Before the start of the 2009-2010 NBA season, an ESPN panel named Zach Randolph the NBA’s worst newcomer-they couldn’t have been more wrong. With Randolph, the Memphis Grizzlies got 16 more wins during the 2009-2010 season than they did the prior year. His ability to score in the low post propelled the Memphis Grizzlies to 40-wins for the first time since Pau Gasol led them to 49 wins in 2006.
Randolph, who led the Grizzlies in points (20.8) and rebounds (11.7), was the only player in the Western Conference to average at least 20 points and 10 rebound for the season. Randolph’s production earned him his first All-Star Game appearance to join Pau Gasol (2006) as the only All-Stars in Memphis Grizzlies history.
Last season, Randolph helped the Grizzlies improve their scoring average by nearly 10 points (102.5 vs. 93.9) over the prior season, but they still struggled defensively (tied for 23rd in defensive efficiency, 24th in points allowed, and 24th in field-goal percentage allowed).
This season, Memphis hopes newcomer Tony Allen will help them improve on the defensive side of the ball. Allen is a solid perimeter defender who will guard the opposing team’s best wing scorer. The Grizzlies hope that Allen’s toughness and defensive intensity will rub off on his young teammates (especially Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo).
One year after adding Zach Randolph to provide much-needed scoring, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired Tony Allen to bring a defensive presence to their team.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2010-2011 Memphis Grizzlies:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 27 versus Hawks- Grizzlies drop a home game to the Atlanta Hawks in their season opener (Record 0-1).
Game 2, Friday, October 29 at Dallas- Grizzlies fall to the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center for the 10th straight time (Record 0-2).
Game 3, Saturday, October 30 versus Timberwolves- Grizzlies get their first win of the season with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 1-2).
Game 4, Tuesday, November 2 at Los Angeles Lakers- Grizzlies lose to the Lakers at the Staples Center on Election Day (Record 1-3).
Game 5, Wednesday, November 3 at Golden State- Grizzlies capture the second half of a back-to-back with a victory over the Golden State Warriors (Record 2-3).
Game 6, Friday, November 5 at Phoenix- Grizzlies play their third road game in four nights and just can’t keep up with the up-tempo Phoenix Suns (Record 2-4).
Game 7, Saturday, November 6 at Sacramento- Grizzlies fall to the Sacramento Kings to close a tough 1-3 road trip (Record 2-5).
Game 8, Monday, November 8 versus Suns- Grizzlies lose to the Suns for the second time in four nights (Record 2-6).
Game 9, Wednesday, November 10 versus Mavericks- Grizzlies continue to struggle and drop a home game to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks (Record 2-7).
Game 10, Saturday, November 13 versus Celtics- Grizzlies complete a winless three-game home stand with a loss to the Boston Celtics (Record 2-8).
Game 11, Monday, November 15 at Orlando- Grizzlies fall to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center (Record 2-9).
Game 12, Tuesday, November 16 versus Trail Blazers- Grizzlies drop a home game to the Portland Trail Blazers and suffer their seventh straight loss (Record 2-10).
Game 13, Friday, November 19 at Washington- Grizzlies beat the Washington Wizards for the fifth consecutive time (Record 3-10).
Game 14, Saturday, November 20 versus Heat- Grizzlies drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Miami Heat All-Star Trio (Record 3-11).
Game 15, Wednesday, November 24 versus Pistons- Grizzlies get a home win over the visiting Detroit Pistons (Record 4-11).
Game 16, Friday, November 26 versus Warriors- Grizzlies close a 2-1 home stand with a victory over the Golden State Warriors (Record 5-11).
Game 17, Saturday, November 27 at Cleveland- Grizzlies drop a close game to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena (Record 5-12).
Game 18, Tuesday, November 30 versus Lakers- Grizzlies close November with a victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers (Record 6-12).
Game 19, Wednesday, December 1 at Atlanta- Grizzlies fall to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena for the fifth straight time (Record 6-13).
Game 20, Friday, December 3 versus Rockets- Grizzlies lose a home game to the Houston Rockets at the FedExForum (Record 6-14).
Game 21, Sunday, December 5 at Denver- Grizzlies begin a four-game road trip with a loss to the Denver Nuggets (Record 6-15).
Game 22, Monday, December 6 at Utah- Grizzlies capture the second half of a back-to-back by defeating the Utah Jazz (Record 7-15).
