San Antonio Spurs top rival: Memphis Grizzlies
This one may come as a bit of a surprise for some Spurs fans, but I expect to see some great matchups between San Antonio and the Memphis Grizzlies this coming season. I, for one, am very happy to see the Grizzlies playing good basketball again and to see some semblance of a rivalry returning between the two teams.
In the past several years, the Grizzlies have managed to put together a very impressive young core of players that features Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, Desmond Bane, and now Ziaire Williams. I am fully confident in saying that this is going to be a scary group to play against within the next few years if those players' development continues to pan out.
This past season, after the Spurs managed to come out on opening night and secure a win, they dropped their next three games against the Grizzlies, including the play-in game. The Grizzlies quite literally ended the Spurs' chances at a playoff run this past season. They then went on to eliminate the Golden State Warriors from playoff contention as well.
After losing to the Grizzlies badly a couple of times during the regular season and dropping a close game at the end of the season when it mattered most, the young Spurs will surely be looking to make some sort of a statement against them this season. On the other hand, the Grizzlies are on the cusp of being a team that's capable of making a decent run in the playoffs and will look to avoid the play-in tournament altogether.
The Grizzlies and Spurs will play one another on December 31, January 26, February 28, and March 30. Their matchup on January 26 will be one of the Spurs' five total nationally-televised games and will be their only national game to be broadcast on ESPN. I expect all four games to be tough battles, but their game in January will be one to remember.