BangtheBook is looking at all the NBA divisions one by one before the season gets underway. Let’s take a closer look at the Western Conference and the Southwest Division. This may be the best division in the league. There will be some great basketball played in this division all year long. All futures odds listed are from 5Dimes.
2012-2013 Record: 58-24
Odds to Win NBA Southwest Division: -105
Odds to win NBA Championship: +1,250
The San Antonio Spurs were seconds away from another ring last year. It isn’t possible to lose a series in a more heart breaking fashion than the Spurs did last year. Can they regroup? It will be harder since they are a little older, but this team continues to defy the odds. Tim Duncan will get less minutes this year, but he should still be very effective. Tony Parker needs to stay healthy if this team is going to make a run again. Manu Ginobili must regain his confidence and pick up his level of play. Kawhi Leonard is quickly become the team’s most versatile player, and a breakout season from him could lift the team in a big way.
2012-2013 Record: 45-37
Odds to Win NBA Southwest Division: +150
Odds to win NBA Championship: +1,350
Can the Rockets challenge the Spurs for the top spot in the Southwest Division? Houston definitely has plenty of talent, but whether they have enough chemistry to compete with the best remains to be seen. Dwight Howard has a lot to prove after his poor showing in Los Angeles last year. Jeremy Lin should be much better with Howard down, and James Harden has proven he is a star. Houston should be much better on the defensive end this season. The Rockets will have to get the ball inside this year, and when it gets kicked back out they need to knock down open jumpers.
2012-2013 Record: 56-26
Odds to Win NBA Southwest Division: +450
Odds to win NBA Championship: +3,500
The Memphis Grizzlies ran into a buzz saw in the Western Conference Finals last year, but the Grizzlies run in the playoffs last year was very impressive. I’m still not sure why the team decided to get rid of Head Coach Lionel Hollins. New Coach Dave Joerger has decided to speed up the tempo for the Grizzlies offense this season. Memphis will still work the ball inside first with their dominating frontcourt of Gasol and Randolph. The Grizzlies are always going to be a difficult matchup for a lot of teams because of that frontcourt. To be elite, Memphis will have to keep playing great half court defense.
2012-2013 Record: 41-41
Odds to Win NBA Southwest Division: +1,500
Odds to win NBA Championship: +7,000
The Mavericks had hoped to make a big signing this past offseason, but it didn’t happen. Chris Paul stayed in Los Angeles, and Dwight Howard moved to Houston. Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis are the brand new backcourt for the Mavericks. Both of these guys have a lot of ability, but neither of them have been able to win in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki should be healthier this year, but he isn’t getting any younger. Rick Carlisle is one of the better coaches in the league, but the Mavericks don’t have the talent to keep up with the best teams in the Western Conference anymore.
2012-2013 Record: 27-55
Odds to Win NBA Southwest Division: +2,600
Odds to win NBA Championship: +21,000
New Orleans not only has a new name, but they have a very different looking team heading into this season. Eric Gordon was brought in to be a star of the future for the Pelicans. Gordon has a ton of ability, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy early on in his NBA career. The signing or Jrue Holiday was a nice one. Holiday is still a young player, and he has been gradually improving in this first few years in the league. Tyreke Evans was picked up at a relatively low price as well. Needless to say, New Orleans upgraded their backcourt in a big way this offseason. Anthony Davis is the centerpiece down low, and the team is expecting big things from him this year. This team is going to be far more competitive. Don’t be surprised if they finish ahead of Dallas.
NBA Southwest Division Pick: San Antonio Spurs
The Rockets might have more talent on paper, but we’ve seen how talented teams on paper can fall apart many times in the past. The Spurs are proven winners, and their team chemistry is second to none.
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!