The NBA Dribbled Out

2012 NBA PREVIEW SOUTHWEST DIVISION:
TEAMS (in expected finishing order):
Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets
New Orleans Hornets
FREE AGENT SIGNINGS/TRADES/RE-SIGNINGS:
Marc Gasol-Memphis
Josh Shelby-Memphis
Lamar Odom-Dallas
Vince Carter-Dallas
Delonte West-Dallas
Kawhi Leonard-San Antonio
T.J. Ford-San Antonio
Cory Joseph-San Antonio
Marcus Morris-Houston
Johnny Flynn-Houston
Jeremy Lin-Houston
Eric Gordon-New Orleans
Chris Kaman-New Orleans
Al-Farouq Aminu-New Olreans
Carl Landry-New Orleans
Jason Smith-New Orleans
David Stern-New Orleans (new owner)
2012 OUTLOOK:
This division features the defending 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks with a lot of new guys; a Spurs team on its last legs going for one more title with Duncan, Popovich, Ginolbli and Parker; and a franchise that surprised everyone in last year’s playoffs then actually signed their free agent center (Marc Gasol). Oh yeah, Houston and New Orleans too. I’m guessing most will be shocked about putting the Memphis Grizzlies at the number 1 spot, but I think Marc Gasol will do what his brother Pau could only dream about—make the Memphis Grizzlies relevant. With Z-Bo and crew back, I think they’ll take the division and maybe more. 
Home of Elvis, BB King and Howlin’ Wolf, Memphis makes most people think of music, or if you’re like me, Blues music. Things aren’t so blue for the Memphis Grizzlies Blue now. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, a host of back-court cogs like Mike Conley, OJ Mayo and the invisible man last year, Rudy Gay, make up one of the deepest and biggest teams in the league. Gay is interesting since he sorta, kinda qualifies as their best player, but he was absent during their run past San Antonio and nearly past OKC last year in the Western Conference playoffs. They signed Z-Bo and Marc Gasol to long-term deals and haven’t traded Rudy Gay yet. Can Gay make them a title contender? I think he can.
Shawn Marion needs to grow up and stop this nonsense about respect unless, that is, it’s actually feeding the Mavericks inspiration for this upcoming shortened season. Dirk is back and so is Jason Terry and his tattoo. Jason Kidd brings his creaky knees to the court again as well, but Tyson Chandler, their bulwark against attacking wings (ahem, LeBron), is gone to the Big Apple. In his place, the Mavericks got Vince Carter (hangs head in shame) and Lamar Odom. They’ve also got Delonte West, with medication. This will be enough to again contend for a title, and if anyone get’s “Dirked on” they can win a title, but under-the-radar reports say Nowitzki is still getting into playing shape, which isn’t optimistic for Dallas fans. I don’t think they’ll repeat, but it will surely be fun to watch—except the Vince part. He’s awful.
Gregg Popovich really really likes wine. I can only guess at the amateur sommelier’s feelings on UB40’s Red Red Wine, but it probably harkens back to his days before all the titles with Timmy, when he still had the fire of an up and coming coach. Not anymore. After 1000’s of games and 4 titles in ‘99, ‘03, ‘05, and as recently as 2007, the San Antonio Spurs got eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round last year (this after winning over 60 games in the regular season). If Tim Duncan and crew survive the breakneck speed of 66 games in 120 days, they’ll make the playoffs and might even upset someone in the first and second rounds. They don’t have enough to go further than that, and it pains me to admit even a deep trip into the playoffs is a stretch. The days of the Big Fundamental will be swept over by the Marc Gasol and Z-Bo tandem in Memphis Blues land, but Duncan will always be the greatest power forward of all time. RIP Tim Duncan. This is your swan song year, and the cyclical nature of it coming during a shortened season, like your first year in the league in 1999 will be bittersweet for Spurs fans still looking for Eva Longoria in the crowd. Like their title chances, she’s an ethereal specter spectator of yesteryear.
Poor Houston and their embattled GM Daryl Morey. That Chris Paul trade wiped out nearly two years of planning to be in a position to go after Pau Gasol, but after the league’s veto, they’re left with disinterested players that know they were on the chopping block. Sure, Luis Scola is a surprisingly good offensive player, and Kevin Martin is proof that an ugly jump-shot is fine as long as it goes in. Too bad he can’t play defense. Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Kyle Lowry make up the rest of this team going no where. It will take new head coach Kevin McHale’s Boston luck if the Rockets hope to end up anywhere but in the lottery.
"Don’t Cry for Me Argentina New Orleans” because you did get Eric Gordon, Aminu and that draft pick. Will your team be a good enough to make the playoffs? No, but Emeka, Kaman, Gordon, Trevor Ariza as a wing SF and Chris Paul disciple (and Georgia Tech grad) Jarrett Jack as their PG will make them feisty. In fact, on paper the NOR Hornets don’t look so bad at all. Kaman can score when he’s healthy. Okafor is an under-appreciated 10 and 10 guy and Eric Gordon is the second coming of Joe Dumars with a smoother jump shot. This team will stink, but maybe they won’t be as bad as I’m predicting.  
pic via MemphisFlyer

