NBA Season Preview: SouthWest Division

SouthWest

NBA Season Preview:

SouthWest Division

Welcome to the NBA Season Previews, where the crew does the three-man weave today on the SouthWest Division. Enjoy as Earl, Joao and David kick off the NBA Season.


All-Division Team

Earl: Joao  David
 PG Tony Parker  Tony Parker  Tony Parker
 SG James Harden  James Harden  James Harden
 SF Dirk Nowitzki  Kawhi Leonard  Kawhi Leonard
 PF Anthony Davis  Tim Duncan  Tim Duncan
 C Dwight Howard
Marc Gasol
 Anthony Davis

Impact RookieMitch McGary

Earl: Kyle Anderson of the San Antonio Spurs. He’s terribly slow but the former UCLA Bruin is a 6’9″ point forward. He’s someone I’ve followed since he was in high school (due to him being from North Jersey, and close to the NYC media market) and I see a player that can land a spot in the Spurs rotation and be a productive fill in at the 2,3, and 4 spots.

Joao: This is a stacked division but don’t expect great rookies to grow in the Southwest. I will pick Clint Capela as he looks to be a promising prospect; furthermore, no Omer Asik and no Chandler Parsons will mean that Capela will see more minutes that what would have been expected otherwise.

David: I’m going with Mitch McGary from the Thunder, he’s 6’10, can rebound and isn’t bad in the post. He’s smart enough to stay out of the way on offense, and Perkins is slowing down.

Impact Free AgentChandler Parsons

Earl: Chandler Parsons. I’m not a big fan of Parsons but I think he’s perfect for the Mavs. He fills up a box score, he has a leadership personality and should fit in well with Dirk and Tyson Chandler.

Joao: There are several possible picks here but signing Chandler Parsons was one of the offseason’s best moves, period. Even though he didn’t make the US’s last roster cut this summer he has great fundamentals and last season really saw him blossom into an impact player, averaging almost 20 points in the playoffs. He will be another great option to space the floor alongside Dirk Nowitzki.

David: Has to be Parsons. If he can grasp the defense, he can be the number 2 guy in town.

MVP of the Division

Earl: It likely will not show up in the standings but it’s Anthony Davis. The kid is a legitimate star and a legit force on both ends of the floor.

Joao: James Harden. The Spurs have too many stars and both Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis are somewhat prone to nagging injuries. The Rockets are captain Harden’s team and he has developed into a better decision maker and overall playmaker. The Rockets will go only as far as Harden will take them this season. Sorry Kobe, but we are talking about the best shooting guard in the league.

David: Is Tim Duncan still breathing? I almost want to say Pop is the MVP. He has an aging roster, only 2 young-ish stars and goes deep almost every year. Yet his OLD team looks more rested than a teamfull of Rookies in summer leagues by the time playoffs roll around.

Least valuable Player.Vince Carter

Earl: Manu Ginobili. Yes, the Spurs keep winning and yeah Manu has a good game every here and there but to me the guy should hang it up. Out of the Spurs “big three” Manu is the one that needs to hang it up.

Joao: This will be Vince Carter’s last season, I believe. His only remaining motivation would be to win a title but that is not going to happen in Memphis. Look for him to have a lackluster season for the Grizzlies.

David: Player, so I can’t say Sam Presti. I’m going to go with Dwight Howard. He needs to step up his defense, get his rebounding numbers up, There needs to be some urgency in his play.

Predicted Standings

Earl: Joao  David
 1 Houston Rockets (55-27)
San Antonio Spurs
 San Antonio Spurs
 2  San Antonio Spurs (54-28)  Dallas Mavericks  New Orleans Pelicans
 3  Dallas Mavericks (50-32)  Houston Rockets  Dallas Mavericks
 4  Memphis Grizzlies (42-40)  New Orleans Pelicans  Memphis Grizzlies
 5  New Orleans Pelicans (39-43)  Memphis Grizzlies  Houston Rockets


Question:

Is Anthony Davis the 3rd best player in the NBA if you were picking in a draft?Anthony Davis

Earl:  Abso-freakin-lutely. He’s proven himself to be the best big man in the game. A complete two way player, phenomenal athlete and he’s only getting better.

Joao: Drafting for the present and future, and regardless of position, my first choice would be Kevin Durant and second would be James Harden (LeBron is “already” 29). Paul George would be the 3rd choice but his injury has put a huge question mark on his career.

Even though Davis is an option for #3 there are other players in the mix – Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Damian Lillard. I would pick Stephen Curry at #3 and Davis would be my 4th pick.
If I specifically wanted a Center/ Power Forward, and looking at the players I mentioned, then Davis would be my very first choice.
David: I have to say yes. As much as we love Curry and Blake, and of course Duncan, combined his contract, age and his pure ability, he has got to be number 3. I do have a problem with the team getting put around him, and his coaching- but let me say this. If Duncan retired at the end of the year, and Anthony Davis signed as a free agent? He might be number 1.

 

Did Houston miss its window?Houston Rockets

Earl: Absolutely not. They may regret letting Parsons walk but the Rockets still have Harden and Howard. They also have some cap room, young players, and tradeable contracts to land another big player. The plan might not have worked out exactly the way Daryl Morey may have wanted it to but he still has the means to make something happen.

Joao: The Rockets were a contender last season, one of those contenders which were missing just “something”. After the somewhat unexpected playoff loss to the Blazers, the Rockets looked to retool and improve. Instead they got worse. Not only were they unable to land one of the key free agents but they also managed to lose important players.

Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik are not coming back and the Rockets will miss all three, for different reasons. Trevor Ariza and a 37-year-old Jason Terry were the biggest acquisitions.
James Harden is one of the best players in the league, Dwight Howard might be able to recover his old dominant form back and Patrick Beverley is blossoming into one of the league’s best (and most nagging) defenders. They also need Trevor Ariza to step up, which is something he did last season in Washington.
But the Rockets are no longer serious contenders unless they are able to make some moves during the season. They will be a playoff team but don’t expect them to go past the first round.
David: I think so, for the short time. How do you have Omar and Lin, two GREAT contracts and not bad players, and Parsons, and end up with uh, Ariza POST-CONTRACT YEAR. In a side question,how do you sign Ariza to anything more than a one-year deal? If you signed Ariza to nothing but 10-day contracts, he might make Scottie Pippen look like Scotty Thurman.

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