Game 23, Wednesday, December 8 at Phoenix- Grizzlies get a victory over the Suns at US Airways Arena (Record 8-15).
Game 24, Saturday, December 11 at Los Angeles Clippers- Grizzlies defeat Blake Griffin and the Clippers at the Staples Center (Record 9-15).
Game 25, Monday, December 13 versus Trail Blazers- Grizzlies get their fourth straight victory with a home win over the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 10-15).
Game 26, Wednesday, December 15 versus Bobcats- Grizzlies drop a close home game to the Charlotte Bobcats (Record 10-16).
Game 27, Friday, December 17 at Houston- Grizzlies get a road win over the Rockets and avenge a loss they suffered two weeks earlier (Record 11-16).
Game 28, Saturday, December 18 at San Antonio- Grizzlies fall to the savvy San Antonio Spurs and drop the second half of the Texas Two-Step (Record 11-17).
Game 29, Tuesday, December 21 versus Nets- Grizzlies get a home win over the visiting New Jersey Nets (Record 12-17).
Game 30, Sunday, December 26 at Indiana- Grizzlies drop a close road game to the Indiana Pacers (Record 12-18).
Game 31, Monday, December 27 versus Raptors- Grizzlies defeat the Toronto Raptors and win the second half of a back-to-back (Record 13-18).
Game 32, Wednesday, December 29 at Sacramento- Grizzlies beat the Sacramento Kings and get revenge for a November loss (Record 14-18).
Game 33, Saturday, January 1 at Utah- Grizzlies fall to the tough-minded Utah Jazz in their first game of the New Year (Record 14-19).
Game 34, January 2 at Los Angeles Lakers- Grizzlies close a 2-1 road trip with a victory over the Lakers (Record 15-19).
Game 35, January 4 versus Thunder- Grizzlies drop a home game to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 15-20).
Game 36, Friday, January 7 versus Jazz- Grizzlies win a close home game against the Utah Jazz (Record 16-20).
Game 37, Saturday, January 8 at Oklahoma City- Grizzlies defeat the Thunder and get both halves of a back-to-back (Record 17-20).
Game 38, Monday, January 10 at Charlotte- Grizzlies fall to the Charlotte Bobcats for the sixth consecutive time (Record 17-21).
Game 39, Wednesday, January 12 at Detroit- Grizzlies defeat the Detroit Pistons to close a 2-1 road trip (Record 18-21).
Game 40, Saturday, January 15 versus Mavericks- Grizzlies begin a brief two-game home stand with a victory over the Dallas Mavericks (Record 19-21).
Game 41, Monday, January 17 versus Bulls- Grizzlies fall to the Chicago Bulls on Martin Luther King Day (Record 19-22).
Game 42, Wednesday, January 19 at New Orleans- Grizzlies visit the Crescent City and fall to the New Orleans Hornets (Record 19-23).
Game 43, Friday, January 21 versus Rockets- Grizzlies get a home win over the visiting Houston Rockets (Record 20-23).
Game 44, Saturday, January 22 at Milwaukee- Grizzlies begin a four-game road trip with a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center (Record 20-24).
Game 45, Monday, January 24 at Toronto- Grizzlies fall to the Toronto Raptors and suffer their third straight road loss (Record 20-25).
Game 46, Wednesday, January 26 at New Jersey- Grizzlies defeat the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center (Record 21-25).
Game 47, Friday, January 28 at Philadelphia- Grizzlies lose to the Philadelphia 76ers in the final game of the trip (21-26).
Game 48, Saturday, January 29 versus Wizards- Grizzlies play their third game in four nights and fall to John Wall and the Washington Wizards (Record 21-27).
Game 49, Monday, January 31 versus Magic- Grizzlies close January with a victory over the Orlando Magic (Record 22-27).
Game 50, Wednesday, February 2 at Minnesota- Grizzlies get a road win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 23-27).
Game 51, Friday, February 4 versus Cavaliers- Grizzlies drop a home game to the Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 23-28).
Game 52, Saturday, February 5 at Houston- Grizzlies fall to the Rockets and lose both halves of a back-to-back (Record 23-29).
Game 53, Monday, February 7 versus Lakers- Grizzlies lose a close home game to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (Record 23-30).
Game 54, Tuesday, February 8 at Oklahoma City- Grizzlies rebound with a victory over Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 24-30).
Game 55, Friday, February 11 versus Bucks- Grizzlies begin a three-game home stand with a win over the Milwaukee Bucks (Record 25-30).
