Let’s get right to it with the final division preview to finish off out posts of previews for the NBA.
San Antonio (ended 2015-16 2nd in the Western Conference, 67-15):
Houston Rockets (ended 2015-16 8th in the Western Conference, 41-41):
Rockets have down addition by subtraction. Dwight Howard leaving to the Hawks in the offseason has freed up the C position for Clint Capela. Also, James Harden has finally become the PG we all knew he should have been. The poor marriages with Jeremy Lin and Ty Lawson shows that he should be the primary ball handler (and no one else). I think we need to see how Patrick Beverly fits into the long term plans now that he is injured. Will Eric Gordon start at SG or will there be an unconventional? So many moving parts with Mike D’Antoni at the helm, I expect nothing but quick baskets and nifty plays.
With everyone in the West gaining more firepower, I don’t expect the Rockets to get to the playoffs easily. I can see they get a few more wins but they will at most be a 6th seed out West.
44-38 is the prediction for the season
New Orleans Pelicans (ended 2015-16 12th in the Western Conference, 30-52):
Another year, more of the same. This team has lost their starting SG and PF to the Rockets as well as their starting SF is hurt. Their starting PG needs to be away from the team to be with his ailing wife who has cancer. So many things are going wrong for the organization that has lofty goals to make the postseason. I think we need to accept the fact that this team needs to rebuild and embrace it. Anthony Davis can only win so many games by himself.
Buddy Hield should be starting 20 games in so he can adjust to the NBA game speed. There will be a lot of losses but as long as the young players learn they can come back next year with a proper foundation to build upon.
25-57 is the prediction for the season.
Memphis Grizzlies (ended 2015-16 7th in the Western Conference, 42-40):
The grit n grind era is officially over. Coach David Fizdale will bring the structured culture from the Miami Heat to the Grizzlies as well as a new team dynamic. Zach Randolph will come off the bench and more tweaks are applied to the team to get them to get a pulse to the offense. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will do their usual damage to the opponents. Chandler Parsons is the key signing this offseason who won’t be available for the season opener. He is the X-factor to make the transition away from the grit n grind to the new era. I do see the Grizzlies in the playoffs with a few more wins but until Parsons is on the floor this is on based on potential.
45-37 is my prediction for the season
Dallas Mavericks (2015-16 6th in the Western Conference, 42-40):
The new look Mavs seems like a wannabee version of the Warriors. We have a Bogut, a Barnes, and a Curry. All they need is a Green and Thompson to complete the vision. So far, the results haven’t been to great for Barnes. For Seth Curry, he has been on fire. I could foresee a world with Seth starting over Deron. If that happens, I would love to see Mavs vs Warriors. Looking back to the team, as long as Rick Carlisle is the coach they will make magic happen. I see the Rockets/Spurs/Grizzlies making the playoffs. If the Mavs somehow stay healthy, it is a maybe. A weak maybe but a maybe nonetheless.
41-41 is my prediction for the season.