The countdown to tipoff of the 2017/18 NBA season is really on now. So with only a few hours to go, here’s a quick look at some thoughts on the final 2 divs we haven’t previewed yet – finishing with the Southwest.
Initially, not my #1 pick here. But with Kawhi looking unfit to begin the year – certainly not the preparation anyone would like him to have – I think the Spurs start slow and the Rockets will be away by the time it all comes together.
CP3 is a good add in my book. Yes, Harden will not have the ball nearly as much but we know CP3 doesn’t need to score so I expect him to slot in nicely and help take the pressure off Harden when offence is needed. With the array of shooters parked on the 3 point line, could we possibly see team mates average 10 apg in a season?? Everyone though the Big-O’s triple-double average couldn’t be done…
The issue for the Rockets is inside. Capela is coming along but also far from a dependable C. Ryan Anderson is there for his shooting. PJ Tucker will be expected to play big stretch PF minutes. It looks too thin and although they win the Southwest, this mob are still a big away from working into Finals contention.
Prediction: 58-24, first in the Southwest.
San Antonio Spurs
As above, Kawhi resting all preseason is a worry. Parker is out until Christmas or longer. Gasol another year older. LMA just doesn’t look like recapturing what he did as a Blazer.
Additionally, many like the add of Rudy Gay. But I feel like he has been a cancer to whatever team he has played on. Popp doesn’t sign guys who can disrupt the team balance, so I suspect I’m wrong here. But I just have that perception of Rudy – he’s not a healthy guy to have on a roster!
With the injuries, they start slow and will be motoring by April when it starts to matter. Second here, but probably a more realistic shot at the title than the Rockets.
Prediction: 54-28, second in the Southwest.
Conley and Gasol lead these guys back to the playoffs again, but only just. Although Z-Bo is aging, his loss from this roster will be felt hard. Chandler Parsons is constructed of glass, so it’s only a matter of time before he’s on the shelf again. Tyreke Evans isn’t too different from Parsons either in that respect. But they are well coached and have one of the best Centres in the league right now so they will just return to the playoffs.
Prediction: 43-39, third in the Southwest.
Something in me says things will implode over at NOLA, so the Mavs will wind up 4th here. Dirk will do what Dirk does in that ageless manner, DSJ is going to be fun to watch as the leash is removed early, and this team transfers to Harrison Barnes now. Matthews is due for some luck and I just like the other guard (Ferrell, Curry, Harris, Barea) and big (Noel, Powell) options they have. The West is tough though so they miss the playoffs, but its looking promising again in Dallas.
Prediction: 35-47, fourth in the Southwest.
New Orleans Pelicans
They should be ranked higher. Two of the best bigs in the business and both in the window of their prime right now. The Brow deserves some luck, and Cousins can be a beast when his mind is in the game. I’m expecting the technicals mount from DeMarcus and something implodes from there. AD and Cousins won’t be team mates at seasons end. If I’m wrong and it does all gel, this prediction could be way off the mark!!
Prediction: 30-52, last in the Southwest.