Memphis Grizzlies

Celtics-Grizzlies simulation: Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward lead way in nail-biter

Celtics-Grizzlies simulation: Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward lead way in nail-biter

The NBA season has been put on hold for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Here's how our simulation of the matchup went:

CELTICS STATS

It was the Jayson Tatum & Gordon Hayward show as the duo scored 32 and 24 points respectively. Tatum also tallied three steals and four blocks to add to his incredible performance.

Kemba Walker, who has scored 30-plus points in the majority of our simulations, was more of a distributor this time around with a game-high eight assists. 

GRIZZLIES STATS

Ja Morant is a budding superstar, and that showed in this simulation as the rookie led the Grizzlies with 28 points. Fellow rookie Brandon Clarke was a factor too, contributing 20 points and six rebounds.

Jonas Valanciunas was another player with 20-plus points for Memphis, finishing with a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds).

TEAM STATS

Nearly every category was about even, which explains why this ended up coming down to the wire. The real difference-maker here was the Celtics were deadly from 3-point range (42 percent). They almost got themselves in major trouble with those ridiculous 33 team fouls. Luckily, it didn't end up costing them.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 118, Grizzlies 117

The simulation Celtics are steaking. It was a close call, but this win makes it six consecutive victories as the offense continues to roll. We'll see if they can continue the streak when we simulate Friday's game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.

NBA rumors: How Grizzlies-Heat trade impacts Celtics' 2020 Memphis draft pick

NBA rumors: How Grizzlies-Heat trade impacts Celtics' 2020 Memphis draft pick

The Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies reportedly have agreed to a six-player deal just a few hours before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, and even though this transaction doesn't include the Boston Celtics, it will still impact them.

First, let's take a look at the players involved in the trade, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Celtics, as you've likely heard, own the Grizzlies' 2020 first-round draft pick if it lands outside the top six. If the pick is in the top six, Boston will receive Memphis' unprotected 2021 first-rounder. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

The Grizzlies enter Thursday's games in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings with a 3-game lead over the ninth-place Portland Trail Blazers. If the Grizzlies make the playoffs, the Celtics are guaranteed to get their 2020 first-round selection. If Memphis falls just short of the playoffs, it would need a draft lottery miracle to move up into the top three and force Boston to wait another year. 

So, how does this trade impact the C's? 

In the short term, this trade could make the Grizzlies worse, which could help the Celtics' chances of landing a pick a little higher in the lottery.

Justise Winslow is the best player the Grizzlies are getting in this trade with Miami, but his injury history is very much a concern. He's missed 136 games since 2015-16, and he's played in only 11 games this season. Winslow, when healthy, is a good 3-and-D option who can defend multiple positions. His last appearance for the Heat was Jan. 8, however, and if he doesn't play much for the Grizzlies, it hurts their depth.

Dion Waiters has the ability to score points in bunches off the bench, but he's a poor defensive player and hasn't been able to stay on the floor consistently over the last few seasons. Waiters hasn't played more than 46 games in a single season since the 2015-16 campaign. 

James Johnson shouldn't move the needle much for Memphis. The 32-year-old forward is averaging just 5.7 points per game this season.

Losing Crowder, a good 3-and-D player who defends quite well, is a genuine loss for the Grizzlies. He also brought valuable toughness and playoff experience to a young Grizzlies team. The departure of veteran guard Solomon Hill isn't a huge blow to the Grizzlies, although he is shooting an impressive 38.1 percent from 3-point range.

The best-case scenario for the Celtics is the Grizzlies falling out of a playoff spot and their pick landing in the lottery around No. 13 or No. 14 overall. It's hard to imagine the Grizzlies falling below the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference. The difference between the Grizzlies and the 11th-place New Orleans Pelicans is six games entering Thursday, and that's a lot of ground to make up.

Overall, this was a pretty even trade for the Heat and Grizzlies, although it does have the potential to make Memphis slightly worse this season given the uncertainty between Winslow and Waiters. So, the Celtics could benefit a little bit by this trade, and it's important to remember that moving up or down even by just one spot in the lottery can make a huge difference. The C's had the No. 14 pick in last year's draft and missed Kentucky sharpshooter Tyler Herro by one spot when Miami took him 13th overall.

Forsberg: C's have limited need for pre-deadline move

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NBA trade deadline. This Thursday at 2:30 p.m., stream the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline Show on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBoston.com. Then at 7 p.m., tune into our Celtics Trade Deadline Special.

How the Andre Iguodala, Justise Winslow deal impacts the Celtics

How the Andre Iguodala, Justise Winslow deal impacts the Celtics

The Boston Celtics haven't yet made a move ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, but some of the bigger trade dominoes have started to fall.

And one of the most recent deals could have a big impact on the C's.

On Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to a deal that will send Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat, in turn, will send Justise Winslow to the Grizzlies as "part of the package" to acquire Iguodala.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

As NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg points out, this deal will impact the the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, especially if Iguodala can get back into game shape quickly enough.

Assuming the 36-year-old Iguodala can shake the rust from his long layoff — remember, he hasn’t played a real basketball game since June 13 and Game 6 of the NBA Finals — then the Heat are adding a veteran player with championship experience and someone that can further help Jimmy Butler bring along Miami’s young core.

The No. 2 spot in the East is valuable real estate because it means likely avoiding a team like Indiana or Philadelphia in a first-round matchup. The Celtics, Heat, and Raptors are set to jockey for those spots over the final two months of the regular season.

Yet it's not just Miami's addition that hurts the C's. They also have a vested interest in Memphis' success, as the Celtics own their 2020 first-round pick, and it's only top-6 protected.

As Forsberg points out, the Grizzlies are basically performing addition by subtraction, as Iguodala wasn't even playing for the Grizzlies before being traded.

Memphis,  meanwhile, adds a nice player — one that Danny Ainge famously lusted over in the 2015 draft — that can further aid their own playoff quest. Remember, Iguodala wasn’t playing and, when healthy, Winslow is a versatile forward who complements the Grizzlies’ young core.

The Memphis pick, top-6 protected but slotted at No. 17 entering the night, could slide even deeper in the draft and it might be just another nudge for Ainge to cash out if there’s an intriguing deal available before Thursday’s deadline.

It's too early to judge the real impact of this trade, but it certainly seems like both teams got better, which is bad news for the Celtics. The Heat got a rugged, veteran defender for their squad while the Grizzlies got something for nothing and should be better off for it.

We'll see if the Celtics make a move to counteract the Heat's move ahead of the deadline. Or maybe the C's will be more willing to deal the Memphis pick with the upstart Grizzlies continuing to look like a legitimate playoff team.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NBA trade deadline. This Thursday at 2:30 p.m., stream the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline Show on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBoston.com. Then at 7 p.m., tune into our Celtics Trade Deadline Special.