The Grizzlies had the worst record in the NBA this year, which gives them the best chance of receiving the #1 draft pick in the lottery next month. Last week, when they lost to Sacramento, it guaranteed them the worst record of the year. At that point, they had three games left. Also at that point, I said that they would win those last three games. And as of just a few minutes ago, they did. Considering that this winning streak was only their second of the year, it may seem surprising to folks, but it's not. Because, y'see, the Grizz aren't as bad as their record shows. Lemme explain. With Gasol injured for the first two months of the season, all the other injuries, the firing of the coach, the replacement coach only being an interim coach, and issues with possible buyers and non-buyers of the team, they were losing a lot of games. When it became clear they were going to be one of the worst teams in the league, they made absolutely sure of it. In my opinion, they didn't try hard to win games, because they wanted the best chance at the #1 draft pick. But once they were guaranteed the worst record and the best chance at the #1 pick, they decided to show the rest of the league that they were just faking being that sucky all this time. And I predicted it before it even happened.
Why did the Grizz not try to win? Because last year they won games down the stretch and got screwed over for it. A flaw in the NBA's playoff system led Memphis to have to play a better team in the first round than they would have if they had lost games down the stretch in the regular season. (I talked about it in my April 23, 2006 column.) And, of course, they were promptly swept out of the first round of the playoffs four games to none. That flaw in the playoffs was fixed by the NBA after the playoffs were over with, but, of course, it was too late for the Grizzlies. So this year, instead of winning games that they possibly could have won down the strecth, the Grizzlies lost them instead. They learned their lesson last year. Because apparently in sports, sometimes you have to lose to win.
So I predict that the Grizzlies will be like the Spurs were a few years ago. The Spurs were a good team in the early 1990s, with David Robinson leading them, and then all of a sudden one season (the '96-'97 season), they had an awful year. Well, that year gave them the #1 draft pick, and they picked Tim Duncan with it. The Spurs would then go on to win three championships with Duncan, with possibly more to come. So since the Grizz have made the playoffs the past three years, and then this year dropped down to the worst record in the league, maybe they'll get the #1 pick and then shoot back up next year and win a championship one day soon! So if it happens, remember, you read it here first! And if it doesn't happen, well, I'll just blame it on Memphis suckin'.