2009-2010 NBA Preview - Southwest Division

The Texas Three Step has officially been widdled down to two...or has it?

1. San Antonio Spurs. It looked like the Spurs were finally going to ride off into the sunset. Manu Ginobili can't stay healthy. Tim Duncan only has a few more years left on those high mileage tires. Role players like Fabricio Oberto, Michael Finley and Bruce Bowen were either out the door or on their way out. But, it all changed. First, the Bucks gave the Spurs Richard Jefferson for nothing. Then DeJuan Blair inexplicably fell into their laps. Then Antonio McDyess signed. So it looks like the Spurs are as good and deep as ever. They will be the only serious challenge to the Lakers in the West this year.

2. Dallas Mavericks. After a horrible start the Mavericks really caught fire. I think they are the most underrated team in the league coming into this season. They added a lot of depth, and they still have one of the very best offensive players in the NBA. Shawn Marion will provide versatality. And they have the means and desire to go after a big man once the season starts. My guess is they will trade for the Magic's Marcin Gortat, who they tried to sign in the off-season.

3. Houston Rockets. The Rockets third? Without Yao Ming for the whole season and a shell of his former self Tracy McGrady? And Ron Artest out of town? Yes. The Rockets somehow have the means to play way over their heads. They were a 50 win team the last few years with the big two hurt often. Rick Adelman has a great system in place for the players to succeed in. I think Houston will roll off 40-45 wins this season, with a group of no names providing plenty of entertainment.

4. New Orleans Hornets. It was just two years ago the Hornets were the talk of the NBA. They looked like the next great team, led by possible MVP canidate Chris Paul. They were deep, talented, young and hungry. But their cheap owner reared his ugly head again. Now, they still have the great Chris Paul but that's it. They have the overrated David West. They also added the equally overrated Emeka Okafor, who is getting paid about twice what he's worth. Other then that, there is nothing. Nothing at all. The signing of Peja Stojakovic has bitten them in the ass. Paul may spend his career toiling away in mediocrity, as the Hornets will never spend the money that the Texas teams are willing to spend to compete in this brutal division.

5. Memphis Grizzlies. Who knows what the Grizzlies are doing. The owners clearly don't care about winning. After giving away Pau Gasol, they decide to rebuild through the draft, around young players like Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. OK, that's a good plan. Then they totally slap that plan in the face by adding Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson. That's poison to those young players, especially Mayo, who wouldn't know an assist from a hole in the wall, and Conley, who finally started to come on strong after struggling for one and a half years.

All Southwest Team

C - Emeka Okafor, Hornets
PF - Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
SF - Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
SG - Josh Howard, Mavericks
PG - Chris Paul, Hornets

MVP - Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Rookie of the Year - Jermaine Taylor, Rockets
Coach of the Year - Rick Adelman, Rockets
Most overrated player - Emeka Okafor, Hornets
Most underrated player - Carl Landry, Rockets

Jonathan Carrano

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