The Memphis Grizzlies received some bad news on Tuesday. Their starting center, Steven Adams, will be out for 3-5 weeks with a PCL sprain (a knee injury). Reportedly, “Adams was hurt Sunday in the 112-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns and then sat out Memphis’ loss a night later to the Sacramento Kings” (ESPN/Jan. 24th, 2023).
This is an injury that could be overstated. Memphis might be able to pull through this one without much damage done. The Grizzlies still look like prohibitive favorites to win their division.
Memphis remains comfortable in the Southwest Division
The Memphis Grizzlies have lost three straight, however, the injury to Adams isn’t likely to do much to make the Southwest Division more competitive. Heading into Wednesday, the Grizzlies have a 5.5-game lead over the second-place New Orleans Pelicans.
New Orleans doesn’t appear to be heading toward a run at the divisional title. They have their own injured players, notably Zion Williamson. The Pelicans have lost five straight and don’t look anywhere near competing. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks, who lost on Tuesday to Washington, are even further back than New Orleans. It would take a shocking turnaround for Memphis to face a challenge for the divisional title.
Brandon Clarke could fill in as a starter
Brandon Clarke is a promising prospect to fill in as a starter with Adams out. In fact, the Grizzlies would not be losing much in terms of their starting lineup.
Clarke is not far behind Adams in terms of on-court performance at this point in the two players’ respective careers. Clarke could go into the power forward position and Jaren Jackson Jr. could move into the center position.
But the Steven Adams injury means that the Grizzlies will lose some depth among the low block. Santi Aldama, who is 6’11”, should see an uptick in minutes. Also, Xavier Tillman, who is just 6’8″, should see more minutes as well.
The Grizzlies will be smaller with the injury. They were a team without a seven-footer to begin with. They still have two 6’11” centers/PFs but there could be some segments in games where they are just too short on defense. Don’t be surprised if the Grizzlies address this injury with a trade. They have to be very worried about the length of the injury and the chances that Adams isn’t at his best when he returns.
About a week ago, the Grizzlies were an OVER recommendation of ours for win-total betting. This is a team that bettors will have to take a pass on for the time being.