.
One star returns, another might be out – Zion Williamson has been added to the injury report with an illness. Naji Marshall is listed as probable. On December 13th the Pelicans played the Wizards without Zion and Marshall put up a solid 16-4-7 line with two steals and two triples. Trey Murphy III went off with a 27-6-4 line with six triples. This time if they go without Zion then those two get a boost in value. But they will be facing off a Grizzlies team that is just behind them at 11th in defensive rating, as opposed to the lowly Wizards. The Grizzlies defense is not so daunting that you should avoid playing them, especially Murphy.
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