Blog Entry

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 3:30 pm
Posted by Royce Young

Dallas Mavericks

Added: Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Ian Mahinmi (free agency), Dominique Jones (draft)
Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Matt Carroll (trade)

Philosophy: "It's now or never."

The Mavs' clock is starting to tick. Time is beginning to run out on the Dirk Nowitzki era and the team knows this. And every move this offseason was made in an effort to stay competitive, get to the playoffs and hopefully set themselves up for more midseason moves if necessary. The Mavericks have had the type of roster over the last 10 years that's always good enough to win 50 games, get to the postseason and maybe even win a series. But there's just never enough oomph to it and it seems like the Mavs are always a player short.

Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier seems like a lateral move in a sense because does that really improve Dallas to the point that they're a legitimate contender now? Unlikely. The Mavericks picked up about 10 centers, but with Brendan Haywood now established inside, the Mavericks are looking to match up with Bynum and Gasol and with Chandler, things got a little better.

Grade: B-

Houston Rockets

Added: Luis Scola (re-signed), Kyle Lowry (re-signed), Brad Miller (free agency), Patrick Patterson (draft)
Lost: None

Philosophy: "Keep playing chess while the rest, you know."

You might as well count Yao as addition as well, because getting the big man back is huge for the Rockets. But Houston re-inked Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola for the long-term and brought in Brad Miller as help/insurance behind Yao. The Rockets are a team that want sustained success but are looking to compete now. Daryl Morey isn't shy about being active to build a roster he prefers, and this offseason, he did exactly that. The Rockets drafted Patrick Patterson in the first round, re-signed a few players and attempted to address an issue inside.

Grade: B+

Memphis Grizzlies

Added: Rudy Gay (re-signed), Tony Allen (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)
Lost: Marcus Williams (free agency), Lester Hudson (free agency)

Philosophy: "Hang with us, we're getting there."

The Grizzlies have built a quality roster somewhat unconventionally. They've acquired a large bulk of it through the draft and trades, but really scored big last season when Zach Randolph decided he was ready to play without any baggage. The biggest thing the Grizzlies did this offseason was re-sign Rudy Gay. Now, is Gay worth $84 million? Eh, that's a pretty hefty price for him. But keep in mind, Gay is only 23 and had his best season last year. And someone was going to pay him. It basically came down to if Memphis wanted to hang on to its franchise player, they were going to have to overpay. These are the type of things that can hurt in the long term, but it was a choice the Grizzlies had to make and they chose to keep their most talented player. Hard to say it's really that dumb.

The Tony Allen signing is a slight headscratcher, mainly because where does he fit in for quality minutes? O.J. Mayo may be learning to play point, but he's still the starting 2. Of course there's Xavier Henry who the Grizzlies drafted and though he can play small forward, he's a more natural shooting guard. Allen is versatile and brought in to defend, but $15 million over three years is pretty steep for a guy that might only play 15-20 minutes a night.

The one thing about the Grizzlies is that there doesn't seem to be any real direction. It's more a collection of talented players, but how do they fit together? How do they play together? Memphis isn't necessarily a player or two away from being a playoff team, but more an existing roster player elevating his game. Mike Conley Jr. definitely was an improved player last season, so maybe he's a candidate for a leap. Same with O.J. Mayo. The talent is in the cupboard, it's just about pulling it out onto the floor.

Grade: B

New Orleans Hornets

Added: Quincy Pondexter (draft), Craig Brackins (draft)
Lost: Morris Peterson (trade), Sean Marks (free agency), Chris Paul's commitment to the franchise

Philosophy: "Just trust us Chris! We'll get better!"

Ignore all that Chris Paul talk for just one minute. The Hornets, have been a pretty active team this offseason. And not just in terms of the roster. New Orleans has its GM resign, then hired a new GM, hired a new coach and is in the process of transferring ownership. Then they signed Luther Head and rescinded that deal. Plus they traded the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, for Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins.

