2023-24 NBA Picks By Corey Parson
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Memphis Grizzlies –
The Memphis Grizzlies didn’t have the season they were hoping for in 2023. For the first time in the Ja Morant era, the team failed to improve from the previous season. Morant will shoulder most of the blame, as his off-the-court issues proved to be a distraction. However, it’s important to note that he was dealing with a hand injury in the Grizzlies’ first-round loss to the Lakers. Memphis also had to cope with season-ending injuries to Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke, which played a significant role in their series loss. On a positive note, the departure of Dillion Brooks is seen as addition by subtraction. The Grizzlies made a solid addition to their team by trading for Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics. Smart is a perfect fit for the team and makes Memphis a true contender in the West. Their +1200 odds to win the West seem reasonable. Rumors suggest the Grizzlies are making a strong push for the Warriors’ Draymond Green, although it’s unlikely he will leave the Bay Area for Memphis.
Golden State Warriors –
At times during the 2022-2023 campaign, it seemed like the end of the Golden State Warriors dynasty was near. They appeared beaten when they were eliminated in the second round by the Lakers. After the series, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr emphasized the importance of re-signing Draymond Green, stating that they are not a championship team without him. This statement signaled the end of the Jordan Poole era in Golden State, as Poole and Green could not coexist on the team. Poole was subsequently traded to the Wizards for Chris Paul, although it’s uncertain if Paul will remain on the Warriors’ roster when the season starts. While Paul may not be a good fit for their scheme, Poole had to go. Green is expected to re-sign with Golden State, and the team will make another run at the NBA Finals. Currently, Bovada has the Warriors at +1000 to win it all next season.
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Boston Celtics –
So far, I’m not impressed with the Celtics’ offseason. The loss of Marcus Smart, a key player for team chemistry, will be a significant blow. The addition of Kristaps Porzingis is also questionable. Although Porzingis is coming off his best season, it was with a Wizards team that had no expectations. Porzingis tends to struggle under pressure when playing for a contending team. The Celtics will need to do more if they plan on returning to the Finals next season. The core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown remains elite, but they will require additional support, and Porzingis may not be the answer. Despite being the current favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals next season, I don’t believe that will be the case based on the current offseason developments.
Phoenix Suns –
The Suns are not having a great offseason. The addition of Bradley Beal made headlines, but it’s unlikely to have a significant impact on the court. Beal, who is on the downside of his career, earns a hefty salary despite his declining production. In the past two seasons, Beal played in a combined total of 90 games, and his points per game average dropped by 8 points from the 2020-2021 season. The Wizards even ran their offense through Kyle Kuzma at times, despite Beal’s presence. Beal is a big name with a bad contract. The Suns have fallen into the super team trap, but their roster is more like a collection of stars and scrubs rather than a true super team. With four players making over 30 million per season, the Suns may regret their super team approach. They will also likely regret firing former head coach Monty Williams, as it may lead to a lack of a winning culture under new ownership. Currently, they have +300 odds to win the West next season, but they still have a long way to go.