The state of Texas is well represented in the Southwest Division with three teams, each going in different directions trying to reach one goal…winning a championship. The other two teams, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans will make their marks as well.
Let’s take an in-depth look into the division shall we?
Dallas Mavericks- Head Coach Rick Carlisle
- 2011-12 record: 36-30 (7th seed)
- Key additions: Chris Kaman, Darren Collison, Delonte West, Elton Brand and O.J Mayo
- Draft picks: Bernard James, Jae Crowder and Jared Cunningham
- Key losses: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Lamar Odom
The Dallas Mavericks’ 2011-2012 NBA season was nothing short of a disappointment with a 4-0 exit in the first round of the playoffs for the defending champions. The Mavericks suffered more disappointments this off-season when they lost Jason Terry and Jason Kidd due to free agency, and failing to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams. However, Dallas did managed to add Chris Kamen, Darren Collison, Elton Brand and O.J. Mayo to its lineup. As always, the Mavs will continue to contend for a title but their window of opportunity for a second one is closing.
Houston Rockets- Head Coach Kevin McHale
- 2011-2012 record: 34-32
- Key additions: Carlos Delfino and Jeremy Lin
- Draft picks: Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones
- Key losses: Courtney Lee, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert
The Houston Rockets spent the money to get Jeremy Lin in hopes of sparking this organization the way Yao Ming did in the past. Hopefully for the Rockets, Lin can stay healthy. Shooting guard Kevin Martin, small forward Chandler Parsons and power forward Patrick Patterson are nice pieces to compliment Lin. The Rockets will win some games but the playoffs may be a stretch.
Memphis Grizzlies- Head Coach Lionel Hollins
- 2011-12 record: 41-25 (4th seed)
- Key additions: Darrell Arthur, Gilbert Arenas, Jerryd Bayless, Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington
- Draft picks: Tony Wroten
- Key losses: Dante Cunningham and O.J. Mayo
Two seasons ago, the Memphis Grizzlies lost Rudy Gay to injury, yet played inspired basketball in the playoffs until a second round loss. Last season, Memphis dealt with injuries to another star player in Zach Randolph and fell short in the playoffs again. Signing Jerryd Bayless and Marreese Speights will fill the void of losing O.J. Mayo. The Griz may not be championship contenders but they will be in the mix in the western conference.
New Orleans Hornets- Head Coach Monty Williams
- 2011-12 record: 21-45
- Key additions: Hakim Warrick, Robin Lopez, Roger Mason and Ryan Anderson
- Draft picks: Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Darius Miller
- Key losses: Emeka Okafor, Jarrett Jack and Trevor Ariza
The New Orleans Hornets have good young talent with rookies Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Darius Miller on board. Eric Gordon, Hakim Warrick and Roger Mason will provide experience. Greivis Vasquez is underrated as a point guard. The guy can flat out play and will be a help in Austin Rivers’ transition into the NBA.
San Antonio Spurs- Head Coach Gregg Popovich
- 2011-12 record: 50-16 (1st seed)
- Key additions: Danny Green, Patty Mills and Tim Duncan
- Draft picks: None
- Key losses: None
Over the past two seasons, the San Antonio Spurs has had the best record in the NBA, only to fail short of the finals. The Spurs have about two years left with its core(Duncan, Parker and Ginobili) to try bringing home a fifth Larry O’Brien trophy. Gregg Popovich will have his troops ready. The question is..will it be enough?
By Keith Madyun