NBA Predictions: Southwest Division

Russell Westbrook and James Harden reunited as teammates, Kristaps Porzingis returns to the basketball court alongside Luka Doncic, the beginning of the Zion Williamson and Ja Morant era in New Orleans and Memphis respectively, and the Spurs look to keep their 21 consecutive year playoff streak alive. These are some of the storylines to watch for in the Southwest division. The Russell Westbrook-James Harden duo will be especially interesting to see as both players have been known for their ball dominance on offense leading to both topping the leader boards in scoring, assists and triple doubles. With an offensive minded system and an offensive minded coach in Mike D’Antoni, it will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out watching who takes over the ball handling responsibilities for the team. So where will the Rockets finish in the division? Let’s find out here are my predictions for the Southwest division!

Houston Rockets: 59-23

Well it didn’t take us that long to answer that question now did it. The Houston Rockets are arguably the best offensive team in the NBA going into this season. They already had one of the best playmakers in the NBA today in James Harden, but now they added another in Russell Westbrook. These two leading the offense of the Rockets with spot up shooters all over the floor makes them a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams in the league. Outside of trading for Russell Westbrook, the Rockets did make one underrated move signing veteran center Tyson Chandler. Chandler coming off the bench along with Clint Capela gives the Rockets two solid shot blockers down low. If the Rockets’ defense is able to keep up with the production of their offense, then they could be a very dangerous team and a threat to make it to the NBA Finals.

San Antonio Spurs: 50-32

The Spurs last season were a victim of a deep Western Conference and I don’t see this season being any different. The Spurs are a very good team with one of the greatest coach of all-time leading them. The difference between this year’s team and last year’s is that they will have rising star point guard Dejounte Murray who missed all of last season with an injury. Demar Derozan had a very good first season with the San Antonio Spurs last season while Lamarcus Aldridge had another excellent season with the Spurs. The Gregg Popovich system brings out the best in players and it will be what helps the Spurs in their bid to secure a playoff spot this year.

Dallas Mavericks: 47-35

If there is one player I am excited to watch this season its Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis has been out since suffering a torn ACL in February of the 2018 season. I am excited to see how he looks in his return and if he is able to return to all-star form. I am also excited to see how well he and Luka Doncic play together as on paper this is a duo that could dominate for years to come. As far as how I think the team will do, I think they can be pretty good its just too bad they’re in the Western Conference. The key for the Mavs will be their role players specifically Tim Hardaway Jr. If the Mavs want any chance of success, they need a third scoring option after Porzingis and Doncic. The best scorer outside of those two on this team is Tim Hardaway Jr. If Hardaway is able to give the team at least 17 points per game with Porzingis and Doncic both playing well, they could be in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

New Orleans Pelicans: 41-41

Its looking like the New Orleans Pelicans are going to be without Zion Williamson for a while as he recovers from a meniscus injury. Although, to be honest, I would have predicted the Pels to finish 41-41 whether Zion was injured or not. Zion Williamson gets a lot of hype and its well deserved but it can distract people from the fact that the rest of the Pelicans roster is very good. They have a nice mix of young stars and veterans with players like Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, Josh Hart, and Derrick Favors. This team has some solid talent but like the Mavericks, are not as talked about compared to the teams in the loaded Western Conference. The Pelicans could compete for a playoff spot but that’s about it. Sorry JJ Redick but unless you get traded, that playoff streak is coming to an end.

Memphis Grizzlies: 28-54

Even though I predict the Grizzlies to finish last in the division, Grizzlies fans should be optimistic about this team. The Grizzlies have officially hit the reset button trading Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors last season and trading Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz in the offseason. They have a bright future as they have drafted two players in the past two NBA Drafts (Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.) that can lead this team for years to come. The next step for the Grizzlies is to improve their supporting cast. As they continue to accumulate draft picks and build team chemistry, the Grizz will start to see results. Unfortunately, this season will not be a very good one but it will be beneficial in building chemistry between Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and the rest of the Grizzlies roster.


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