Day 6 brings us to the end of the offseason grades with the Southwest Division. Here we have an extremely competitive division with all five teams possessing the ability to reach the postseason. In this division we have a couple new coaching hires, a team that will miss its retired legend, a player who signed the biggest contract in NBA history, and some interesting additions.
Key Additions: Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Seth Curry, A.J. Hammons (Rookie)
Key Losses: Chandler Parson, Zaza Pachulia, David Lee, Raymond Felton
Once again Dallas struck out with it’s major targets this offseason, those being Hassan Whiteside and Mike Conley. However they recovered nicely by bringing in Harrison Barnes, who gets bashed pretty hard for how he played last season, though I think he could be very solid in the right system. They also acquired Bogut from the Warriors without giving up anything important, and stole Seth Curry from the Kings. Parsons is a walking injury, so replacing him with Barnes is an upgrade, Zaza Pachulia played well last year (so well that he nearly was voted an All Star starter…), but Bogut is a better passing big man. Dirk is getting close to retirement so let’s hope this team is good enough to make the postseason.
Key Additions: Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Nene, Mike D’Antoni (Coach)
Key Losses: Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones, Josh Smith, Jason Terry
I don’t like this offseason for the Rockets whatsoever. Dwight bitched and moaned the whole season, but at least when he tried he was a solid defensive presence. Motiejunas could still be re-signed, but the fact that he was tentatively traded to Detroit last season it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll return. I love Terrence Jones. I think he has a lot of untapped potential, and his fit as a stretch-4 alongside Dwight looked amazing at times. Josh Smith was a hero two seasons ago in the playoffs but that’s about it, and Jason Terry is a fossil. After all these losses, they brought in three horrible defensive players with Anderson, Gordon, and Nene, to go along with the internet’s favorite defensive player; James Harden. Oh, and they brought in Mike D’Antoni, famous for the run-and-gun offence and for not coaching defense at all. This team could put up a ton of points, but they will definitely give up a ton of points too.
Key Additions: Mike Conley (re-signed), Chandler Parsons, Troy Daniels, Wade Baldwin (Rookie), David Fizdale (Coach)
Key Losses: Lance Stephenson, Courtney Lee, Matt Barnes, Chris Anderson
It appears that the grit-and-grind Memphis Grizzlies are finally trying to sign 3-point shooting threats. Bringing in Parsons and Daniels should help bump the teams outside shooting percentage (barring health for both). Bringing back Conley was vital; he is easily the most underrated point guard in the league. David Fizdale was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat for all five of their Final’s appearances and he’ll be looking to show these guys what it takes. Losing Stephenson, Barnes, and Anderson is a good thing, Courtney Lee is solid but he doesn’t make a massive difference. This team should rebound from an injury-plagued year to be a force once again.
New Orleans Pelicans
Key Additions: Buddy Hield (Rookie), Solomon Hill, Langston Galloway, Cheick Diallo (Rookie)
Key Losses: Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Alonzo Gee
If I didn’t think a certain Philadelphia big man was going to be a monster in his first season, Buddy Hield would be my pick for Rookie of the Year. A lot of media members are down on him, as he appears to not have a ton of potential. But his playmaking and outside shooting skills that he displayed at Oklahoma blew me away. I can’t wait to see him partner up with Anthony Davis, and maybe help them push for a playoff seed. Solomon Hill is a nice wing player, and could move up to the 4 to allow Davis to play center in a small-ball lineup. Langston Galloway is a high-energy guy off the bench that will help spell Jrue Holiday at times. Losing Gordon and Anderson takes a lot of offence away, however it helps the defense both now and in the future. Trade Tyreke Evans already and this team could become very interesting.
San Antonio Spurs
Key Additions: Pau Gasol, Dewayne Dedmon, Dejounte Murray (Rookie)
Key Losses: Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Boban Marjanovic, David West
It’s going to be weird watching the Spurs this season and not seeing the stalwart that is Tim Duncan. His retirement was expected for a while, but it still comes as a slight surprise. The positive to take from this is that this team is now fully in Kawhi Leonard’s hands. They brought in Pau Gasol to take over starting center duties, which will hurt defensively, however he is still a dominant post scorer, and can stretch the floor. Boris Diaw was starting to look a little chunky, and Boban Marjanovic is an amazing specimen to watch, but Dewayne Dedmon is a solid defensive big man off the bench. This Spurs team is going to be our only hope to beat the Warriors out West.