Southwest Division Edition
The 2019 NBA offseason has been one for the record books. From unexpected signings to shocking trades, it’s safe to say that the NBA has managed to captivate the sports world without even playing a single meaningful game in over a month. We have seen seven all-stars from this past season change teams. Now that things have (seemingly) calmed down, it’s time to take a look at how each team has faired this offseason.
Houston Rockets: B
Key Additions – Russell Westbrook, Ben McLemore, Tyson Chandler, Deyonta Davis, Anthony Bennett.
Key Losses – Chris Paul.
Draft – No Picks.
Daryl Morey, GM for the Rockets, has never been one to sit around and hope for the best. He’s never backed down from taking a risk, and after multiple seasons of coming up short, it’s not a surprise to see what they did this offseason. They will be a very formidable team in the West but just how much better they will be with Russell Westbrook instead of Chris Paul remains to be seen. The hope here is that Houston puts themselves in a similar position as they have the last couple of seasons, and having a healthy Westbrook in the playoffs over the injury-prone Chris Paul will be enough to get them over the hump.
San Antonio Spurs: B-
Key Additions – DeMarre Carroll, Trey Lyles.
Key Losses – Davis Bertans.
Drafted – Luka Samanic, Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon.
The San Antonio Spurs seem to always be a team that the spotlight rarely shines on. It does appear that the Gregg Popovich era is winding down to a close, but this is a team that always seems to find ways to re-tool. They did not make any eye-catching moves this offseason, and it’s hard to see how they can improve on last year. In typical San Antonio fashion, they will be counted out of the playoffs, only to find themselves right in the middle of it come this spring.
Memphis Grizzlies: B
Key Additions – Dwight Howard, Andre Igoudala, Josh Jackson, Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Tyus Jones, Solomon Hill.
Key Losses – Mike Conley, Delon Wright, Avery Bradley, CJ Miles, Chandler Parsons.
Drafted – Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke.
Between the Marc Gasol trade during last season, and the recent trading away of Mike Conley, the Memphis Grizzlies are fully committed to taking this team in a new direction. Ja Morant will enter his rookie season with a lot of expectations. Thankfully he has a ton of veteran talent around him with the additions of Dwight Howard, Jae Crowder, and Andre Igoudala. Brandon Clarke, the rookie out of San Jose State, also appears to be poised for an impressive rookie season. He is coming off winning the MVP of the Summer League, and many say he very well could have been the most athletic player in the entire draft this past June. Do not expect this team to make too big of a splash this year, but the future for the Grizzlies is a very bright and promising one.
New Orleans Pelicans: A+
Key Additions – Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors, Josh Hart.
Key Losses – Anthony Davis, Solomon Hill, Eldrid Payton, Julius Randle, Stanley Johnson.
Drafted – Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Marcos Louzada Silva.
There is finally an end to Anthony Davis drama, and I’m sure this franchise is happy to get back to focusing on playing basketball. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram both had injury-ridden seasons last year, but they claim they will be ready by the start of this upcoming season. The big story with the Pelicans is the first overall draft pick, Zion Williamson. It isn’t known exactly how well his game will translate to the NBA, but there is no denying that his size, coupled with his athleticism, will be a matchup nightmare. Even with giving up their All-NBA big man, I believe this team managed to get better. JJ Redick and Derrick Favors are both big-time vets that will undoubtedly help this team in crunch time. Not to be overlooked is the fact that GM David Griffin also managed to get a decent stockpile of future draft picks. New Orleans is poised to be a force in the Western Conference for years to come.
Dallas Mavericks: B+
Key Additions – Seth Curry, Delon Wright, Boban, Marjanovic.
Key Losses – Dirk Nowitzki, Trey Burke.
Drafted – Isaiah Roby.
For the first time since 1998, Dallas fans will not see Dirk Nowitzki on the court. Instead, they have two other very talented, and young, European players to watch for years to come. Kristaps Porzingis will join the reigning rookie of the year Luka Doncic on the court this year, and together they look to bring a very exciting brand of basketball. They also added some great shooting to their backcourt with the signings of Seth Curry and Delon Wright. I look for the Mavericks to be a much-improved team from last year, but I still think they are looking at a 7 or 8 seed at best.