Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 1/9/13

Call me crazy, call me insane. Call me whatever you want. My “expert” pick to win this years NBA Title is one that no one, I mean no expert analyst, psychic, would even consider in the finals this year: the Memphis Grizzlies. Yeah, you heard me right. The easy and most likely pick are the Thunder and Heat. The updated Vegas odds are the Heat at (19/10) and the Thunder at (4 to 1) odds. The Grizzlies aren’t in ESPN’s top 5 Power Ranking either. There has been much talk about the Heat defending their title and grabbing their second championship in a row. First since the Lakers from 2009-2010. Many experts feel that it is the Thunder’s year to win it too. With the emergence of Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin fitting in perfectly off the bench, they too look like a good pick to contend for the title. Furthermore, New York fans have been salivating over their Knicks, but since their fast start, during which they went 18 and 5, they have slowed down quite a bit, going 5 and 5 over their last 10 games. Let’s begin the persuading and getting you on the Grizzlies bandwagon. I bet most of you don’t even have them in your top 5 Power Ranking. I bet you can’t even write down their starting five. And I bet some of you don’t even know where Memphis is. We’ll start with their record. They are currently 4th in the Western Conference with 21 wins and 10 losses. Their most notable wins are against teams that might surprise you. On November 11, the Griz attacked the Heat and took it to them, beating them 104 – 86. It was a statement game. The Heat shot a measly 38% from the floor. Tony Allen, one of the best defenders in the game, roughed up Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen, who shot a combined 5 for 22 from the floor. In their next game, the Grizzlies faced another worthy opponent: the Thunder. Once again, the Griz clawed all over another elite team. It was the same story. Zach Randolph put up his usual 20 points and 10 rebounds and Tony Allen made Russell Westbrook look silly. Westbrook went on to shoot 6 for 19. Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies best player went off. He scored 28 points (12 for 21). Alright, this is weird. But the Grizzlies next game was against the New York Knickerbockers. Guess what they did? They beat them by 10 points (105 to 95), once again preventing a so-called “elite” team from scoring 100 points or more. Did I forget to mention how, with 89.1 points per game allowed, the Grizzlies have the best defense in the league? Not only do they have a very good record and a great defense, but they are one of my favorite teams to watch. You have Rudy Gay, an extraordinary small forward, who should always be considered for an all-star reserve spot. He is a regular on the highlight reel. Zach “Z-Bo” Randolph, a double-double machine, can entertain you with his old school hook shot. You have the better half of the Gasol brothers in Marc Gasol. He is not a “finesse player” but rather a player that can actually defend and use his body. He isn’t afraid to get dirty. Lastly, Tony Allen is the man you want on the floor when it’s crunch time. He will guard your best player. He is probably the guy most of you forget about when it comes to the Grizzlies. He is their Ray Lewis. He motivates the defense. He has transformed this defense into the number one defense in the league. Here is a little Tony Allen Highlight Reel Mix to please your soul: Click here to view the video on YouTube. Overall, the Grizzlies will stun the NBA world this summer. They will be this year’s 2010-2011 Mavericks. No one predicted that they would finally win a championship. Now, let’s hear your pick to win it all. -Berkowitz

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