Blog Entry

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 4:01 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young



We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Southeast Division.

2011 Standings:
San Antonio Spurs, 61-21, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs to Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks, 57-25, won the NBA title
New Orleans Hornets, 46-36, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs to Los Angeles Lakers
Memphis Grizzlies, 46-36, lost in second round of Western Conference playoffs to Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets, 43-39, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Dallas Mavericks

Here's the situation for the Mavericks: They're the defending champions, but they lost a major piece of that puzzle in Tyson Chandler to free agency. They replaced him with Lamar Odom, who they had to give up nothing to get, and added Delonte West and Vince Carter to make up for Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and J.J. Barea.

Question is, are they better than last season? My answer: No idea. Nobody really knew how good the Mavs were until the postseason last year and that might be the case again. But with Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, this group will win its share of games, get a nice seed and set itself up for another run at a title.

Worst team: New Orleans Hornets


And that's maybe even before they get Chris Paul traded. Forget the fact that the Hornets only have six NBA players on their roster right now. Losing David West really hurts. Losing Carl Landry really hurts. Heck, losing Aaron Gray really hurts. And you know you're not in good shape when losing Aaron Gray really hurts.

Even if CP3 is handcuffed to The Big Easy for this season, the Hornets are headed for the bottom of the Southwest and most definitely the lottery. That's what's so frustrating about the original trade that fell apart. With Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom, this team was a playoff contender. Now, it'll be a battle to win 30.

Biggest surprise: Houston Rockets

Did you know: Last season the Rockets finished with 43 wins in maybe the toughest division in basketball? Did you know that would've put them as the sixth seed in the East? And yet they missed the postseason in the West. Such is life. General manager Daryl Morey is trying to do everything to ramp up the roster a bit and while it looks like he'll be hanging on to Scola and Martin for a while, he's got a group that can win. Kyle Lowry really came into his own last season and if the Rockets can somehow figure out how to get into the Nene sweepstakes, this team is a playoff contender. Heck, it already is.

Three Best Players: Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Zach Randolph

Chris Paul is included because as of right now, he's still in the Southwest Division. Dirk was a no-brainer, but Zach Randolph was a tough choice. Because you'll notice a key name omitted. Starts with "Tim" and ends with "Multiple Championships." Reason for Duncan being left off is that with the crammed 66-game schedule, this season could really wear on him. He was already sitting out the second game of back-to-backs in the normal 82-game set. But this could really affect his game. Randolph blossomed into one of the league's premier power forwards in the postseason, working over Duncan's Spurs.

Biggest Question: Does New Orleans start the season with Chris Paul?

A week ago, the answer to that was "Duh, no." Now, it's looking like there could actually be that awkward moment where Chris Paul has to take the floor in New Orleans in front of a home crowd. Nothing is hanging over the NBA quite like this trade saga and it will greatly impact the balance of power in this division. Chris Paul is good enough to win the Hornets games on his own. Take him away and replace him with a rebuilding group of youngsters and you just added four more wins to each team in this division. Everyone wants to know where CP3 is going. We know it's not going to be New Orleans, but right now he's chained to the water heater in the basement of New Orleans Arena. It's just a matter of when he'll be set free.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Dallas Mavericks
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Memphis Grizzlies
4. Houston Rockets
5. New Orleans Hornets

Comments

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 7:51 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Is it me or this guy completely ignored the Grizzlies in his analysis? He spoke about everyone else except the Grizzlies, besides mentioning Randolph. This team is almost untouched from last year. And to add it up, it appears like they will have Rudy Gay. A young team, ready for this year's busy schedule. Keep ignoring them my friend.




Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:16 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Since the league has injected itself into the Hornets' GM chair, when are they going to notice that the team is only half a team? There are six players on the roster. That isn't even enough to practice with. Since the league is running the team, run all aspects of it.



Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:07 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Wow your so wrong. The Grizzlies are easily the BEST team in this Division. They have arguably the best 3-4-5 in the league, with Rudy, Z-Bo, and Gasol. Have the best defender in the league in Tony Allen and have the Deepest bench in the West in Mayo and Darrel Arthur. This team is a championship caliber team. Watch out for the GRIZZLIES.



Since: Aug 23, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 4:38 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

ignorance abounds!



Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 4:03 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

LET'S GO MAVS!!!! 

BACK TO BACK!!



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:58 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Just because the Spurs have a few young players has nothing to do with the Spurs being seen as old. It starts and ends with Tim and Manu.

It could have been an injury that was not disclosed or just a tough year but Tim Duncan faded as the season went on. And SA did not have a solid backup or anyone who really could let Tim play PF only. Manu was also down a little last year.

To say the Spur have a young core
Neal, Splitter, Leonard, etc.
 (and include Blair) that the Mavs don't have does not mean much for this season. The Mavs have enough vets where young legs will mean less. To be honest, Leonard looked like a young Matrix in college but will that translate to NBA this year.

And with Dallas able to bring the 6th man of the year combo of Terry and Odom off the bench means a more solid second unit than most teams dream of. Is Dallas as good this year as it was last? Who knows. But they have added enough new pieces to make that question tough to answer.

The Spurs are in need of a real center more than Dallas and their bench is not proven. The Spur will be hard pressed to improve on last year's record of 61-21. That does not mean a big drop off. But it was a battle with Dallas for the Southwest and will be again.



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:48 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

You really think Scola, Martin, and Odom make a team playoff contenders? Is this a joke? Now that's pathetic. None of those guys would make an all star team. And none of those guys would lead a team.



Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:29 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Almost everyteam is younger than the Mavs but when your core 3 are old and also miss alot of games between them you will be labeled old.




Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:30 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

I know people just tend to associate the Spurs with the word old, but honestly they are much younger than say, the Mavs. They have a core of young talent compromised of Neal, Splitter, Leonard, etc. that the Mavs don't have.



Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:24 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Vernon...I think you're missing one thing...the Mavericks core is returning too.  Dirk, Kidd and the Jet.  I wouldn't call Chandler a part of the core...a definate great piece to the puzzle, but no the core.  Dirk and Terry have been there forever and Kidd gets a freebie since he started here years ago...so he's a part of the core.....LOL.

With that said, I think there was plenty of explaining about the Spurs....placing Tim Duncan in a condensed 66 game schedule where teams will see back to back to back games....isn't a good sign for the aging Spurs.  I have nothing against the Spurs....wait yes I do....see now they're looking for a foul to be called on my statement!  See, without Timmy on the floor, who gets all the free throws?


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