They've done a whole lot, while doing very little. But it all comes back to Paul. The main goal of this offseason is to set up a new front office, install a new coach and somehow convince your soured star to stay true to the mission. If that gets done, this is a slam dunk of an offseason for the Hornets, considering the circumstances. If Paul walks, the summer months were nothing short of a disaster.

Grade: Incomplete

San Antonio Spurs

Added: Tiago Splitter (signed), Richard Jefferson (re-signed), James Anderson (draft), Ryan Richards (draft), Gary Neal (summer league signee)
Lost: Roger Mason Jr. (free agency), Keith Bogans (free agency), Ian Mahinmi (free agency),

Philosophy: "We're not done yet."

The Spurs are offseason savants. RC Buford and company know how to pay just the right money, push the right buttons and get the right players. And evidently how to talk people out of $15 million. Take say, Richard Jefferson for example. The Spurs lucked out when Jefferson opted out of his $15 million deal. He claimed it was because he wanted a long-term deal. The Spurs obliged, Jefferson took less money and it saved the Spurs from busting the luxury tax and kept some serious coin in their pockets. It's a fishy deal, but nonetheless, good for San Antonio.

Next, they signed Tiago Splitter. Splitter has been sort of a myth the last few years. A gifted big man that tore it up internationally, but couldn't come to terms with San Antonio. Well, the Spurs officially inked him to a sensible deal (about $16 million over three years) and not only is Splitter visions of the future for San Antonio, but he also helps now. They also added James Anderson, an All-American and prolific college scorer to replace Roger Mason Jr. The Spurs know what they want to do and while their core may seem ancient, the goal remains the same: build around talent and ride Tim Duncan until he can't walk anymore.

Grade: B+


Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: July 26, 2010 12:13 pm

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

The Spurs should get an A+ every summer.  They always seem to find diamonds in the rough, and superstar players that get passed over for silly reasons. 

The Spurs are a quality organization that always does well in the off-season.  It's mesmerizing how the Spurs an draft a quality guy in the second round and wait for him to come over to the US at the right time.  They did it with Manu Ginobili back in 1999, they did well with the pick up of Dejaun Blair in last year's draft, and now Tiago Splitter who is by far a dominant force in the Euro league as Ginobili was a couple years ago.

Much props to the Spurs organization and they are still the top team to watch out in the Southwest Division.  Much can be said about the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets roster but none have proven to be as successful in the playoffs as compared to the Spurs regardless of the regular season standings.

They may have a chance to contend in the West, but there is no pure defender that can make things difficult for Kobe.  Duncan and Splitter may matchup well against Bynum and Gasol and they have the right pieces in George Hill and Tony Parker but hardly enough to de-throne the Lakers.

West Conference prediction:
1.  LA Lakers
2.  Dallas Mavericks
3.  Utah Jazz
4.  San Antonio Spurs
5.  Oklahoma City Thunder
6.  Houston Rockets
7.  Portland Trailblazers
8.  Memphis Grizzlies

I think Chris Paul will be traded, otherwise New Orleans would have replaced the Grizzlies at 8.


Since: Aug 16, 2007
Posted on: July 26, 2010 1:41 am

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Pike - I agree with you.  Not sure why the Mavs never get any love.  Also I would like to see why CP3 doesn't mention the Mavs in his wish list.  The Mavs offered anything and everything but the kitchen sink (Dirk) and they turned it down.  Maybe that's why the GM got canned since NO would have gotten a whole lot (young talent, draft choices, cap relief, etc).  I don't see much movement in the rankings for this division.  Still think the Mavs will win it, but who knows what happens in the playoffs.  Even with Yao healthy, I don't see Houston improving much and that goes along with Memphis (still can't believe Pau was traded - thanks Mr. Laker Jerry West).  San Antonio is just one more injury away from being on the bottom of the division.  Lastly, I really feel for fans for NO since the front office is totally hosed and their franchise player wants out. 

