The NBA season tips off this week! BangtheBook has been previewing each division leading up to the start of the seaosn. This NBA Southwest Division Preview is the final divisional preview. All odds listed below are from BetOnline.
San Antonio Spurs-
Odds to win Division: -155
Season Win Total: 56.5
Key Newcomers: Nando De Colo
The Spurs defied the odds last year to finish the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference. San Antonio has depth that most teams could only dream of having, but they still do have to contend with an aging Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. These two are still solid players, but they aren’t as dominating as they were a few short years ago. There’s increased pressure on Tony Parker to be the leader. Kawhi Leonard had a nice rookie season, and he’ll need to be even better this year. San Antonio is still in the mix, but it’s hard to see them winning it all at this point.
Odds to win Division: +265
Season Win Total: 48.5
Key Losses: O.J. Mayo, Dante Cunningham
Key Newcomers: Jerryd Bayless, Tony Wroten
Memphis lost in seven games against the Clippers in the first round of the NBA playoffs last year. The Grizzlies have had a tough time keeping all their stars healthy. Two years ago it was Rudy Gay, and last year it was Zach Randolph. Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless should be a nice one-two punch at the point guard spot. With Randolph and Gasol this team has a terrific frontcourt that should be one of the best in the NBA. Memphis won’t have the best record in the West, but they’ll be a team no one wants to see in the postseason.
Odds to win Division: +300
Season Win Total: 41.5
Key Losses: Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Brendan Haywood
Key Newcomers: Darren Collison, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo
Dirk Nowitzki is out for at least the first few weeks of the year after knee surgery in the offseason. How healthy will he be when he actually comes back? Nowitzki is 34 years old, so it might take him a while to recover. Losing Jason Terry and Jason Kidd hurt quite a bit, but the Mavericks did pick up some nice talent in the offseason. Look for Chris Kaman to help the team a great deal. He is a very solid center, and he’ll be a big upgrade for the team at this spot. The pressure will be on Darren Collison to be productive from the point guard spot. Dallas should still make the playoffs, but how far they go depends on Nowitzki.
Odds to win Division: +1,100
Season Win Total: 33.5
Key Losses: Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger, Marcus Camby
Key Newcomers: Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Omer Asik, Carlos Delfino, Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lin was the big signing until a couple days ago, when the team traded for James Harden. Houston will have a whole new look this season. Lin is an exciting play maker who should get a lot of open looks for his teammates. Harden will be counted on as the number one guy here, which will definitely be new to him. How will he respond to the much bigger role? Asik was good in Chicago, but he takes on a much bigger role here as well. The Rockets had a solid draft with Jones and Lamb. Houston is a very interesting team right now. I tend to think they improve as the season moves along, but it will probably take a couple years for them to be competitive with the best in the league.
New Orleans Hornets-
Odds to win Division: +3,200
Season Win Total: 27.5
Key Losses: Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Marco Belinelli
Key Newcomers: Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Robin Lopez, Ryan Anderson
Things are definitely looking up for the New Orleans Hornets. They won the lottery and selected the guy who was obviously the best player in college basketball last year. Anthony Davis should be a major impact player right away. He’ll develop as an offensive player, but he’ll be a defensive monster from the start. Eric Gordon only played nine games last year, and if he stays healthy this year it will make this team much better. Rivers looks like a future NBA star as well, so the backcourt could quickly become a strength in New Orleans. They won’t be good just yet, but watch out for this team in the near future.
Southwest Division Prediction: Memphis (+265)
San Antonio has the best team on paper, but they are definitely on the decline. I don’t see any value in taking the Spurs and laying the juice. Memphis improved over the offseason, and if they stay healthy they can certainly make a run at this division.
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