Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010-2011 NBA Preview - Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks
This division is the toughest to handicap. Dallas and San Antonio are old, Houston is just strange (and might have a little Ewing Theory in effect with Yao), New Orleans lives and dies with Chris Paul, and the Grizzlies are the Grizzlies. I'm giving the nod to Dallas because they're the deepest team and there's a promise of Rodrigue Beaubois in the starting lineup (when he gets healthy). Kidd is an ageless wonder (for now) and Dirk is Dirk. Final Prediction: 58-24

San Antonio Spurs
Last hurrah for these guys, I'm afraid. But they'll be strong this year. No need to go into further detail. Final Prediction: 52-30

Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay has always been a world-class talent. But he's always seemed to be content with being a B-level player. One theory: he never really had that talent validated (and the confidence that comes with it). On draft night he watched the likes of Adam Morrison, Sheldon Williams and Tyrus Thomas get selected in front of him. Then he got drafted by the Grizzlies, aka The Franchise Where Talent Goes To Die. But then last year happened. The team wins 40 games, and Gay is rewarded with a quick max-dollars extension (and a spot on a gold-medal winning Team USA). In other words, validation. I don't think Gay becomes an MVP candidate, but signing that deal may have meant as much for his continued development as anything. Final Prediction: 45-37

Houston Rockets
I don't really see any improvement on last year. I know, I know... Yao. Right. But they always seem to be better without Yao than with. I may be severely underrating them, but I really don't think so. Final Prediction: 42-40

New Orleans Hornets
Another team I might be severely underrating, only because Chris Paul seemingly can win 50 games with any semi-competent roster. Still, I don't like 'em. Paul wants out, and that might weigh on the team, at least in some way. Final Prediction: 42-40

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