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: July 25, 2010 10:23 pm

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

psu, where are you from?  New Jersey?  So how is it you know why we go to games down here?  We love CP3, but he's not the reason we go.  We go to see them win, just like every other teams' fans.  If CP3 were traded today, and the Hornets got value that returned them to a 50+ win team, you'd see the same support and attendance you saw in 2007-08 and 2008-09.  Its all about the wins.  We supported Baron Davis, until the malcontent wanted out.  We supported the cast of misfits that went 18-64 the year before CP3 arrived.  And we'll support whomever is here after he leaves.

Since: Dec 14, 2008
Posted on: July 25, 2010 3:37 pm

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

So why are Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Rudy Gay, and Richard Jefferson all listed as "Added", yet Dirk Nowitzki and Brendan Haywood were conveniently left off the Mavericks' "Added" list?  If the Rockets, Spurs, and Grizzlies are all given credit and graded on re-signed players, then you should list the Mavs' re-signed players as well.    Otherwise, your list and grading system are very inconsistent and biased. 

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: July 24, 2010 3:34 pm

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Paul isn't going anywhere.  He is the only reason people go to games down there, and there's no package anyone can offer (save with another superstar) than can replace that revenue.  He can make as many lists as he wants, with all the teams he wants to play for - if I was the GM, I'd tear that list up right in front of his face and tell him to get ready for training camp.  If he decides not to play, he doesn't get a dime.  He still has two years left and has no leverage whatsoever. 

Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: July 24, 2010 3:24 pm

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

The Spurs should get an A+ every summer.  They always seem to find diamonds in the rough, and superstar players that get passed over for silly reasons. 

The James Anderson pick up is really going to pay dividends in the future.  He was passed over due to a minor hamstring injury, but was one of the best players in college last year! 

Richard Jefferson was resigned for half of what he wouldve been paid otherwise, and is in the 2nd year of a hard to learn system.  He do do better this season. 

Tiago Splitter will do big things by the end of the season I'm guessing.  he was only the MVP of the Spanish league last year, and MVP of the Euroleague finals, one of two players to do so.  The other was Arvydas Sabonis, who was in his 30's before he made it to the NBA.  He runs the floor extremely well, and plays great defense.  The Spurs can't lose with Spliiter, Bonner, McDyess, Duncan, AND Blair playing minutes.  It should be interesting.

Since: Aug 21, 2008
Posted on: July 24, 2010 11:49 am

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Or maybe to Dallas for Marion and a sack of potatoes!

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: July 24, 2010 11:41 am

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Bobcats have what the Hornets want in Wallace, Magic want him, they have young big men, teams can make a three team trade. Wallace would be a great addition to our club. Believe me I like Paul and want him on our team, but he has played 345 of a possible 410 games played in only 5 years.  I don't see him not getting tough as nails and not missing games. He is like AI in the aspect of putting it all out on the floor. He tends to get bumps and bruises and it will catch up to him. His value is as high as possible now, but we aren't going to trade our corner player for an expiring contrac to the Knicks, or an McDyess and Parker, both are jokes of a trade. We aren't going to want at starting PG in return, aren't sending Okafor either, we'd want either a starting PF or C or SF so we could move Okafor to PF and move west in a trade, with his contract coming to an end and Wallace we'd fit right into the SF slot to take over for the expiring Peja contract as he won't return after the 2011 season for us. Paul really muffed it by making it public, he hasn't given the Hornets a chance to get better then the year they pushed the Lakers for the top spot in the West (even when they didn't have depth then) and if they do, they can still threaten even this Lakers team. Okafor is better then Chandler, Thornton is better then whatever SG we had then (mo pete i believe) we get a SF of a scoring caliber that could create his own shot instead of stand and shoot like Peja (maybe Pondexter?) we have a real good team. Even without Paul we would, if we got Wallace. Only time will tell though... this talk is riff raff and won't matter until either a move is made or no move is made.

Since: Nov 26, 2008
Posted on: July 24, 2010 9:15 am

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Rockets win this division if Yao is really healthy and plays the whole season, which is a big if!

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:15 am

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Sure it will be better to trade Paul to the Knicks and get nothing in return. Of course they will not have the balls to say - No we are not trading you, STFU.

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