Pelicans vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Which team should we expect to bounce back?
Pelicans Much Improved, But Is it All McCollum?
The Pelicans have been better than their 5-5 record since they acquired CJ McCollum. They feel like a more dangerous team and he’s an excellent offensive weapon.
Since the trade, the Pelicans have the fifth-best Point Differential (+7.7) and are scoring 118.8 points per 100 while allowing just 111.1. This has taken a step up and over the last two weeks, as their defense is allowing just 101.3 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.
This is a significant uptick from their numbers prior to the trade when they had a -4.1 point differential and a bottom-ranked offense and defense. So is McCollum the only difference or what is the deal with this team?
Well, surprisingly enough since McCollum’s arrival he has a -8.7 point differential per 100 possessions but the team overall is exponentially better. But, if we look at his box scores this is basically from just a two-game sample: McCollum’s first game with the team and then last game’s wild overtime loss to the Nuggets.
However, if we sort those out we can see that in the other eighth games, the Pelicans have a Net Rating of 12.9, per NBA.com. It’s as if his veteran presence, mindset, and elite scoring and facilitating ability has unlocked this young Pelicans roster.
I think this is relatively sustainable. Although the Pelicans’ Actual vs Expected eFG% would indicate that their shooting should regress, by adding McCollum, they’ve added an elite shotmaker who makes the “bad shots.” Additionally, the shot profile that they allow is sustainable overall, because they’ve defended the 3-point line well and their opponents have struggled to attack the rim due to the Pelicans’ interior presence.
Grizzlies Struggling in Halfcourt
The Grizzlies now sit second in the West but during this rise, they promptly lost to the Rockets on Sunday night. That game seemed like a fluke, but it definitely killed some of their momentum.
The Grizzlies have been excellent this season. They have the sixth-best Adjusted Net Rating and top 10 Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings. They have dominated their competition through consistent effort and a relentless transition game. They have the league’s best transition offense and they get out in transition at the highest frequency in the league. The Grizzlies know what they do best.
One issue for Memphis is their halfcourt offense is actually bad. While Ja Morant and Desmond Bane can bail you out in a pinch, Memphis only scores 92.5 points per 100 halfcourt plays. This is the 23rd-ranked halfcourt offense in the NBA. If they can be slowed down, then there’s an opportunity to stifle this elite offensive attack.
When these teams last met on Feb. 15, Ja Morant was unavailable but the Grizzlies still emerged victorious 121-109. However, this contest should be different.
The Pelicans are actually one of the best teams at slowing down their opponents on defense. On the season, their average Defensive Possession Length is 14.8 seconds, the seventh-longest in the league. Additionally, they allow just 116.3 points per 100 possession plays, second-best in the NBA to the Milwaukee Bucks. And the Pelicans’ defense has only improved of late.
While Ja Morant will obviously give the Grizzlies a boost, looking at these two teams’ recent form, I think there’s value on the road underdog. The Pelicans’ offense can score with the Grizzlies, and due to their ability to limit transition opportunities, the Pelicans can control the pace of this game. I’ll grab the points with the Pelicans.
Pick: Pelicans +5.5