The Southwest Division has seen it’s fair share of change and roster turnover over the past 12 months. Some teams have seen themselves go from having championship aspirations (Dallas) to potentially struggling for a playoff position. Other teams, such as the Spurs, have masterfully maintained a relevance and dominance, but also transitioned the offensive focal point along the way. Duncan remains ever present, but Tony Parker is now the motor that drives that vehicle.
Many NBA fans were left scratching their heads in wonder and suspense at some of the moves and decisions made by Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey. We’ll get into more on them shortly, but their increased level of activity has become more of the norm within the division. The Dallas Mavericks were another team that swung an aggressive, yet questionable bat during free agency. Some would suggest they (Dallas) struck out like Houston (prior to Harden deal), while Mark Cuban would reassure his uneasy fan-base of not landing Deron Williams being a positive thing in the long run.
The New Orleans Hornets was another franchise on the major change side of things. In walked new owner Tom Benson (after a lengthy search by the league), and along comes a pat on the back in the form of a potential franchise-altering player in Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, and an accompanying guard in Duke’s Austin Rivers. I’m sure head coach Monty Williams wasn’t disappointed by the free agent addition of long-range specialist Ryan Anderson, either.
The division hasn’t been won by a team other than San Antonio since Dallas finished five games ahead of the Spurs during the 2009-2010 season. With that said, Dallas may find it difficult to merely stay ahead of up-and-coming teams (Western Conference) like Utah and and Minnesota in the playoff picture. Individual team breakdowns to follow, but here are my division standing predictions:
2012-2013 Southwest Division
1. San Antonio Spurs (52-55 wins)
2. Memphis Grizzlies (51-53 wins)
3. Dallas Mavericks (45-47 wins)
4. Houston Rockets (38-41 wins)
5. New Orleans Hornets (31-33 wins)
Next Page: San Antonio Spurs