2009-10 NBA Southwest Division Preview
The Southwest Division is undergoing some major changes, slowly. It’s a bit like plate tectonics, continental drift, but the transformations are definitely happening. The Spurs are in decline as much of the team is starting to show its age and the Mavericks are dealing with similar problems. The Hornets have improved their lot and are the up-and-coming team in the division. The Houston Rockets have seen their stock fall and the Memphis Grizzlies will show little change.
The San Antonio Spurs still have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Unfortunately, none of these guys are staying forever young. Poor health plagues Duncan and Ginobili last season and poor performance by role players hurt the team. Some fine vets have been added to the team and head coach Gregg Popovich knows how to win. The cracks are starting to show on the team but they will not relinquish first-place this season.
The New Orleans Hornets are once again on the upswing after plummeting a bit last year. Issues regarding the frontcourt have been addresses and with demanding coach Byron Scott in charge you know he’ll get as much as he can out of his players. The major issue for this team is at shooting guard, and it is a major issue. If the Hornets can address this concern, this team could go deep into the playoffs.
Age may just be a number but for the Dallas Mavericks it’s a consistently high number. With four key players 31 or older, the Rick Carlisle coached Mavs have to be concerned about their ability to perform at a high level day-in-and-day-out. Like so many teams in this division, Dallas has a superior frontcourt.
With the Rockets losing Yao for this entire season and McGrady for a chunk of it, Houston will have a tough time winning a majority of its games. If head coach Rick Adelman can figure out how to make this team a winner, he’ll easily earn coach of the year honors. There’s no way this skeleton of a team can compete with the likes of the Spurs, Lakers, Hornets or Blazers. The will certainly have an interesting season.
The Memphis Grizzlies will once again be the bottom dweller in this division. That’s where they have been for three straight seasons. Still there are some good things happening with Memphis. Head coach Lionel Hollins, who replaced coach Marc Iavaroni midway through last season, has been with the Grizzlies since they were in Vancouver. The feeling is that he’s a good choice. The team may be young but the good news is that many of those new players are talented and will be exciting to watch.
The Southwest Division has seen a range of movement. The Spurs, Hornets and Mavs look good to go when it comes to the playoffs. The Rockets will crash and burn and the Grizzlies will roar some as they flex their young muscles.
2009-10 NBA Southwest Division Predictions
Projected Order of Finish: Click on team name for individual in-depth team outlook.