The NBA’s Southwest Division, unlike the Subway sauce of the same name is my division of least enjoyment or interest. I have little to no interest in the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks or Houston Rockets while the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets don’t exactly raise my entertainment roof. But I’m here to preview all of the NBA’s divisions so we’ll quickly get through this one and give a prediction.
While the Spurs got older, the Rockets and Mavericks got different. The Grizzlies stood still while the Hornets frantically did anything to keep Chris Paul. This off-season has revealed a few interesting moves from these teams and here is how I think they will finish the 2010/11 season.
- Dallas Mavericks
- Houston Rockets
- San Antonio Spurs
- Memphis Grizzlies
- New Orleans Hornets
Let’s start with the Spurs who did a great job of over-paying Richard Jefferson. He has never really fit as a Spur for mine, but they sure love him to the tune of four years and $39 million which is interesting to say the least. San Antonio didn’t add any big names over the Summer but the Spanish Brazilian Tiago Splitter does come with some credentials. They’ve waited three years for this kid, so I guess they’re hoping for plenty of positive production. The Spurs don’t want this off-season to be remembered as “the year we Jefferson’d ourselves”.
The New Orleans Hornets still have Chris Paul, which is great news for now. Without him they would be the David West show, and that would be as well received as the Kanye West show at the Grammys. Sure, Emeka Okafor is good and Trevor Ariza has his moments but honestly, in 200 years they are likely to dig up an old chest and read about the two natural disasters in Louisiana history.. Hurricane Katrina & The day Chris Paul left the Hornets. If he stays, they may finish higher but I think he’s gone and they finish last.
Memphis acquired some Championship experience in Tony Allen this off-season.. I’m sorry, that makes this acquisition sound WAY better than it really is. The fact is, the Grizz stood still this summer which is as good as running backwards in the NBA. The only reason I list Memphis above the Hornets is because Memphis are technically still a 1/29 chance of landing Chris Paul when he leaves New Orleans.
Houston brought in Brad Miller and Courtney Lee and will welcome the return of Yao Ming this year as they look to bounce back from missing the Playoffs by 8 games in 2010. Having already made some moves last season, the Rockets roster looks pretty good. Kevin Martin, while unorthodox, is an accomplished NBA scorer and he will team up with Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry in the back court. Argentine Luis Scola is a much improved player and the likes of Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries will bring absolutely nothing they were taught in New York to the table. All in all, things look good for Houston this season and I expect them to return to the Playoffs.
Now for the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban, whose recent cameos on Entourage have left me secretly wishing he would get completely lost within a Tequila-based roster-changing bender. During this bender, Cuban would grab the Mavericks roster and turn it into the Western Conference version of the 2010 New Jersey Nets. Oh well, I can dream.
On a serious note though, the Mavs got a lot better this summer. The addition of Tyson Chandler is a great one, and I see him working really well with Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd especially. Caron Butler will either begin to shine or get shipped out of town, and there will always be someone wanting Butler. With players like Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood not even mentioned yet, you can see how deep Dallas will be this year. The Mavericks also still have some cash to spare after shipping Erick Dampier’s contract to Charlotte, and this will likely be used before the February trade deadline.
Expect Dallas to lead this division from start to finish in season 2010/11.
Two divisions to go, tune in soon for the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.