Arguably the toughest division in the NBA where every team legitimately sees themselves as a playoff contender. The Southwest Division will undoubtedly have 4 of the 8 playoff teams and 2 real Championship contenders. Will Kawhi become the new man in San An? Can Mike Conley take a leap amongst the elite floor generals? Are the Pelicans the real deal? Did Slim Thug introduce Dwight to any of the strippers he told him about? Is Paul Wall posted up outside of the Toyota Center?
Let’s just go ahead and get the Mavs out of the playoff discussion immediately. Zoe Pound is gonna have to run down on Samuel. Smh I wanna say something positive about Haiti right now but it’s quiet, might need a plate of Haitian mac n cheese to settle this. Come on Sammy
We might as well start this off with the aforementioned Dallas Mavericks. The King of Texas has been pretty cyclical since the mid-90s when the Rockets brought the first rings to Texas and the Mavs have had their years (’06, ’11) with the crown but this is not going to be one of those seasons. This is a pretty old roster starting of course with the franchise man Dirk. But look at that pic above 4 of the 5 are 30+ and the 6th Man Half Man-Half Amazing (lol) isn’t even included in the pic and he’s the most washed of them all. Signing Monta Ellis could be good, could be bad, I think it’s going to fluctuate between the good and bad all year long. Dirk could use some scoring help which Monta will be ecstatic to provide. Dallas’ achilles heel will be defensively, Shawn Marion is still good so is Sammy, but the other three are liabilities and they don’t have a lockdown defender in the second unit either. I just don’t see what the Mavs are trying to do with this roster (Devin Harris, Vince Carter, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and a handful of other swings). Wish Shane Larkin wasn’t on the shelf to begin the year, he could be the man in Dallas in a couple of years. They would have to just go out and put up 115 a night to be competitive. It might be a long season for Mark Cuban 35-47, get those Shark Tank suits ready bruh.
Yea nah the Pelicans might mess around and get a triple double this year, I can see them being a problem in the West. With all the old teams out West these youngins have the look of the old Hornets when CP was there. Anthony Davis was excellent after the All Star break last season and it should easily carry over into this season. Defensively he’s already elite and he showed a little bit of offensive craft last year. Jrue Holiday brings them a confident young leader who has been in the playoffs twice in his young career and has made an ASG too, if Ryan Anderson, Easy Gesus and Reke can keep the floor spread for Jrue to attack the it can get ugly, and fast for opponents. A new city, team, and coach for Reke has to leave him starving to get on the court and show us that the first 4 years were only a matter of circumstance and not the real deal. I think Reke has a great year, in particular on defense where he will be able to defend 2’s and 3’s. Eric Gordon returning is just as big for his team as Rose and Granger back East. Is there a young team that you could be more excited to hoop this year? I don’t think so. They don’t have a post scorer, not even off the pine so they are gonna live and die by what Jrue and Co orchestrate on the perimeter. Their bench is younger than the starters and far less tested than the starters, they’ll blow a lot of leads with Austin Rivers and Anthony Morrow trading shots like a rap battle. Those two weaknesses effectively prevent me from making an outlandish prediction about N.O. so we’ll go 44-38 for the season, which should be enough to get an 8 or 7 out West.
Does anyone know who’s coaching the Grizzlies? Lionel Hollins was decent, but head coaches are the most expendable part of any team in any sport nowadays. So David Joerger will be man-ing the sidelines for the Pelicans this year. Ain’t too much coaching going on in the NBA anyways, just gotta know how to manage rotations and keep stars content. Z-Bo is still the go to guy inside regardless of how BAD the Spurs made him look in the WCF last year. Gasol is proving to be just as skilled as big brother and even more of a menace on D. But the Grizzlies fate will be decided by the play of Mike Conley who was one of the better point’s in the league last year, he isn’t a proven outside shooter but he can knock down shots. We all witnessed him outplay Chris Paul in the 1st round last year so he definitely knows and believes that this is his team, let’s see if he can put it together for a whole season. Tony Allen and Tayshaun complete the starting cipher and are elite defenders at their positions. Memphis biggest issue is going to be scoring enough to hang with the teams who are potent offensively, very few of those exist so they should put together a solid 49-32 record, slightly underachieving mainly due to the deficiencies on offense.
When is the last time that the Spurs didn’t win 50+ games? The year before Tim Duncan came to San Antonio that would be (1996/97), the rest of the Duncan-Pop-Parker-Manu saga has been well documented. A glorious run that’s included 4 titles in 5 trips for Duncan and Pop that coulda, maybe shoulda been 5 for 5 if it wasn’t for some missed free throws. That was last year though and not much has changed for Pop’s team. Duncan is gonna Duncan, Parker has shown us time and time again that he is a superstar, I think we believe him now, Manu is washed but they can hide his deteriorating skills through the Danny Green’s and Kawhi Leonard’s. The Spurs are going to get you 54 wins (54-28) this year due to the “system” but more so on the laurels of Mr. Leonard. Kawhi, much like Prince George earned his name from playing Bron tough over the span of that 7 game Finals match. I can’t see Pop running too many sets for Kawhi but he’s just one of those dudes who will find ways to get work done, nothing should stop Kawhi from being a solid 15-18 points and 6-9 rebs a game player. Many All Star games are on the horizon for dude, the braids could halt his ability to be a household face but the Spurs like it that way. Picking up Marco Bellinelli to replace Gary Neal actually makes them a little better since he can create off the bounce a lot more than Gary did.
The only person to ever post up in Houston better than Paul Wall is Hakeem Olajuwon, Dwight is going to have to settle for a distant 3rd maybe even 4th. Houston belongs to the James Harden or as Uncle Swish refers to him “The Real King James”. Dwight is there to hold down the paint defensively and on the glass, plus dunk the ball, the Rockets don’t need Dwight as much as Dwight needs Houston to take attention away from his lack of offensive skills/moves. They are going to fill it up and at a fast pace, maybe faster than any other team in the league, with Parsons, and Lin on the perimeter along with James. Parsons had a really good season last year but with a lack of elite small forwards in the West look for Chandler to step up and become one of the more polished 3’s and possibly make some All Star Game noise. The division could be Houston’s next year but as long as Tim Duncan is still lacing up those Adidas they will not concede the title in this division, give the Rockets 51-31.
Most Exciting Player:
Big Swish Money: Houston Rockets
“Big Money James”
“Easy Money Parsons”
Young Breakout: Chandler Parsons
Most Washed Up:
Rookie to Watch: Shane Larkin
Swish Favorite: Eric Gordon