Game 56, Sunday, February 13 versus Nuggets- Grizzlies defeat the Denver Nuggets and pick up their third straight win (Record 26-30).
Game 57, Tuesday, February 15 versus 76ers- Grizzlies close the first half of the season with a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (Record 27-30).
Game 58, Tuesday, February 22 at Denver- Grizzlies fall to the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center and lose the season series 1-2 (Record 27-31).
Game 59, Wednesday, February 23 at Minnesota- Grizzlies lose to the Timberwolves and drop both halves of a road back-to-back (Record 27-32).
Game 60, Saturday, February 26 versus Kings- Grizzlies get a home win over the visiting Sacramento Kings (Record 28-32).
Game 61, Sunday, February 27 at San Antonio- Grizzlies drop the second half of a back-to-back to the San Antonio Spurs (Record 28-33).
Game 62, Tuesday, March 1 versus Spurs- Grizzlies begin March with a victory over the San Antonio Spurs (Record 29-33).
Game 63, Friday, March 4 versus Hornets- Grizzlies get a home win over the visiting New Orleans Hornets (Record 30-33).
Game 64, Sunday, March 6 at Dallas- Grizzlies drop a road game to the Dallas Mavericks (Record 30-34).
Game 65, Monday, March 7 versus Thunder- Grizzlies fall to the Oklahoma City Thunder and lose both halves of a back-to-back (Record 30-35).
Game 66, Wednesday, March 9 versus Knicks- Grizzlies win a high-scoring matchup with the New York Knicks (Record 31-35).
Game 67, Saturday, March 12 at Miami- Grizzlies go down to South Beach and lose to the Miami Heat (Record 31-36).
Game 68, Monday, March 14 versus Clippers- Grizzlies drop a home game to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers (Record 31-37).
Game 69, Thursday, March 17 at New York- Grizzlies defeat the Knicks and sweep the season series for the second straight time (Record 32-37).
Game 70, Saturday, March 19 versus Pacers- Grizzlies get a close win over the visiting Indiana Pacers (Record 33-37).
Game 71, Monday, March 21 versus Jazz- Grizzles close a brief two-game home stand with a loss to the Utah Jazz (Record 33-38).
Game 72, Wednesday, March 23 at Boston- Grizzlies get an impressive road win over the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics (Record 34-38).
Game 73, Friday, March 25 at Chicago- Grizzlies defeat the Chicago Bulls at the United Center (Record 35-38).
Game 74, Sunday, March 27 versus Spurs- Grizzlies push their winning streak to three with a victory over the San Antonio Spurs (Record 36-38).
Game 75, Wednesday, March 30 versus Warriors- Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors and sweep the season series 3-0 (Record 37-38).
Game 76, Friday, April 1 at New Orleans- Grizzlies drop a road game to the New Orleans Hornets (Record 37-39).
Game 77, Saturday, April 2 versus Timberwolves- Grizzlies play their third game in four nights and fall to the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 37-40).
Game 78, Tuesday, April 5 versus Clippers- Grizzlies get a close win over the Los Angeles Clippers at the FedExForum (Record 38-40).
Game 79, Friday, April 8 versus Kings- Grizzlies drop a home game to the visiting Sacramento Kings (Record 38-41).
Game 80, Sunday, April 10 versus Hornets- Grizzlies close a 2-2 home stand by defeating the New Orleans Hornets (Record 39-41).
Game 81, Tuesday, April 12 at Portland- Grizzlies fall to the Portland Trail Blazers in their only visit to the Rose Garden this season (Record 39-42).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 13 at Los Angeles Clippers- Grizzlies fall to the Clippers in their final game of the season (Record 39-43).
Prediction: The Memphis Grizzlies will win more than 30 but fewer than 40 games for the first time in franchise history.
More 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions:
Houston Rockets 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Miami Heat 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Los Angeles Clippers 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Information from ESPN.com’s Memphis Grizzlies 2011 Schedule, NBA offseason: Worst newcomer, Memphis Grizzlies Basketball Clubhouse, 2009-10 Regular Season NBA Player Stats, Memphis Grizzlies 2010 Statistics, Hollinger’s NBA Team Stats, 2009-10 Regular Season NBA Team Stats, NBA.com’s Grizzlies: Zach Randolph named to Western Conference All-Star team, and NBAUniverse.com’s Memphis Grizzlies Records was used for this article.