The Memphis Grizzlies will clash with the New York Knicks for the first time this NBA season. The Knicks, who have a 24-27 record, are 11th in the Eastern Conference. With the competition so tough in their conference, Tom Thibodeau's team needs to improve drastically if they wish to rank in the top six seeds.
New York's poor offense, ranked 23rd in the league, has left them helpless against teams with formidable defense. At the same time, their defense isn't remarkable either. With a defensive rating of 109.5, the Knicks are only 11th in the league. Julius Randle, the 2020-21 MIP, has faced heavy criticism for his underwhelming performances.
The Knicks' opponents for Wednesday, Grizzlies, are not a team to be trifled with without a contingency plan. They are among the top ten teams in the league in both defense (seventh of 30) and offense (ninth of 30). Taylor Jenkins' team has a 35-18 season record, and stand third in the Western Conference standings.
The Knicks will have their task cut out facing a team that has a better record than even the top-seeded team in their conference. Nevertheless, a win will be crucial to improving their morale. Meanwhile, Memphis will look to bag another win.
Memphis Grizzlies Injury Report
Dillion Brooks, when healthy, is a reliable attacker and one of Memphis' offensive pillars. However, he is scheduled to miss his 13th game in a row. He picked up a sprained ankle in the clash against the LA Clippers.
Moreover, the most dominant paint player in the Grizzlies squad, Steven Adams, has also been marked as questionable.
New York Knicks Injury Report
Derrick Rose has missed 22 games in a row due to an ankle surgery. He is scheduled to be sidelined for this game as well. While speaking to Mark Berman of the New York Post, Rose hinted at his expected return date.
“A little bit after All-Star. Taking my time still. It sucks right now. I had to get my mind right for this grind. I’ve been here numerous times.’’
Memphis Grizzlies vs New York Knicks: Predicted Lineups
Speaking of threats, no other player in Jenkins' squad is as significant a threat as Ja Morant to the Knicks. He is currently averaging 26.4 points, 6.8 assists and six rebounds. Meanwhile, Ziaire Williams, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke should start up front.
New York Knicks
The Knicks could start veterans Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier in the backcourt. Kemba and Fournier are the two best three-point shooters in the team, and could be crucial in the team's offensive lineup.
Meanwhile, New York's frontcourt could feature Julius Randle alongside RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.
Memphis Grizzlies vs New York Knicks: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Ja Morant | Shooting Guard - Desmond Bane | Small Forward - Ziaire Williams | Power Forward - Jaren Jackson Jr. | Center - Brandon Clarke
New York Knicks
Point Guard - Kemba Walker | Shooting Guard - Evan Fournier | Small Forward - RJ Barrett | Power Forward - Julius Randle | Center - Mitchell Robinson.