The NBA is getting closer and closer to resuming and this means we are getting closer to see the Toronto Raptors finally play again.
So one of the NBA proposals includes a 16-team playoff race. This was reported by Brian Windhorst as one of the possibilities from the league. So the first seed would play the sixteenth seed, and the second seed would play the fifteenth seed and so forth. The third-seeded Toronto Raptors would play the fourteenth seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
NBA’s history with the 16-team playoff race
Before moving on with the matchup, let’s just talk about how this would affect the NBA. The contrast in strength has always been transparent between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Hence why the idea of re-seeding the playoff to a 1-16 format has always been a topic of conversation for analysts and reporters.
There are many reasons this would never actually get considered by the league and one of them is traveling. Imagine if a first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks had to travel all the way to California to face the sixteenth-seeded Sacramento kings. And the possibility of a long commute can happen for four straight playoff series if the perfect storm insists.
But in this particular scenario, there is no better situation to test it out. There would be no traveling except for the ride or walk from the hotel room to the basketball court.
How do the Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies match up
They never actually got the chance to face each other in the regular season, which is unfortunate. Any chance you get to see Ja Morant and the young bright Grizzlies play is something you take. Well, now we’ll get to see them in either a best of five or best of seven matchups in the playoffs.
The Grizzlies currently hold a sub-500 record of 32-33. What makes the Grizzlies such a unique team is their blend of young talent and veteran presence. It seems like they have set the precedent for how teams should be rebuilding.
They are led by their young talent in Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, Brandon Clarke, and by their veteran presence in Jae Crowder (before he got traded), Gorgui Dieng, and former Raptors, Jonas Valančiūnas.
But despite all of that, let’s remember the keyword when we mention the Grizzlies “Rebuilding”. Their offensive rating is ranked 20th in the league and their defensive rating is 15th. Making up for a negative net rating of one.
Ja Morant is great but there is no doubt the Toronto Raptors can handle him with ease. Especially when 51 percent of Ja Morant’s shots come from under the rim. A situation they are all too familiar with when handling with Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokpounmpo.
Morant is a decent shooter from range, but it is based on rather a small sample size. There’s a reason he has so little shots taken as a guard because he plays to his strengths. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the Toronto Raptors decided to let him shoot more and clog the paint.
They do have other threats in Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, and Jaren Jackson. But all of these guys are under the age of 25 and the lack of experience will hurt them. Defenses aren’t as forgiving as they are in the regular season, especially the Toronto Raptors who have the second-best defense in the whole league.
The Memphis Grizzlies are a fun and upcoming team to watch, but for the time being, their core is too young. This playoff series will be a valuable experience for the Grizzlies to learn from and in a few years, they will be a team to reckon with. But for the time being, they are just a fun young team to watch.
The Toronto Raptors should only drop one game max if they do play each other in the playoffs. We’ll just hope that the three-four months away don’t mess with the way they played too much.