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Southwest Division Roundup: Week 10/16-10/22

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Dallas Mavericks 0-3 (0-3)

This year, the Mavericks will go as far as Dennis Smith Jr. can take them.  Outside of him, they don’t seem to have any other player who can carry the team offensively.  According to NBA Math, Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea are the team’s only players with positive OPAs.  Barea is a solid bench player, but don’t expect him to be an offensive anchor over the course of 82 games.  They do, however, have some very nice pieces for the future.  In their opening night loss to Atlanta, Nerlens Noel post 16 points and 11 rebounds in just 19 minutes of work.  Harrison Barnes continues to be serviceable and Yogi Ferrel has scored in double digits in the last two games.

Houston Rockets 3-0 (3-0)

With or without Chris Paul, the Rockets will be a force to be reckoned with this season.  They can score in more ways in almost any other team in the league.  On top of their long-range assault they perfected last season, Clint Capela has given Houston a strong offensive presence in the post they seem to have been lacking in the recent past.  Playing the way they have been, they may be the team in the west to give Golden State a run for its money.

Memphis Grizzlies 2-0 (2-o)

If the Grizzlies only played the Warriors, the might go undefeated.  Memphis has been the one team that has seemed to have Golden State’s number during the defending champ’s recent dominance.  The Grizzlies are another one of those perfected system teams that won’t show up on any highlight reels, but grind out win after win.  Marc Gasol and Mike Conley look as reliable as ever in the first two games and will have their team competing deep into the playoffs.

New Orleans Pelicans 1-2 (1-2)

The Pelicans may be the most confusing team in the NBA.  They have two generational talents in DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, yet still struggle to win even the easiest games.  A lack of both legitimate talent outside of those two and a cohesive identity seems to be haunting them.  Davis and Cousins are averaging close to 30 points a game each and no one else has more than nine.  Despite his contributions on the court, Cousins’s typical antics have been on full display thus far.  He’s had confrontations with both opposing players and fans, and it seems like same distractions that have plagued his career.  Regardless, New Orleans needs to figure something out quick or this may be the end of the road for Cousins and Davis in the Big Easy.

San Antonio Spurs 2-0 (2-0)

It doesn’t matter who suits up for the Spurs.  As long as Gregg Popovich is the head coach, they will be a title contender.  Without Kawhi Leonard, they’ve cruised to two early wins by playing unselfish system basketball.  Dejounte Murray looks like the Spurs latest steal and Rudy Gay may be primed for one of his best seasons.  There isn’t much more to say about the Spurs’ play thus, except for this is what we’ve come to expect.

About Jordan Schauberger

Jordan is a Sports Journalism student at American River College. He is a passionate NBA fan and unironically supports the Kings. #SacramentoProud

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