2012 NBA PREVIEW SOUTHWEST DIVISION:

TEAMS (in expected finishing order):

  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Houston Rockets
  • New Orleans Hornets

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS/TRADES/RE-SIGNINGS:

  • Marc Gasol-Memphis
  • Josh Shelby-Memphis
  • Lamar Odom-Dallas
  • Vince Carter-Dallas
  • Delonte West-Dallas
  • Kawhi Leonard-San Antonio
  • T.J. Ford-San Antonio
  • Cory Joseph-San Antonio
  • Marcus Morris-Houston
  • Johnny Flynn-Houston
  • Jeremy Lin-Houston
  • Eric Gordon-New Orleans
  • Chris Kaman-New Orleans
  • Al-Farouq Aminu-New Olreans
  • Carl Landry-New Orleans
  • Jason Smith-New Orleans
  • David Stern-New Orleans (new owner)

2012 OUTLOOK:

This division features the defending 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks with a lot of new guys; a Spurs team on its last legs going for one more title with Duncan, Popovich, Ginolbli and Parker; and a franchise that surprised everyone in last year’s playoffs then actually signed their free agent center (Marc Gasol). Oh yeah, Houston and New Orleans too. I’m guessing most will be shocked about putting the Memphis Grizzlies at the number 1 spot, but I think Marc Gasol will do what his brother Pau could only dream about—make the Memphis Grizzlies relevant. With Z-Bo and crew back, I think they’ll take the division and maybe more. 


Home of Elvis, BB King and Howlin’ Wolf, Memphis makes most people think of music, or if you’re like me, Blues music. Things aren’t so blue for the Memphis Grizzlies Blue now. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, a host of back-court cogs like Mike Conley, OJ Mayo and the invisible man last year, Rudy Gay, make up one of the deepest and biggest teams in the league. Gay is interesting since he sorta, kinda qualifies as their best player, but he was absent during their run past San Antonio and nearly past OKC last year in the Western Conference playoffs. They signed Z-Bo and Marc Gasol to long-term deals and haven’t traded Rudy Gay yet. Can Gay make them a title contender? I think he can.

Shawn Marion needs to grow up and stop this nonsense about respect unless, that is, it’s actually feeding the Mavericks inspiration for this upcoming shortened season. Dirk is back and so is Jason Terry and his tattoo. Jason Kidd brings his creaky knees to the court again as well, but Tyson Chandler, their bulwark against attacking wings (ahem, LeBron), is gone to the Big Apple. In his place, the Mavericks got Vince Carter (hangs head in shame) and Lamar Odom. They’ve also got Delonte West, with medication. This will be enough to again contend for a title, and if anyone get’s “Dirked on” they can win a title, but under-the-radar reports say Nowitzki is still getting into playing shape, which isn’t optimistic for Dallas fans. I don’t think they’ll repeat, but it will surely be fun to watch—except the Vince part. He’s awful.

Gregg Popovich really really likes wine. I can only guess at the amateur sommelier’s feelings on UB40’s Red Red Wine, but it probably harkens back to his days before all the titles with Timmy, when he still had the fire of an up and coming coach. Not anymore. After 1000’s of games and 4 titles in ‘99, ‘03, ‘05, and as recently as 2007, the San Antonio Spurs got eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round last year (this after winning over 60 games in the regular season). If Tim Duncan and crew survive the breakneck speed of 66 games in 120 days, they’ll make the playoffs and might even upset someone in the first and second rounds. They don’t have enough to go further than that, and it pains me to admit even a deep trip into the playoffs is a stretch. The days of the Big Fundamental will be swept over by the Marc Gasol and Z-Bo tandem in Memphis Blues land, but Duncan will always be the greatest power forward of all time. RIP Tim Duncan. This is your swan song year, and the cyclical nature of it coming during a shortened season, like your first year in the league in 1999 will be bittersweet for Spurs fans still looking for Eva Longoria in the crowd. Like their title chances, she’s an ethereal specter spectator of yesteryear.

Poor Houston and their embattled GM Daryl Morey. That Chris Paul trade wiped out nearly two years of planning to be in a position to go after Pau Gasol, but after the league’s veto, they’re left with disinterested players that know they were on the chopping block. Sure, Luis Scola is a surprisingly good offensive player, and Kevin Martin is proof that an ugly jump-shot is fine as long as it goes in. Too bad he can’t play defense. Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Kyle Lowry make up the rest of this team going no where. It will take new head coach Kevin McHale’s Boston luck if the Rockets hope to end up anywhere but in the lottery.

"Don’t Cry for Me Argentina New Orleans” because you did get Eric Gordon, Aminu and that draft pick. Will your team be a good enough to make the playoffs? No, but Emeka, Kaman, Gordon, Trevor Ariza as a wing SF and Chris Paul disciple (and Georgia Tech grad) Jarrett Jack as their PG will make them feisty. In fact, on paper the NOR Hornets don’t look so bad at all. Kaman can score when he’s healthy. Okafor is an under-appreciated 10 and 10 guy and Eric Gordon is the second coming of Joe Dumars with a smoother jump shot. This team will stink, but maybe they won’t be as bad as I’m predicting.  

pic via MemphisFlyer