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


Since: Aug 11, 2008
Posted on: December 25, 2011 1:30 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Memphis, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans. I will never bet against the Spurs. It's like the Jazz...they never re-build, just re-load. Memphis can go deep in the playoffs again.

Since: Jun 12, 2010
Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:55 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

This article is hilarious, with me first Vince Carter, scrub Delonte West, Lamar Odom has never had to average 35 minutes a game, Dirk and Terry still have to carry this squad.  Grizzlies no rub here, but you had a great first round series with the Spurs, but one series win doesn't make you favorites. Spurs were spent before they got to the playoffs, and Ginobili had a broken arm. Spurs won it last year and are still the team to beat.

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:08 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

I know basketball and I strongly disagree.  While Memphis is tough and will only get better, to be the champ you have to beat the champs.  And Memphis hasn't done that yet.



Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:04 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

I am sorry to let you know Dallas still has it with odem and carter

Since: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:52 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Memphis is the team to beat in this division. They argubly have the best frontcourt out west. Without Chandler in Dallas, they are not going to be hold up against Memphis. San Anotonia is old and are not going to keep up in such short season. Anybody that know basketball will agree.

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:42 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

They were the 8th seed because they chose to be. Go back and look at some of the old articles. With about 3 weeks left to go in the season they could have been as high as 4th. Hollins rested a few of the guys for the last two games. This is how New Orleans got the 7th spot(it seems everybody has forgotten that Hornets were a playoff team). Granted , One playoff series win doe not make a great team......But when the coach chooses to play the team with the best record in the West, then boots them out of the playoffs (should have been in 5) in pretty much dominating fashion... a man short I might add. The Grizz deserve all the credit they get.

Since: Feb 13, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:29 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

HornsStampede, the Grizz aren`t even close to the Spurs or the Mavs? You might want to go back to the Grizzlies record in the regular season vs. these very same teams. The Grizz were 3-1 vs. Dallas (NBA Champions), and, 2-2 vs. your Spurs. Since last years dismissal of the Spurs by the Grizz, you keep bringing up injuries as the reason why they were eliminated. Memphis was without its BEST PLAYER, in Rudy Gay, we beat you in 6 games. Our entire core is back for this season, sans, Battier, I think we are closer than you think. Yes, you had a better regular-season than the Grizz, but, that means absolutely nothing once the play-offs begin. That 61 win regular-season didn`t help you too much last year when the play-offs began. I have nothing but respect for the Spurs; we want to do what they have accomplished from a small-market team: draft wisely, and build a team that is to be reckoned with, but, don`t underestimate the Grizz. Dallas has clearly taken a step back (losing Chandler and Barrea), San Antonio, so far, hasn`t made any significant moves; I like our chances.

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:31 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

As a Mavs season ticket holder for the past decade, I have to agree on the Grizz. I no longer fear the hated Spurs like we used to. Yes, they'll win around 60 games in regular season, just because Popovich's genius, but a playoff series will break them. The Grizzlies have to be taken seriously. They were 1 game away from going to the Western Conference Finals last year. The Grizzlies and Thunder are more seasoned, and still young and hungry. The only question will be there playoff seeding, but those are two teams no one wants to face in the playoffs. Go Mavs!

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:05 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

I never said they were better! I only said he did not even mention the, I strongly believe they are a contender though, and definitely think that this season they are better that the Spurs. The Manu and Duncan are not even closed to wath they were years ago. I agree that the wariors were not better than the Mavs. But this case is completely different. If we had the Grizz and Spurs again this year we would have the same result. The Spurs can not stand a young team like the Grizz for four quarters.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 7:56 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

The Grizzlies are not even close to the Spurs or Mavericks in terms of a full season long run.

One playoff series win over the Spurs (without Ginobili for the tempo setting game 1) does not suddenly make them a great team.
No one though the Warriors were better than the Mavericks in 2007.  First round upsets can and do happen from time to time.
Playoff upsets do happen. 
A season long finish is another story.
They were an 8 seed for a reason.  They got hot at the right time, and they will be a tough out in the playoffs.

The Mavericks and Spurs will fight for the division title.  The Grizzlies will be at least 6 games back.
It depends of how the Mavericks deal with the loss of playoff heroes Barrea and Chandler. 

Those are pretty tough departures to replace and youngish players to boot on an extremely elderly Mavs team.

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