The Southwest Division in the Western Conference is the best overall division in the conference. They can easily have 4 teams challenging for playoff spots as they do every season. The weakest link is the New Orleans Hornets, but they could surprise many people this season as well. The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks are the cream of the crop with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets making strides for serious contention.
The Spurs have a balance of both youth and experienced vets, while the Mavericks and Rockets have made major roster moves in the off-season. It’s going to be an exciting season in this division and I expect some noise.
1. San Antonio Spurs
I think it’s safe to say that the Spurs own the regular season in this division. You always think they are too old and just can’t hang anymore, but they continue to surprise everyone. They have the original “Big 3” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginoboli and have the championships to prove how good they are. The emergence of Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter along with the additions of Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson last season makes them a scary team to face.
PG – Tony Parker/Patty Mills/Cory Joseph
SG – Manu Ginoboli/Gary Neal/Danny Green/Nando De Colo
SF – Kawhi Leonard/Stephen Jackson
PF – Tim Duncan/DeJuan Blair/Matt Bonner
C – Boris Diaw/Tiago Splitter
2. Dallas Mavericks
I love the moves the Mavericks made in the off-season and expect them to make a run at another NBA championship behind Dirk Nowitzki. Everyone looked at the losses of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Brendan Haywood as bad things, but adding O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and an in shape Eddy Curry equals danger for the NBA. As long as Dirk can stay healthy, they have a chance to win another title.
PG – Darren Collison/Rodrigue Beaubois/Jared Cunningham
SG – O.J. Mayo/Dahntay Jones/Dominique Jones
SF – Shawn Marion/Vince Carter/Jae Crowder
PF – Dirk Nowitzki/Elton Brand/Brandon Wright
C – Chris Kaman/Eddy Curry/Bernard James
3. Houston Rockets
The Rockets have made the most moves as any team in the off-season and I think they are much better. I honestly hate that they lost both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic, as well as Luis Scola who is one of my favorites. The recent move acquiring James Harden, Cole Aldrich and Daequan Cook was a solid one in my opinion. Did I forget to mention Jeremy Lin is bringing Linsanity (back) to Houston.
PG – Jeremy Lin/Toney Douglas/Scott Machado
SG – James Harden/Daequan Cook
SF – Chandler Parsons/Carlos Delfino/Royce White
PF – Patrick Patterson/Donatas Motiejunas/Terrence Jones/Marcus Morris
C – Omer Asik/Cole Aldrich/Greg Smith
4. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies didn’t do anything to their team in the off-season aside from adding Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington to replace O.J. Mayo. I don’t think they made the team any better and they lost one of their main scoring threats in Mayo. Rudy Gay just isn’t a franchise player IMO and Zach Randolph needs more help scoring the ball. I honestly don’t see them getting back to the playoffs this season, because too many other teams got better.
PG – Mike Conley/Jerryd Bayless/Tony Wroten
SG – Tony Allen/Wayne Ellington/Josh Selby
SF – Rudy Gay/Quincy Pondexter
PF – Zach Randolph/Marreese Speights/Darrell Arthur
C – Marc Gasol/Hamed Haddadi
5. New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets are putting together a really good team, but isn’t ready to make a run yet this season. A healthy Eric Gordon is dangerous and the rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers show great potential. The additions of Ryan Anderson, Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick will help up front as well. I can see this team making some noise and challenging for a playoff spot, but will fall short.
PG – Greivis Vasquez/Austin Rivers/Brian Roberts
SG – Eric Gordon/Xavier Henry/Roger Mason Jr.
SF – Al-Farouq Aminu/Hakim Warrick/Darius Miller
PF – Ryan Anderson/Jason Smith/Lance Thomas
C – Anthony Davis/Robin Lopez