The Grizzlies Are This Season's Victims of Geography
Memphis, Tennessee is actually in the Eastern part of the United States, even if it's in the Central time zone.
The Memphis Grizzlies only wish the NBA saw them as an Eastern team.
The Griz are 26-21 this season, and if it ended on the day this posts, they would be out of the playoffs in the Western Conference. If they were in the East, Memphis would be hosting the first round of the playoffs as a third seed. Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph can only hope to keep playing well as they try not only to qualify for the playoffs, but to get a decent seed.
Denver and Minnesota would also qualify in the East, which is so bad this season that teams like the Pistons (19-28) and the Knicks (19-29) still have a chance to make the playoffs. Detroit has lost five of seven, but its roster is young and improving. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Brandon Jennings give the Pistons some hope for the future.
The Knicks just finished a homestand at 4-4, and everyone jumped up and down when they won four in a row. But look who they beat: Charlotte, the Lakers, Boston, and Cleveland. That group is a combined 55 games under .500 heading into today's games. The Heat beat them easily at the end of the homestand, and then New York lost on the road to the worst team in the league, Milwaukee.
The only Eastern teams that would have a shot in the West are Miami, Indiania, and maybe, if healthy, Brooklyn.
As it is, the Grizzlies have been fretting about their situation from the early moments of this season.
The Nets have improved to 21-25 and should eventually catch Chicago and Washington before the season ends. That may be enough for home advantage in the first round, and if Memphis is sitting home watching, it will make their summer even longer, no matter where everyone thinks they are, West , Central, or East.