NBA Futures Predictions
It’s getting tougher and tougher to justify betting against the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division. Even as the team’s stars age, and we’re all ready to finally write them off, they go out and sign the biggest free agent on the market.
Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.
The addition of LaMarcus Aldridge has the Spurs back in championship talks, and that’s if they ever left them.
The Houston Rockets are making moves to join them, and the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans aren’t going anywhere.
It’s just a matter of time before Anthony Davis starts flexing his muscles and takes New Orleans to the next level.
Here’s a look at which teams you should keep your handicapping eye on from the Southwest Division.
San Antonio Spurs (NBA Odds -160)
The Spurs made the biggest splash of the offseason in bringing in Aldridge, but they did so much more than that. They kept the key pieces of their core together, bringing back Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green.
They also brought in David West at a serious discount.
But as shiny as some of those new pieces may look, it’s important to remember how new players have taken to Gregg Popovich’s offensive system.
They’ve taken time to come along, and we could see some growing pains along the way as the Spurs work Aldridge in at the four.
Houston Rockets (NBA Odds +275)
The Rockets let Josh Smith walk, but brought in a pair of capable replacements through the draft in Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell.
General manager Daryl Morey swung and missed in free agency as he sought a third star to play alongside James Harden and Dwight Howard, but then had one fall right into his lap when he traded for Ty Lawson without touching any pieces of the team’s core.
They’re going to be a force come playoff time once again.
They have as solid a starting five as there is in the league, and enough punch off the bench to give them scoring when they need it.
Memphis Grizzlies (NBA Odds +800)
Offseason moves by the Grizzlies are never going to be flashy.
They replaced Kosta Koufos with Brandan Wright, and added Matt Barnes.
Their front court remains the strength of the team, and they’ll continue to play with an edge in adding Barnes.
There remain concerns about their ability to score the basketball, but they defend and rebound as well as anyone, and as the league gets smaller and faster, they’re one of the few teams going left while all others go right.
So far, it’s worked for them.
New Orleans Pelicans (NBA Odds +800)
The Pelicans will now be coached by Alvin Gentry, whose top priority will be continuing the development of Anthony Davis.
Other than that, a very quiet offseason in New Orleans. Another year of experience for the team’s young core should leave them in better shape this season.
Dallas Mavericks (NBA Odds +6000)
The Mavericks’ offseason could have gone very differently than it did.
The additions of Wesley Matthews and (a hopefully now more content) Deron Williams are a pair of good moves, but the talent that left town, combined with the addition that almost was result in an offseason that saw the team move in the wrong direction.
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Losing Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis, along with Rajon Rondo, who the team invested heavily in – even if he never was successful in Dallas – all hurt, but the DeAndre Jordan saga will be what everyone remembers from the summer of 2015.
The net result is an inferior version of the Mavericks compared with what we saw a year ago.
2016 Southwest Division Prediction: Grizzlies +800
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