That’s how close the Grizzlies were to making the playoffs last season.
Three points per game. The only team that didn’t make the playoffs last year that was closer were the Houston Rockets.
I’m not saying the Grizzlies need to score 3 more points a game either. I am saying that the Grizzlies need to net three additional points more a game. Any combination of increased Grizzlies points and decreased opponent points would do the trick.
Now I am sure some of the readers are wondering what the heck I am talking about right now. I don’t blame you either. My family asks me that all the time.
So let me explain. Last season the Grizzlies were outscored by their opponents at a clip of 1.5 ppg. Not surprisingly every team in the NBA that was outscored by their opponents failed to make the playoffs save one Eastern Conference team (Chicago who was outscored but made the playoffs in the East last season).
The Grizzlies were outscored by 124 points last season. The last playoff team in the West outscored their opponents by 120 points. 244 points divided by 82 games equals 2.9756 ppg so round it up and you get 3 points a game. Hence the comment the Grizzlies need to net an additional three points a game to make the playoffs.
Now some people will question how valid this rational is. After all, is the correlation between points differential and playoff opportunity that solid? Maybe last season was the exception not the norm. Not according to John Hollinger at ESPN.
Hollinger has determined that scoring margin is the single best determinator for predicting future team performance and has it heavily weighted in his Daily Power Rankings on ESPN.com. Right now the Grizzlies are second in the league in scoring differential at a +8.67 points per game.
Bu that’s for the pre-season. Can anyone take anything away from pre-season? Especially considering the sample size is so small?
Consider this. New Orleans