Toronto Raptors: Who from the Southwest Division can compete with the Raptors?

SAN ANTONIO,TX - OCTOBER 23: LaMarcus Aldridge
SAN ANTONIO,TX - OCTOBER 23: LaMarcus Aldridge /
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TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 4: Delon Wright versus Marc Gasol
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 4: Delon Wright versus Marc Gasol /


Last season actual: 22 – 60

This season forecast: 36 – 46

Welcome: Jaren Jackson Jr., Jevon CarterOmri Casspi, Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, and Shelvin Mack

Farewell: Tyreke Evans, James Ennis, Ben McLemore, and Deyonta Davis

The Grizzlies are stuck in purgatory. This team is transitioning from a playoff contender to a full-blown rebuild. On one hand, they are coming off their worst season in a decade. On the other, franchise player Mike Conley is returning from injury.

Defensive anchor Marc Gasol just turned 33 and struggled to shoot the ball (career-worst 42 percent from the field) with Conley’s absence. He spent the bulk of last season being disgruntled as the Grizzlies unashamedly tanked and rested him during critical moments of the game.

With Conley’s return, the Grizzlies will immediately get better. They were 7-5 when he played and ranked in the upper third of the league in net rating. But after he injured his Achilles, the season went downhill fast.

Memphis reshuffled its roster letting veteran guard Tyreke Evans walk. In his place, the Grizzlies signed 24-year-old Kyle Anderson to a four-year deal.

Joining Anderson will be draft picks Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jevon Carter.

Jackson impressed in the Summer League with his long-range shooting and defensive prowess. He is the rare big man with “3-and-D” potential.

Carter will challenge veteran signee Shelvin Mack for the backup point guard spot.

With these additions, Memphis will be much better than their 22-win season.

But, they didn’t improve enough, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is unproven. Depending on the health of their star players and the productivity of their rookies, the Grizzlies should win around 32 to 37 games.