Basketball picksOctober 23, 2009

NBA Picks 2009: Southwest Division

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. SAN ANTONIO
2. NEW ORLEANS
3. DALLAS
4. HOUSTON
5. MEMPHIS

SAN ANTONIO
COACH: GREGG POPOVICH
LAST SEASON: 54-28
BEST ADDITION: F RICHARD JEFFERSON
BIGGEST LOSS: F DREW GOODEN

OUTLOOK:
The Spurs needed another scorer, and Richard Jefferson will be interesting. He may miss some games early with a thumb injury, but it will be interesting to see how he fits here. One day the Spurs will take the floor without Tim Duncan, and although he can’t take on 40 minutes a night anymore, he makes them dangerous come playoff time. The Spurs seem to always find a way to win 50+, and this year should be no different.

NEW ORLEANS
COACH: BYRON SCOTT
LAST SEASON: 49-33
BEST ADD: C OMEKA OKAFOR
BIGGEST LOSS: C TYSON CHANDLER
 

OUTLOOK:
I think the Hornets made a great trade bringing Okafor in. It gives the Hornets a big body and a proven rebounder to bang with the bigs in the west. They have a rising star in Chris Paul at the point and a lot of new faces, but if everything gels for the Hornets they could definetly step up and win 50+ and I expect that they will.

DALLAS
COACH: RICK CARLISLE
LAST YEAR: 50-32
BEST ADDITION: F SHAWN MARION
BIGGEST LOSS: G JERRY STACKHOUSE
 

OUTLOOK:
The Mavs, with the addition of Shawn Marion, have a pair of forwards that can each produce 20+ points per night and a PG in Jason Kidd that can get them the ball in the right places. I think that the Mavs know that if they are going to win, it will have to be now, with Nowitski and Kidd not getting any younger, so Marion is that key third player to help put them over the top. The competion is strong in their division, so will it be enough? I tend to think it will not.
 

HOUSTON
COACH: RICK ADELMAN
LAST YEAR: 53-29
BEST ADDITION: F TREVOR ARIZA
BIGGEST LOSS: F RON ARTEST
 

OUTLOOK:
The Rockets coldn’t win with Artest, so they went in a different direction and traded for Ariza. The Rockets, however, face bigger issues. T-Mac is coming off of surgery and has simply shown that he can’t stand up to the rigors of the NBA and is often unmotivated. Yao Ming has said that he will not return this year from his foot injury – and maybe not ever. That will put Houston in a serious rebuilding mode, and a falloff is likely from their 53 wins a year ago.
 

MEMPHIS
COACH: LIONEL HOLLINS
LAST YEAR: 24-58
BEST ADDITION: F ZACH RANDOLPH
BIGGEST LOSS: F HAKEEM WARRICK
 

OUTLOOK:
The Grizzlies took a gamble and signed Allan Iverson, but I’m not sure how much that will help. They have Thabeet coming in an offering defense inside, but he is going to take time to develop. Randolph has a lot of ability, but is a mal-content, and with him and Iverson competing for bad news, the chemistry on this team becomes a bigger issue. Long way to go, and no playoffs once again.